OPINION: Does Trump actually hate Muslims?

The president-elect ran his election campaign skillfully to attract a broad range of voters by employing controversial rhetoric. (AP)

In a similar approach to those of religious preachers who continuously warn of the looming judgment day as a consequence of the spread of sins, writers and commentators, during the last few months, maintained a cautious note of catastrophic implications if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

Some of them have overplayed the tone, even depicting him as a dog, a pig and sometimes as manic and demented, while entirely ignoring the possibility that he may be elected president in the end. Freedom of speech grants each person the right to criticize, but alas, this was done in order to spread a campaign designed to psychologically impose rigid visions.

But Trump is now officially president-elect of the strongest country in the world, hence it is better to disregard and overlook all those overstatements and psychological inclinations, and with a pragmatic spirit try to re-examine the outlook.

Before discussing Trump, let us start by talking about Hillary Clinton. Though she is a seasoned politician, her foreign policies are not in tune with our region. She is a vigorous advocate for the Iran nuclear deal while soft when it comes to Iranian militias being deployed in other Arab nations. She is sympathetic to Islamist political groups contending that they are a better alternative to radical Islamism, in what can be illustrated as a frequent liberal American simplistic disregard. They are a two side of the same coin. No doubt, it would have been a remarkable and historic event had she been elected as the first female US president but her gender means nothing if her policies sides with the Iranian project that counters our interests.

There is an overall distinction between Trump the businessman and that of the presidential candidate, in the core that he is a liberal tolerant with no anti-Muslims or migrants’ slogans.

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Clinton was right on intervention in Syria, a position she flipped-flopped later on. The Obama administration, from which we have experienced the worst phases in our region, would have eventually remained the same as Clinton would have reshuffled the same faces. It would be such a contentment to see this administration’s back.

Trump the capitalist vs Trump the president

Trump’s reading is more complex due to the confusion ensued between entirely different characters he reflected during the different stages of his campaign: Trump the capitalist businessman and Trump the presidential candidate. Two characters that are absolutely in contrast to the one he showed during his victory speech where he struck a conciliatory tone in stark contrast to his renowned dark rhetoric.

The president-elect ran his election campaign skillfully to attract a broad range of voters by employing controversial rhetoric such as saying he would ban Muslims from entering the US, deporting all the illegal immigrants and beside playing the misogyny card. Later he reserved some of these rhetoric, such as the remarks that have been regarded as offensive to Muslims which were temporarily deleted from his campaign website.

Examining the essence of Trump’s statements after the adjustments, some seem valid and rational. Constructing a US-Mexico border wall is much needed to stop the influx of illegal immigrants and put a stop to the drug smuggling trade. The idea is not chauvinistic and racist, as described by some, as it has proved effective in some countries. It is a plan that had it been proposed by any of our own officials, they would have been honored. But Trump was considered a vile racist when he advocated for it. This is part of anti-Trump media campaign that was carried out to denigrate him internally during the presidential campaign, and we believed the ploy.

Trump has altered his previous statements of a total and complete shutdown of Muslim entering the United States, by stating he is against radical Muslims and the Muslim Brotherhood. We are the ones to benefit most from such a policy considering that terrorists attain safe havens in Arab and Islamic countries rather than in America. However, combating and eliminating them is far better than Hillary’s conciliatory approach.

US media cleverly exploited this statement, not for the love of the Muslims nor to defend them, but as a weapon in a campaign to smear his image and to illustrate him as a radical evangelist. We were distracted by this systematic campaign from his encouraging statement concerning the Iranian regime, ISIS and his plan to rebuild the alliance with the Arab allies to his country, who were depicted previously by Obama as “free riders”.

There is an overall distinction between Trump the businessman and that of the presidential candidate, in the core that he is a liberal tolerant with no anti-Muslims or migrants’ slogans.

Trump the president was characterized when his pick Mike Pence as his running mate. The solemn republican Indiana governor is an obvious indicator of Trump’s coherence.

Recent reports suggest that Trump’s potential cabinet may include, among others, Newt Gingrich, Bob Corker and Rudy Guiliani. The handpicked hawkish republican figures will instigate his vision to counter the Russian-Iranian project.

In his victory speech, Trump altered his controversial rhetoric when he said he would president for all Americans from different backgrounds, races and religions.

This is a quick and brief analysis of the recent developments, my views may not be as accurate, but nonetheless, we reject the political analysis suggesting that Trump is the new Stalin or Mussolini.

*This opinion piece also appears on AlArabiya.net.

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Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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