Since the inception of Executive Order 13769 on January 27th, conservative and liberal faithfuls alike have been yelling their heads off in verbal tirades against one another, in the hope of those on the other side spontaneously dropping their pitchforks and accepting their point of view.
For liberals, the echoing shriek of “Islamophobia” penetrates the walls. For establishment conservatives and Trump supporters alike, it’s the repetitive, monotonous claim of President Trump’s courageous stance against Islamic terrorism that rings true as the main form of defence. Having digested both existing arguments, I have no choice but to discard them. No one is a mind reader, and no one can actually determine what is going in the President’s head. Clearly, this means that no one can confirm the Trump administration’s feelings on the matter. For the above reasons, the only authentic way of determining whether one such ban is Islamophobic, is by determining if the ban indeed results in unfair discrimination against Muslims.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of Discrimination is “Making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” This means that in order for the Travel Ban to qualify as being discriminatory against Muslims, it has to meet two qualifications:
- Make a distinction between different categories of people
- Make a distinction that is unfair or prejudiced
In terms of the first qualification, the Executive Order calls for the “Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern” (this is an extract taken from the Executive Order itself, as can be found on Whitehouse.org). Here, a distinction is being made between people of different nationalities, but not of different religions. This means that all people who come from the banned countries cannot enter the United States, including Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Druze and any other religious minorities in those countries.
Secondly, considering that only a very small fraction of the world Muslim population is affected by this travel ban, there is no evidence to suggest that unfair discrimination against Muslims on the whole is happening here. The estimated combined Muslim population of the countries affected by the travel ban, namely Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iran, is 178.68 million people. The estimated world Muslim population is 1.8 billion people. That’s a mere 9,92% of the world Muslim population that is banned from entering the United States. If you come from Indonesia, Pakistan or India, the countries with the biggest Muslim populations in the world, there is no ban against you.
Although the first qualification has indeed not been met, let’s take the time to assess whether or not this ban meets the second qualification of discrimination, namely the creation of an unfair or prejudiced differentiation between categories of people.
Iran has been a nuclear threat, as well as an enemy of Israel and the United States for quite some time now. Who can forget Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini’s calls of “death to America”, or how he described Israel as a “cancerous tumor in the heart”? Iran may not be friends of ISIS, but they’re still a danger to the West.
Let’s look at Syria, where the body count from the civil war has exceeded 400 000 fatalities. Not only is this body count substantially higher than that of all reported crimes in America within the same time period (America has around 15 000 deaths per year as a result of homicide), but many of these deaths are as a result of the actions of ISIS militia, who pose a threat to Western Societies today.
How about we take a look at some figures from Islamic terror attacks either conducted or inspired by ISIS and friends, shall we? In April alone, there were 165 Islamic terrorist attacks resulting in 1 336 deaths (statistics courtesy of the Religion of Peace). The two most recent London terror attacks were conducted by Muslims of Libyan, Moroccan and Pakistani decent. ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks. The Paris and Charlie Hebdo attacks were carried out by Muslims immigrants; ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks. The Nice bus attack, Orlando nightclub shooting and Boston Marathon bombings were once again-you guessed it-the products of ISIS and it’s many supporters.
According to a Pew survey in 2009, it was found that 83% of Iranians support Sharia law. This shows that the majority of Iranians support a legal system that is incompatible with American values. Another Pew research poll found that 26% of Muslims in America between the ages of 18 and 29 feel that suicide bombings are justified. These are people who have either come from radical Islamic backgrounds or are being influenced by radicals in their community.
The above facts are testament to the notion that Islamic extremism is indeed a threat to America and the West, and that a travel ban is not an unfair form of discrimination.
Because both of the above qualifications have been disproven, it can be confirmed that the Travel Ban is indeed a justified course of action to take in such trying times, and that does not qualify as discrimination. The Travel Ban is therefore not an Islamophobic action to take.