Many Mus­lims voice dis­may at Trump win

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Many Mus­lims around the world ex­pressed dis­may yes­ter­day at Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as US pres­i­dent, say­ing they feared it might raise ten­sions be­tween the West and Is­lam and con­trib­ute to rad­i­cal­iza­tion. While Egypt’s pres­i­dent made an early con­grat­u­la­tory call to Trump, or­di­nary Mus­lims were wor­ried that his vic­tory would be a pro­pa­ganda gift to ji­hadist groups. Oth­ers were ap­pre­hen­sive that the pres­i­dent-elect would im­ple­ment cam­paign pledges to clamp down on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the United States.

“Trump has es­poused highly in­flam­ma­tory rhetoric against Mus­lims. Voters there will ex­pect him to ful­fil his prom­ises. That makes me worry about the im­pact on Mus­lims in the US and in the rest of the world,” said Yenny Wahid, a prom­i­nent main­stream Mus­lim fig­ure in In­done­sia. The world’s 1.6 bil­lion Mus­lims fol­low a mul­ti­tude of sects and schools of thought, con­sti­tute a ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in coun­tries as var­ied as In­done­sia, Pak­istan, Saudi Ara­bia, Sene­gal and Al­ba­nia, and hold a vast ar­ray of po­lit­i­cal views.

Yet Trump’s pre­vi­ous com­ments about Mus­lims - say­ing that those from abroad should be barred en­try or in­tensely scru­ti­nized be­fore­hand - and the pres­ence of vo­cal anti-Is­lam ac­tivists among his sup­port­ers, have alarmed many. Dur­ing a bit­ter elec­tion cam­paign, Trump also at­tacked his op­po­nents for what he char­ac­ter­ized as their de­nial about the threat posed by mil­i­tant Is­lam, which he said was “com­ing to our shores”, adding that he would quickly form a com­mis­sion on it.

“I’m wor­ried about (my rel­a­tives in Amer­ica) be­cause they are Mus­lims, Egyp­tian Mus­lims ... and he is not go­ing to treat Mus­lims well,” said Ali Na­bil, a 20-year-old stu­dent in Cairo. Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi was the first world leader to con­grat­u­late Trump on the phone, Sisi’s of­fice said, a welcome to the next pres­i­dent that was echoed by some other Arabs who dis­liked Hil­lary Clin­ton’s Mid­dle East poli­cies.

But other Mus­lims saw Trump as a hos­tile fig­ure. “What­ever hap­pens to Amer­ica af­fects ev­ery­body and with all these prom­ises of doom by Trump to the blacks, to the Mus­lims, the mi­nor­ity, so it’s not some­thing we’re happy about,” said Ga­niu Olukanga, a Nige­rian Mus­lim res­i­dent of La­gos. Mus­lims who live as mem­bers of a re­li­gious mi­nor­ity in Western coun­tries and have pre­vi­ously ex­pressed fear at what they see as in­creas­ingly neg­a­tive por­tray­als of their faith, also voiced worry at Trump’s elec­tion.

“It is hugely wor­ry­ing that a man who has called for dis­crim­i­na­tion against Mus­lims and other mi­nori­ties has be­come the leader of a su­per­power na­tion,” said Haroun Khan, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Great Bri­tain, in a state­ment. He also con­grat­u­lated Trump on his vic­tory. Some Mus­lims said they feared Trump’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent might en­cour­age a view that the United States was hos­tile to Mus­lims and that this would hin­der ef­forts in Is­lam to counter rad­i­cal­iza­tion. “Trump’s vic­tory will be an enor­mous gift to a fail­ing ji­hadist move­ment, that will have now have a re­newed ral­ly­ing cry,” said Am­mar Rashid, an aca­demic and mem­ber of Pak­istan’s Awami Work­ers Party, on Twit­ter. “If ji­hadi ide­ol­ogy has a source of sus­te­nance, it is the im­age of the US as the evil anti-Mus­lim cru­sader. They will milk Trump’s win dry,” he added. In ji­hadist so­cial me­dia fo­rums, mil­i­tants said Trump’s elec­tion had merely re­vealed the true po­si­tion of the United States to­wards Mus­lims. “The masks have slipped,” one wrote. But some other Mus­lims were more hope­ful, in­clud­ing Umer Daudzai, a for­mer Afghan min­is­ter of in­te­rior, cit­ing the record of Ron­ald Rea­gan who was US pres­i­dent from 1981-89. “Ron­ald Rea­gan ended the Cold War. I hope Don­ald Trump will end all wars and be­come a hero of peace in the world,” he told Reuters.

De­spite ex­pres­sions of con­cern by some of­fi­cials, the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion, the body that rep­re­sents Mus­lim states, is­sued no state­ment early yes­ter­day. In In­done­sia, the most pop­u­lous Mus­lim na­tion, an of­fi­cial from the faith’s top cler­i­cal body there said Trump’s elec­tion could cre­ate new ten­sion be­tween the United States and the Is­lamic world. Trump had made neg­a­tive and cyn­i­cal com­ments about Mus­lims in the past, Din Syam­sud­din, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the In­done­sian Ulema Coun­cil, told re­porters in Jakarta. “He had for­got­ten that many Amer­i­cans are im­mi­grants.”

“I’m very afraid, will there be more wars? Will Amer­ica at­tack Mus­lim coun­tries again?” asked In­done­sian ac­tivist Ali­jah Di­ete, as Mus­lims reeled from Trump’s shock vic­tory. “I’m in dis­be­lief,” said Di­ete, 47. “I thought Amer­i­cans are sup­posed to be in­tel­li­gent and ma­ture. How is it pos­si­ble Don­ald Trump won? I am very con­cerned that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the US and Mus­lim coun­tries will be­come tense again,” said Di­ete, while law firm em­ployee Nikken Suar­dini said the pro­posal to bar Mus­lims from the US was “just not fair”.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Mus­lim school girls pose for a selfie with a cutout of US Pres­i­dent-Elect Don­ald Trump dur­ing an event to fol­low the elec­tion re­sults yes­ter­day. — AFP

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