A Muslim Challenge To President Donald Trump

Donald Trump, now elected President of the United States, appears in the minds of many of us to have slandered every Muslim in America. He might not have intended this; he may not be fully aware that this is the effect of some of his reported statements. Whether or not he plans to unleash widespread persecution of American Muslims, whether or not he intends to deny us our legal and constitutional rights as Americans, remains to be seen. Be that as it may, everything we presently fear from him goes back to this original and fundamental slander. Perhaps he did not express this slander in so many words, but—unless the whole problem can be attributed to the mis-reporting of his statements by the Liberal media—he certainly appears to have done so by implication, by innuendo, by omission, and by accepting the support of, and failing to distance himself from, those groups and individuals who would see Muslims denied equal protection under U.S. law, subjected to special censures and restrictions, persecuted specifically as a religion—a practice which, if it ever becomes law or enters into widespread practice, will almost certainly be applied to other religions as well. And he has not only apparently slandered us for being Muslims, but for being bad Muslims, for betraying our own religion, for being apostates from Islam. The calumny that many Muslims, rightly or wrongly, presently see as coming from him is that American Muslims, as well as Muslims as a whole, are so destitute of honor and self-respect, so lacking in the fear of Allah, so deficient in fundamental human dignity, that every Muslim is a potential terrorist—and therefore that we would willingly, and without the slightest shame, lower ourselves so far, sink so deeply into the scum of life, as to give our approval and our support to the likes of ISIL and al-Qaeda and al-Nursa and Boko Haram, to these sub-human mad dogs who defile the Holy Qur’an every day of their lives, who spit in the face of our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dragging his name in the dirt and spreading the most scurrilous slanders against him to all corners of the earth, till the very name “Muhammad” has become synonymous in the minds of many with “criminal madman”! The substance of this slander is that the majority of Muslims would easily, off-handedly and without the slightest pang of guilt, betray what we claim is most sacred to us, that we would rush to give our support to traitors and apostates who have violated every precept of the Holy Qur’an, who have replaced the image of the noble character of the Prophet in their hearts with the putrid corruption of the devotees of Shaytan (Satan) and the minions of al-Dajjal (Antichist). He has spoken and acted in the apparent belief that we have taken as our moral ideal a bunch of lowlife fifth-columnists and traitors who have actually had the temerity, and also the rank stupidity, to accept funds, arms and logistical support from the nations of the West, first among these being the United States of America! And all this in the name of defending Islam against neo-colonialism and foreign domination!

Heretofore a minority of U.S. Muslims have felt it politic to turn to the administration of Barack Obama, as well as to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, to advance our collective interests and seek protection from the rising tide of Islamophobia. And if certain indications appeared that the United States was not as committed to the destruction of ISIL as one might conclude from a cursory overview of the daily news, this was more or less accepted as part of the “deal”.

But now that deal is off. If Hillary had been elected, if it can be proved that Huma Abedin does indeed have close ties to both the Wahhabi establishment of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood as has been reported—the ideological and financial centers of radical Islamic extremism—and if she had remained a close advisor to Hillary, possibly her chief of staff, then the U.S. would likely have continued in the grip of a hopeless contradiction: supporting terrorism while simultaneously fighting it. Under such conditions, every move that we as American Muslims would have tried to make toward dealing with Islamophobia and countering the accusation of secret Islamicist sympathies would have been compromised from day one by the willingness of a short-sighted minority to accept patronage and protection from those elements of the power elite who have been dealing with and giving aid and support to Islamicist extremism all along—a reality which, in this age of WikiLeaks, could in no way have been kept under wraps as it has been in the past. So our goose would have been thoroughly cooked.

Two cases in point: A 2014 email exchange released by WikiLeaks between Hillary Clinton and John Podesta (then White House adviser to President Barack Obama), frankly welcomed the ISIL 2014 offensive in Iraq, stating that “the advance of ISIL [ISIS] through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle East. The most important factor in this matter is to make use of intelligence resources and Special Operations troops in an aggressive manner.” Hillary apparently recognized, according to one interpretation of this statement, that ISIS provided a pretext for launching a renewed US military intervention aimed at furthering the strategic goal of American hegemony in the Middle East under the guise of a struggle against terrorism. As for case number two, it now appears—based on statements from government officials (including FBI director James Comey), policy recommendations from think-tanks (including the Brookings Institution), as well as reports from a number of sources close to the White House, that it was U.S. policy under Obama not to arrest and prosecute ISIS fighters returning to the United States, but to attempt to “reintegrate” them into U.S. society, thus putting all Americans at risk. It would have been a weary task for American Muslim leaders to try and convince the American people that “we’re not all terrorists” while their less enlightened brothers and sisters continued to accept Federal patronage, even as damning revelations like these continued to emerge. And in view of the fact that ISIS has published a hit list of American Muslim leaders, the willingness of a minority of American Muslims to seek patronage from Barack Obama and uncritically support Hillary Clinton appears, in hindsight, to have been a bit unwise.

Now, however, we have been relieved of this burden of enforced self-destruction by two truly game-changing developments: first, the election of Donald Trump; second, the unequivocal excommunication of the Salafi extremists in the group fatwa known as the Grozny Declaration, issued in August this year after a conference of traditional leaders in the city of Grozny in the Chechen Republic. It’s as if, to compensate for the hard blow of Trump’s election—which some have interpreted as “now it’s open season on Muslims”—Allah in His Mercy has sent us this Declaration, at almost the same moment, as a great and powerful ray of strength and healing. No longer will we be assaulted by painful moral ambiguities and uncertainties as to what constitutes the true Islam of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. No longer will we be forced to harbor a vague and secret guilt—a false guilt if there ever was one—which whispers to us that we are somehow less than faithful Muslims because we can in no way stomach the crimes of ISIL and Boko Haram, their rapes, ghoulish tortures and heartless murders and genocides, not only of Christians but of many more Muslims than Christians—of any Muslim at all, man, woman and child, who refuses to go along with their perversion and destruction of the very religion they pretend to follow! Now we can be sure that the voice of our fundamental humanity, that voice which told us in no uncertain terms to reject these crimes of torture and murder of innocent civilians as fundamentally incompatible with our Muslim faith, was the true voice, that nothing in Islam ever could or ever will contradict it, seeing that Islam is al-Din al-Fitrah, the religion of the prophet Adam himself, of our primordial humanity as Allah created us—and consequently that the voice of the sneaking whisperer [cf. the Surah an-Naas] who told us that Allah would forgive any crime, no matter how shameful or vicious, as long as we committed it in His Name, was nothing less than the voice of Shaytan. Just think about it for a moment, my brothers and sisters. If we were to commit adultery and then tell our spouse “I did it for you”; if we were to murder our brother and then tell our father, “I did it for you, to show my respect for you”—should we really expect our parent, our spouse, to except these excuses—or, rather, these flat-out self-condemnations? The Grozny Declaration simply re-affirms, in the name of many of the central authorities of traditional Islam—Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the central authority of traditional Sunni Islam; the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam; the ex-Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa; Usama al-Azhari, religious adviser to  President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt; Habib Ali al-Jifri of the Tabah Foundation, based in Qatar; Abdul Fattah al-Bizm, Mufti of Damascus; and last but not least the Russian Council of Muftis, which seconded the Grozny Declaration in a declaration of their own—what we already knew in our heart of hearts: unless, that is, we were already irretrievably lost. We certainly cannot pretend that this declaration was issued in a political vacuum nor that it will not produce a degree of division and conflict within the House of Islam; such is always the case when the truth is told, clearly and without fear or shame, to a world threaded through with lies and corruption and moral compromise.

Newly armed and strengthened by the Grozny Declaration, and armed as well with the list (now in preparation) of literally hundreds other of statements, projects and actions by Muslims in opposition to ISIL and the other Takfiri terrorists, both within the United States and in many other parts of the world, let us challenge Donald Trump to rethink and restate his position vis-a-vis the religion of Islam, providing him with all the information he would need to come to a fair and just decision. It may well be that Trump’s position is simply based on a very common type of ignorance—though an unwillingness on his part to consider the evidence we offer would compel us to come to a different conclusion. We must always remember the words of the Prophet Muhammad, “acts are judged by their intent.” If his intent is pure, if he is acting mostly out of ignorance, he may still adopt a more reasonable and helpful stance. He may yet prove to us, and to the American people, he is serious about allying with Russia to bring down ISIL, that this pledge is not just one more in a long line of empty promises that he, like so many presidents whose identity in office bears little resemblance to their various stated positions on the campaign trail, will not and cannot keep. If so, we are duty bound to let him know that we are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with him against this cancer that is destroying Islam. But along with this offer of help goes a necessary warning: that there is no way that he, or Alexander Putin, or anyone else can defeat ISIL and the other Takfiri terrorists presently infesting the world, without the help of the true and traditional Muslims. The outcome of the Grozny conference apparently demonstrates that Putin already knows this. Let us watch and wait to see whether Trump learns the same lesson, in the short time still remaining for him to learn it. The ball is in his court.