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Politics in the U.S.

The craziness of the U.S. 2016 election season:

2016-NOV: Muslims' reactions to
Trump's candidacy. Two of Trump's
first five Cabinet appointments.

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Part 10 of fifteen parts

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay

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voting symbolReactions by Muslims to Donald Trump's presidential candidacy and election:

During his campaign, Muslims were one of Trump's main targets. He wants to ban all future immigration of Muslims to the U.S. He wants to register existing Muslims living in the U.S., much like what was done during World War II with Japanese-Americans. The latter action was also the result of fear. After the Japanese Navy's bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941-DEC, rumours spread of a plot among Japanese-Americans to sabotage the war effort. Starting in 1942-FEB, about 120,000 Japanese-Americans were uprooted and relocated to internment camps located in the interior of the U.S. They were returned after the war. The last camp was closed in 1946-MAR. 1

Muslims form a small community in the U.S. They total about 1% of the total population. They follow different traditions within Islam -- primarily Sunni and Shi'ite. About 20% are Black, about 20% are Asian. Most were born outside the U.S. in countries of origin whose governments are not democratic.

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center mosque in Falls Church, VA said that Trump's verbal attacks have had two main consequenses among his congregation. He said:

"For Muslims abroad, it helps radicalize them. And for Muslims at home, it encourages them to register to vote. Malcolm X called it the ballot or the bullet. For people overseas, who are frustrated they can’t vote , it’s the bullet. And for people here, it’s about the ballot." 2

Many Muslims are unhappy with the choices for President this year. Although Trump poses an immediate, direct, and serious threat to them, they have have also been concerned about Hillary Clinton's strong support for Israel in the past.

Nagina Bhatti, 26, is a "get-out-the-vote" volunteer at Emerge USA, in Alexander, VA. This group promotes voting among U.S. citizens who are Muslim. She said that Clinton:

"... is the lesser of two evils. That’s pretty much it for most people."

Keith Murphy is the leader of the Pittsburgh branch of Emerge USA said:

"When you look at the two candidates, somebody’s pro-you and somebody’s anti-you. So what are you going to do?" 2

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Reactions to two of Donald Trump's first Cabinet appointments:

On NOV-18, Daniel Dale of the Washington Bureau of the Toronto Star wrote:

"President-elect Donald Trump has made five major appointments so far. Four of his picks, including the three announced on Friday, have demeaned Muslims or African-Americans.

The selections are in line with Trump’s campaign rhetoric, which was openly bigoted against Muslims and frequently insulting to the black community. To the dismay and apprehension of minority groups, they are an early signal that the unorthodox Republican is not planning to attempt a post-election pivot to some kind of inclusive moderation. ... Buckle up. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

The man Trump picked last week as his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, was the chief executive of a website he called 'the platform for the alt-right,' a white supremacist movement, and that led an anti-Muslim smear campaign against the founder of Chobani yogurt.

In a Hollywood Reporter article published Friday, Bannon denied he was a 'white nationalist,' saying he is a mere 'nationalist' and 'economic nationalist'." 3

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said:

"Unfortunately, after stating in his acceptance speech that he wanted to unite America, President-elect Trump’s initial appointments indicate that he’s headed in exactly the opposite direction. Whenever you have ideological extremists in positions of power, I think you’re going to see that extremism expressed in policy." 3

For Attorney General: Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to head up the federal Justice Department.

  • Trump issued a statement:
  • "Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years. He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and US Attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him." 4

  • According to Phil Mattingly, et al. writing on CNN Politics:
  • "United by their hardline stance against illegal immigration, Sessions [had] helped Trump craft his campaign's national security policy. ... His appointment to a federal district court by then-President Ronald Reagan sank when a former Justice Department employee testified that Sessions had made racially tinged remarks. ... He ... had labeled the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and the [National Association for the Advancedment of Colored People] NAACP 'un-American' and said the organizations 'forced civil rights down the throats of people.' A black Justice Department staffer said Sessions had called him 'boy' and claimed he had thought the Ku Klux Klan 'were OK until I found out they smoked pot'. ... Sessions has also defended one of Trump's most controversial policy proposals: His ban on Muslims traveling into the United States." 4

  • Amber Phillips, writing for the Washington Post, said that Sessions:
  • "... is 'amnesty's worst enemy': The conservative National Review crowned Sessions with that title in 2014, with good reason. Sessions has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate the past two decades that has included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

    He's also fought legal immigration, including guest worker programs for illegal immigrants and visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high-tech. In 2007, Sessions got a bill passed essentially banning for 10 years federal contractors who hire illegal immigrants. ... [He] once voting against an amendment banning 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment' of prisoners." 5

  • Heidi Beirich, of the Southern Poverty Law Center said that Sessions is guilty of hate speech, and that his mere presence in Trump's inner circle is:
  • "... a tragedy for American politics." 5

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  • Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund issued a statement saying:

    "Jeff Sessions has a decades-long record -- from his early days as a prosecutor to his present role as a senator -- of opposing civil rights and equality. It is unimaginable that he could be entrusted to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for this nation’s civil rights laws." 3

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a positive statement about Sessions, saying:
  • "Jeff is principled, forthright, and hardworking. I look forward to the Senate’s fair and expeditious treatment of our colleague’s forthcoming nomination, just as it promptly processed President Obama’s first Attorney General nomination." 6

  • Sessions is a climate change denier. During a 2015 hearing he expressed his opinion that Carbon Dioxide is innoculous. He said:

    "Carbon pollution is CO1, and that’s really not a pollutant; that’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases." 5

For Director of the Central Intelligence Agency: Trump has nominated Rep. Mike Pompeo, (R-KS).

Pompeo has accused Muslim leaders in the U.S. of remaining silent after terrorist attacks. He said that this makes the:

"... Islamic leacers across America potentially complicit on these acts." 3

In reality, hundreds of Muslim leaders in the U.S. have condemned the attacks. 3

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Japanese-American Relocation," History, 2009, at:
  2. Daniel Dale, "Muslims mobilize to stop Donald Trump," The Toronto Star, 2016-OCT-02, at:
  3. Daniel Dale, "Trump appoints an Islamophobe, an alleged racist and a defender of torture to key posts," The Toronto Star, 2016-NOV-18, at:
  4. Phil Mattingly, et al., "Trump picks Sessions for attorney general," CNN Politics, 2016-NOV-18, at:
  5. Amber Phillips, "10 things to know about Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general," Washington Post, 2016-NOV-18, at:
  6. , "President Trump’s Cabinet picks are likely to be easily confirmed. That’s because of Senate Democrats," Washington Post, 2016-NOV-18, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religiously-motivated conflicts > Specific religious conflict event > 2016 U.S. election

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Copyright 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-NOV-20.
Latest update : 2016-NOV-20.
Author: B.A. Robinson

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