Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We are All Muslims? Not so Fast.

Late last year the New Jersey Star-Ledger alerted me to the proposal, attributed to the Trump team, to register all Muslims. In Register Muslims? Then we must all be Muslim, the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran editorialized:

This idea, to register as Muslims en masse, came to me from Julie Roginsky, a liberal commentator on Fox News and a senior strategist with Phil Murphy's campaign for [New jersey] governor.

Would President Trump really try to establish a national registry of American Muslims? It is obscene that he and his supporters have raised the possibility, and beyond disheartening that Trump has failed to put the idea to rest by clearly denouncing it.

If this is trial balloon, here's an answer: Every American of good faith should register as a Muslim.

If 300 million Americans lock arms legally with the roughly 3 million Muslims among us, then what mischief can he cause? They will be protected.

And, as a bonus, they will be reminded that most Americans do not share Team Trump's hostility towards them or their faith. During the Republican primaries, we saw an ugly frenzy of competition among the candidates, each striving to be the most aggressive towards Muslims.

But the truth is that most Americans can distinguish between a terrorist and the many good citizens among us who happen to be Muslim. Solid majorities of Americans have favorable views of Muslims and believe that their religion and social traditions are compatible with those of the West.

I’m not convinced that Trump and/or his supporters have actually raised the possibility. I’ve not heard anything about it elsewhere, either before or since reading Moran’s column.

That said, on the face of it, the very idea of singling out an entire group for special scrutiny is outrageous. The very suggestion by serious people of such a program should make every American stand up and take notice. So I understand the sentiment expressed here (although I don’t think Moran fully grasps that such a protest protects more than just Muslims. Protecting the rights of any minority protects the rights of all minorities, including the smallest minority, the individual).

So while I sympathize with Moran, I left these comments, edited and expanded for clarity:

Just as I strongly opposed Trump's “ban all Muslims” scheme for a religious test for entry into the U.S., I oppose a Muslim registry as un-American. But this editorial is the height of disingenuousness. Tom Moran and his editorial board routinely smear any rational critic of Islam as “Islamophobic.” Note Moran’s comment about “an ugly frenzy of competition among the Republican candidates, each striving to be the most aggressive towards Muslims” in the GOP primaries. That smear is itself a form of bigotry, because it paints with a broad brush all scrutiny of Islamic beliefs, without regard for rationality or context.

Islam is a political religion that advocates theocracy under Sharia Law. This is what motivates Islamic terrorists. While practicing terrorists are a small percentage of Muslims, a much larger percentage support the ideological goals of the terrorists. Many Muslims don’t support the separation of Mosque and state and oppose freedom of speech through laws that criminalize criticism of Islam. These are not “religion and social traditions [that] are compatible with those of the West.” These allegedly “peaceful” Muslims give moral sanction to the terrorists.

Many Muslims, especially in the United States, undoubtedly do support a reformed, enlightened Islam that rejects the statist elements of Islam and is thus compatible with Western, live-and-let-live secular values. We must honestly and properly identify Western Culture’s Islamic enemies—fundamentalist/radical, unenlightened Islam—as well as our enlightened Muslim allies, and act accordingly.

I cannot say “We are all Muslims,” because too many Muslims would legally strip me of my inalienable individual rights if they had the political opportunity. Perhaps, “We are all Muslim-Americans.” Or, better yet, “We are all Americans.”

Related Reading:

Heretic—Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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