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Josephine Bush

Professor Muhtaseb
Politics in the Middle East
Due: January 2017

Anti-Islam notions feed growth of extremist Islamic Sects

Donald Trumps presidential victory of the United States will fuel the extremist groups of

Islam, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The president elect campaigned on a

platform to rid Muslims from the United States; there have been claims to register Muslims and

to put extreme barriers into entering the United States. Trump has used fear and allowed small

extremist sects of the Islamic community to represent the entire Islamic community. His tactics

have charged hatred within the United States but have the potential to bring ISIS to power rather

than defeating the radical group. Hatred leads to polarization and further division. When the

leader of the free world caters toward the division of peoples and isolation movements he also

has the power to feed the growth and violence of extremist groups.

Although extremist religious groups are threatening and have proceeded to kill thousands

of innocent people around the globe they only represent a very small portion of the religious

denominations population. Within the context of Islam, a religion of nearly 2.2 billion people on

our planet, or 20% of the total planets population, ISIS represents an extremely small segment

of the religion collectively. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights calculates that ISIS has at

most 100,000 soldiers. ISIS does not represent even a percent of the global Islamic population

and therefore using extremism to shape American policies is detrimental to a future in a

globalized world.
ISIS has been on a steady rise since the United States took control of the Iraq in 2003.

According to Crethi Plethi, in their article, The Historical Roots and Stages in the Development

of ISIS, the U.S, after their take-over under the Bush Administration from 2003-2009, never

established solid government or Iraqi military. The country was left deeply torn apart from their

Sunni-Shiite divide on top of the extreme economic instability. Formerly, the Sunni minority had

ruled the country but now the Shiite ruled and in turn alienated the Sunni minority. The Shiite

rule led to the rise of Sunni extremist groups, namely the Iraqi Al-Qaeda branch. This branch, led

by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi flourished for two years, but after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

in 2006 the true rise if of the Islamic State came into being. From 2006-2011 IS was an

umbrella organization for several extremist groups all with the common goal to wage terrorist-

guerilla warfare against the United States. In the last years, America was still present in the area

and to worked to establish intelligent foreign policies that supported the Sunni minority and had

most Sunnis supporting American influence at the time. However, mere months after Obama

withdrew from Iraq the rise of ISIS really began. Although the outbreak of the Syrian civil war

enabled ISIS to come to more power, it was in 2014 that ISIS began to flourish, attacking

civilians internally, beheading journalists and westerners and carrying out terrorist attacks across

the world. Although no acts of violence to this degree of severity can be justified, using scar

tactics to create a divide within humanity is unjust. It will cause more problems if a stigma of

anti-Muslim is created on a universal level.

From the very beginning of his campaign, Trump has used hatred, stereotyping and

bigotry to create a platform to run on. Using fear to unite voters he has furthered a community

that is anti-Islam. A PBS article, Could Trumps anti-Muslim rhetoric influence politics well
beyond 2016? by Daniel Bush, reported that his extreme claims along the campaign trail fed a

anti-Muslim rhetoric that will have long term effects. In all U.S. elections since 9/11 there has

been a rise of scapegoating Muslims, however Trump took his claim in December 2015 as far

as saying that all Muslims should be banned from the United States of America. On Fox News on

December 2nd, Trump was quoted saying, the other thing with the terrorists is you have to take

out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care

about their lives, dont kid yourself. When they say they dont care about their lives, you have to

take out their families.

Trump stands for a white America and this is clearly noted in his denunciations of

women, Muslims, the LBGTQ community, Latinos, African Americans and disabled folks.

Interestingly, in all categories except for the Muslim community Trump has also spoken

specifically to these groups and asked for their support. For instance, with the outrage in the fall

of 2016 with what he said about women he in turn spoke to women across America and also had

his daughter Ivanka speak on his behalf. Trump found value in several of his rallies, especially in

crucial states, such as Wisconsin and North Carolina, to reach out to African American and

Latino voters and speak to them about how he will be able to create jobs. However, he not once

made any statement to provoke Muslim support during his campaign trail. His slander has been

outrageous against all communities but it has also deepened the fear agains the Islamic

community, created further national divide and legitimized racism. Trumps win was largely due

to the fact that he spoke to people who have been working in blue collar jobs in America and

year after year have seen their income diminish. While many of these people are white
Americans who were living in rural areas, Trump was also able to pull minority voters who do

believe in laissez-faire fiscal politics and fear a loss of national identity.

The bulk of that anger is coming from beleaguered working-class and, to a lesser extent,
middle-class white people, especially the less educated the very same groups that most
vociferously support Trump. They are angry over the coming loss of a white majority (predicted
for 2043 by the Census Bureau), the falling fortunes of the white working class, worsening
income inequality, the rise of left-wing movements like Black Lives Matter, major advances for
LGBT people, growing numbers of refugees and undocumented workers, terrorism, and
more (The Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016).

Trump, who has clearly transitioned to blunt campaigning to more professional speeches,

is reported to have taken down his statement on banning Muslims that was on his website

according to The Independent article, Donald Trump statement on banning Muslims from US

disappears from his website. The statement was still present the morning of the election and was

a draw for many of his voters who claim they are scared for themselves and their families. Like

Trump, many of his voters believe that banning Muslims is a necessary step for American safety.

This rhetoric does not only fail to take into account the vast majority of Muslims are not

extremists and also those who are trying to migrate to the United States are fleeing extreme

internal conflicts. Further, Pew Research has reported that since 9/11 there was also a rise of

people who affiliated violence with the following of Islam. In 2015 a report showed that 25% of

Americans believed Islam and Terrorism were interchangeable terms (Bush, PBS, 2016). These

reports are derived from real peoples feelings and opinions but it must be noted what mass-media

has been feeding the masses. For instance, there are many terrorist groups who fight under

Christian guidelines and still are present today, such as, the Lords Resistance Army, the Klu Klux

Klan and Antibalaka. Mass media does not cover them and many peoples collective ideas on the

Muslim community have been shaped purely by mainstream reporting.

What Trump will do when he takes office on January 20th is still unclear. Given his

recent speeches since being nominated he has already been much more professional and taken

down statements of racist rhetoric from his website. However, for over a year leading up to the

election of Donald Trump he made statements that allowed for masses of people to unite because

they agreed with his slander. Although it is still unclear Trumps path of action, if he does decide

to ban Muslims he could decide to not let anyone in from countries with Muslim majorities or

specific countries who have been tied to past terrorist attacks. His campaign trail made it clear

that he would possibly put bans on certain countries completely from entering the U.S. If a ban

were to take place there are many people that Trump would not be granting immigration rights

that could be beneficial to U.S society, such as Iraqi Christians, computer engineers from

Muslim-majority countries hired to code at Silicon Valley firms, or a foreign scholar hired to

teach at an American university. If the ban extends beyond immigration, and includes tourists or

business travelers, it could ban representatives from some of Americas key allies from even

stepping foot in the country, Zack Beauchamp wrote in his Vox article, Donald Trump can

absolutely ban Muslims from entering the US, without Congress. Vox argues that a ban would

actually be quite simple, by making vetting processes extremely difficult or simply not allowing

passports from certain areas to come in, but in no way would lead to a safer, better America.

Beauchamp notes a ban would affect the lifestyles of intelligent engineers and contributors of

American society on top of hurting world relations, world travel policies, the global economy

and national security all by treating anyone with a Muslim background as if they were a

potential terrorist. An opinion article by Khaled A. Beydoun, an associate professor of law at

the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law states that over the years right wing politicians
have used cautious Islamophobia but Trump went all the way. Beydoun states, Trump will

bring an administration that is entirely devoid of Muslim Americans and at minimum, individuals

without genuine reach into or backing from Muslim Americans. His campaign lacked any bona

fide Muslim American involvement, and the Trump administration will likely reflect that. In

fact, Trumps administration has the ability to strike a cultural movement because the highest

people in our government will be against Muslim Americans because ...if the president of the

US is the very archetype and orchestrator of Islamophobia, then assailing Muslims, torching

mosques, and attacking anybody who looks Muslim is fair game (Beydoun, Aljaezeera, 2016)

Since the election on November 8th, 2016 there has been a huge spike of racist slurs and

happenings. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that over 111 attacks

and statements have occurred since November 8th that have been purely prejudice from

individuals who have a very narrow lens of what Islam is.

Donald Trump has already changed the world in many ways. A BBC article, US election

2016: Six ways a Trump presidency changes the world, says that NATO will be vastly reshaped,

the new relationship with Russia could alter everything from east and west conflict to even the

civil war in Syria, free trade deals, and the rise of nuclear power and weapons and Iran and Asia.

With the change of relationships everywhere and the general consensus of his policies to become

a more isolationist nation we could predict that ISIS could further come to power.

Historically, groups of jihadists have risen because they do not believe Islam notions have

been taken seriously enough. There have long been jihadists groups who have gathered and

attempted to take power because they didnt believe their Islam powers were taking the Quran

seriously enough. For example, in Africa jihadists groups collected before the Scramble of Africa
because they didnt believe Kings were implementing the law of Islam correctly. Similarly the

rise of jihadist groups today have happened because they do not believe both local civilians are

living the word of the Quran out correctly as well as do not believe in the lifestyles of the west.

With anti-Muslim rhetoric being spread around the globe there could be a rise of ISIS

fighters from western lands because moderate Muslims feel alienated and planned attacks

against the worlds superpower as hatred against the west rises. For instance, with Trumps plans

to be more closely affiliated with Russia the civil war in Syria, which ISIS is largely involved in

could be revamped. Russia backs Bashar al-Assad in Syria, who has been President of Syria

since 2000 and for the past five years has been fighting his civilians who tried to rise against him

during the Arab Spring through pro-democracy protests. The rise of ISIS has happened

throughout the civil war, creating yet another element of chaos and violence. The United States

backs the National Coalition, the primary group against Assads regime. With the US and Russia

backing different supporters in the Syria it does not seem likely Trump will be able to work

efficiently with Putin when it comes to national interests in foreign policies. Trumps foreign

policies that praise the rise of the American power from an internal standpoint creates a further

distinction between the east, one that world politicians for years have been trying to resolve.

On top of the internal issues of Syria if Donald Trump undermines the mostly peaceful

negotiations in Iran on nuclear power it could lead to more issues within the Middle Eastern

realm. Specifically with Iran the United States has many opposing views with the country

already and soft power negotiations have a stronger objective.

According to an Atlantic article, How Trump and ISIS Help Each Other
They confirm each other's narratives, even from opposite sides, by Dominic Tierney, ISIS and

Donald Trump similarly share extreme values of what they find inherently correct.

Tierney wrote, From another angle, however, Trump and ISIS are effectively, if not
intentionally, helping each other. They dont communicate. Theres no moral equivalence
between them. Nevertheless, Trump and ISIS aid each others agendas in a strange combination
of the coiffured and the caliphate. Even in a Republican Party that has drifted closer to
Islamophobia in recent years, Trump stands out for his polarizing rhetoric, which poses a threat
to openness and tolerance in the United States.

Over the past eight years Obama has worked against extremist groups but also

understood that prejudice and discriminations help ISIL and it undermines our national

security. The United States, although a superpower in many lights is deeply disliked. With a

Trump presidency there is the risk of the global confederation of extremists, Tierney claims.

Throughout the world we have seen a rise of populist parties in recent months, many of

which have been based off of economic-insecurity and fears of terrorism. Tierney argues that

by slumping all Muslims into total groups populist parties have made the argument of good

versus evil, simply seeing the world clearly as black versus white, or good versus evil. In reality

the world is many shades of grey with extremist politicians and religious groups on the end of

the spectrum. Brexit was a great foreshadowing of the U.S. presidential election and also of the

rise of populist groups across Europe, such as Marine Le Pens National Front in France. Each of

these movements have fueled by fear; fear of economic decline for a blue collar group as well as

a fear of terrorism, often attaching Muslims as a whole to their extremist counterparts.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the United States 2016 has

been one of the most violent years based on hate crimes since 1968 and state that much of the

rise of violence is in direct correlation with the President elect.

Donald Trumps demonizing statements about Latinos and Muslims have electrified the radical
right, leading to glowing endorsements from white nationalist leaders such as Jared Taylor and
former Klansman David Duke. White supremacist forums are awash with electoral joy, having
dubbed Trump their Glorious Leader. And Trump has repaid the compliments, retweeting hate
posts and spreading their false statistics on black-on-white crime, (Southern Poverty Law
Center, 2016).

The SPLC has followed a trend of hate groups on the rise over the past decades, however

has found that in 2015 and Trumps original campaign trail the rise of hate groups in 2015 was

14% increase from the year prior. Statistics for 2016 have yet to be released however the trend

has likely continued and will do so even into 2017. Along with the trend of hate groups there has

also been a steady increase of patriot groups, or anti-government groups.

The growth of hate groups has grown exponentially due to the internet as the primary

platform for recruitment. Many people gather on the internet. For instance, Stormfront, a white-

supremacy site has more than 300,000 members. There are extremist groups for every

demographic and they are all are based off of principles that there is one right way to live and

often way to look.

ISIS also uses the internet and social media and recruits members, soldiers and lone

wolves. According to Lisa Baker of the University of Maryland in her thesis The Islamic States

Use of Online Social Media, ISIS has done a very impressive job of targeting young and

specifically westerners. They have used social media as their main medium, however have also

put together many hip looking videos to lure millennials. For instance, the former German

rapper Denis Cuspert, converted to Islam in 2012 and has used his rapping skills to promote ISIS

ideals (Baker, 2015). Recruitments from the West in 2015 were estimated around 3,000. ISIS

preys on young Muslims in the West knowing that they may already feel alienated, feeling that

they have ...lived under a constant veil of fear and suspicion. Many feel they have been unfairly
harassed, having been pulled aside at the airport by TSA as they traveled, or at the very least,

being on the receiving end of nervous, distrustful stares. ISIS has used the difficulties of young

Muslims to tell them there is a place where they can fit in. Although the ideas are radical they

speak to young Muslims who are seeking to find their identity. For example, many young women

who live within very strict boundaries in America, often under their fathers rule and do not

connect with other females in America are compelled to leave because they believe ISIS will

offer friends and a community that is conducive to their way of life. It is important to note that

many recruitments cannot make it to the ISIS homeland and therefore are inspired to carry out

acts of terrorism in the West (Baker, 2015).

The lone wolf aspect may be the scariest aspect of extremist groups because they will

execute acts of violence in the name of their group. Around the world we have seen acts of

violence where the killers and terrorists claim that they are affiliated with ISIS. The New York

Times article, Where ISIS has Directed and Inspired Attacks Around the World, by Karen

Yourishm Derek Watkins and Tom Giratikanon tracked where ISIS has led attacks around the

world along with ISIS inspired terrorist attacks. Since October 2015 nearly half of the attacks

affiliated with ISIS are attacks that have not been carried out by ISIS directly but rather inspired

by ISIS.

The impact of terrorism goes far beyond the body count. Violence motivated by racial, ethnic
or religious animus fractures society along its most fragile fault lines, and sends shock waves
through entire targeted communities. More hatred and fear, particularly of diversity, are often the
response. Several political figures have harnessed that fear, calling for bans on mosques, Muslim
immigrants and refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East. And terror can breed hate crimes,
as evidenced by a string of physical attacks on mosques and Muslims, particularly after a jihadist
couple in San Bernardino, Calif., murdered 14 people in December (The Southern Poverty Law
Center, 2016).
Trump and ISIS values look distinctly different on paper but in reality are strikingly

similar. For instance, while ISIS demands their women cover themselves completely and Trump

praises women as sexual beings, they both believe in strong patriarchy, and further, they both

promote the clash between the west and Islam. They both are fueled by hatred of the other.

The propaganda both of the parties share is one choice for the masses they are speaking to, they

say time and time again you are on the band wagon or you are against us, in turn making

moderates oppose them or having them support extremist views. ISIS has recruited many

followers around the world because it promises the way of life, something that is appealing to

many young people who have yet to find their way (Tierney, Atlantic, 2016).

The terrorist attacks, especially the ones who have occurred in the west, are greatly

correlated with the trend of anti-Muslim because people are scared. Donald Trump spoke to that

reasonable fear by promising extensive laws on immigration.

And the benefits go both ways. Trumps emphasis on the Islamic nature of extremism
legitimizes the opposing sides message, and antagonizes Muslim moderates who naturally
bristle at the implied association with terrorism. ISISs own propaganda spells out its strategy of
polarizing Muslims by making life impossible for the moderatesa strategy that Trump,
through his rhetoric, is abetting. If Trump actually turned this rhetoric into political reality, it
would confirm the Islamists argument that the United States is implacably opposed to their
religion. To, in Trumps words, take out completely innocent civilians simply because they are
the parents, siblings, or children of ISIS members is not only morally abhorrentit would be a
catastrophe for Americas global image (Tierney, Atlantic, 2016)

Clearly, Trump and ISIS both have a set of opposing values, however their aggressive

tactics are dangerous. Their methods and backings of extreme views could create a deeper East/

West divide, with more violence, more displacement and even more fear. Both figures are

ultimately hurting people in their land more than they are by combatting each other. For

example, ISIS has killed thousands of Muslims who do not abide by their stringent laws and
Trump is now in a position to not grant a life in the free world to people who desperately need it

and has the ability to take away rights from people who already have them. Both are dangerous


In conclusion, Trump and ISIS both believe they are fighters for a better world, one for

only their people. Days after the election ISIS groups celebrated Donald Trumps win because

the alienation of ordinary Muslims is key to their recruitment of foreign fighters, The

Washington Post reports in their article, Islamist extremists celebrate Trumps election win, by

Ishaan Tharoor. It will force Muslims to choose sides between being scared citizens in the

United States or to join an extremist party such as ISIS. An online ISIS forum says that the

president elect marks the beginning of dark times for the United States because America will

lose strength as the international superpower and once again make America the number one

enemy of the Middle East.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a jihadist ideologue linked to al-Qaeda who has close to 60,000
followers on Twitter, gloated about Trump's victory, suggesting that it "may be the beginning of
Americas fragmentation and the era of its breakup." In a second tweet, he said that Trump
"reveals the true mentality of the Americans, and their racism toward Muslims and Arabs and
everything. He reveals what his predecessors used to conceal. So his victory further exposes
America and its appendages (Tharoor, The Washington Post, 2016)

In short, the election of Donald Trumps, a platform based on the legitimizing of hatred

and proposed policies of isolation and division will have extensive implications for a deeper

division between the East and the West. Extremist, populist views will cause more chaos, more

turmoil and more danger in the coming years.


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