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Ban Muslims? Which ones?

It is unfortunate that Trump, or any other politician, would breach the ethical norms and rules respected by most U.S. presidential candidates

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump realizes that his popularity is partly due to playing on people’s fears about Hispanic and Muslim immigrants. He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the country until the government can differentiate between good and bad ones.

Americans usually take pride in their immigrant origins, and say this is the reason for their country’s success. This is true. Arabs and Muslims arrived 200 years ago and helped build the United States, so they have a share in this historical legacy.

Trump does not explain how his proposal will be implemented. There are a billion Muslims worldwide, and most countries do not include religious affiliations in passports, so how would he recognize them? There are Muslims with Chinese, Indian and Western names. As with Christianity, there are different Muslim sects.

If Trump decides to limit the ban to Muslim Arabs, there are more than 15 million Arab Christians. How will he recognize them? What will he do with the 5 million Muslim Americans, the ancestors of whom perhaps arrived in the United States before Trump’s grandfather?

False alarm?

His main concern is to reach the White House. I do not believe that he means what he says against Muslims, because he has had business dealings and personal relationships with them for decades, and still does - more so than most Americans.

Trump does not explain how his proposal will be implemented. There are a billion Muslims worldwide, and most countries do not include religious affiliations in passports, so how would he recognize them?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

All those who have listened to the promises of former presidential candidates during the past decades know that they will always be subject to the laws of the country and its constitution, which is considered higher than the decisions of the president and Congress.

I do not think there is still something to be done that is legal and has not been applied by former presidents, whether about illegal immigration or surveillance of Muslims. Putting restrictions on terrorists and extremists benefits the Muslim majority affected by their actions. It is unfortunate that he, or any other politician, would breach the ethical norms and rules respected by most U.S. presidential candidates, but we should not overstretch Trump’s words.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Jan. 22, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.