Mr Donald Trump, your knee-jerk reaction to the murdering scum, who slaughtered innocent people in Paris and Brussels, while understandable, has little basis in fact, while your proposals risk eliciting the opposite effect to its intended purpose.
You have reiterated your call to bar Muslims from entering the US and say you want to place American Muslims under surveillance. You also accuse the authorities in Brussels for failing to extract intelligence from recently detained terror suspect Salah Abdeslam using torture methods, and you have laid blame on British Muslims for not doing enough to report extremists to the authorities.
Before I challenge your misconceptions, I would stress that people in my part of the world are just as shocked and upset at the attacks on European capitals as Americans. My heartfelt sympathies are with the injured and the families of those victims who did not survive. Watching videos of a crouching woman at the stricken airport hugging her infant and hearing the cries of children escaping from the smoke-filled metro horror engulfed me with sadness and, yes, anger.
But, in reality, Mr Trump, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes lost their claims to be Muslims the moment they strapped on suicide belts and loaded their weapons. The Quran clearly states that the killing of one innocent person is akin to the killing of all humanity. Indeed, our Holy Book mentions “peace” far more than any other. Their religion is the will to power; their gratification is the spilling of innocent blood. Not only are they not Muslims, they are sub-humans.
As for your love affair with torture as a tool for intelligence gathering, not only does that fly in the face of international law, in practice, it is not effective because people experiencing unbearable pain or fearing for their lives, will admit to anything.Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
Are members of the Ku Klux Klan true Christians? Were the actions of Spanish Inquisition, who tortured Jews and Muslims to convert at pain of death, Christian? Can the Puritans who branded girls, little more than children, and women to death in Salem be described as Christians? Can the Burmese monks who have killed tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims be called followers of Buddha who cautioned against killing insects?
Let us remember too that the majority are second or third-generation Belgian nationals; known losers and petty criminals actively recruited by ISIS that began life when disgruntled former officers in Saddam Hussein’s army were detained in a US detention facility in Iraq, Camp Bucca. Over 100 top ISIS commanders are remnants of the former Iraqi Army. Most are secularists who have cynically cloaked themselves in Islam as propaganda to lure ignorant recruits.
The rent boys
Think about it! The majority of those European-born lowlifes and no-hopers claiming to be Muslims are known thieves, drug-smugglers/pushers and pimps. At least two were owners of a bar that was shut down as a drugden. Salah Abdeslam was “a rent boy” who regularly smoked hash and consumed alcohol, according to the New York Post. His brother Ibrahim frequented sleazy clubs and as reported by people who knew him well, never set foot in a mosque. How on earth can they be classified as Muslims?
In truth, ISIS has murdered, beheaded, tortured and drowned many more Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt than non-Muslims. We are all in the same boat; we share the same enemy. Pitting the West against Muslims would be a grave error when we need to work together to destroy this scourge on our planet.
Moreover, experts on terrorism have acknowledged that Europe is more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks todaythan the US for the simple reason that American Muslims have assimilated and are proud to call themselves American. There have been sporadic terrorist attacks in the US in recent years but they have not been carried out by organized cells but rather mentally unhinged lone wolves.
That is not the case in Paris and Brussels where Muslims have been ghettoized, marginalized and discriminated against in terms of job opportunities. This is not to make excuses for them. But the societies in which they live have fomented a ‘them against us’ mentality. Deprived areas, such as the inner city Brussels neighborhood, Molenbeek and the neglected suburbs of Paris are terrorist incubators.
If you succeed in your bid for the White House and your proposals to monitor and shutout Muslims were implemented, I am afraid that you will create the same divisions that exist in Europe in your own country where currently there are none. As soon as America’s Muslim populations are placed under blanket suspicion and treated as a potential threat, the likelihood is that there will be a backlash among the youth. That would also be a major blow to America’s much-touted values, freedoms and respect for human rights.
As for your love affair with torture as a tool for intelligence gathering, not only does that fly in the face of international law, in practice, it is not effective because people experiencing unbearable pain or fearing for their lives, will admit to anything. A 2013 Senate report confirms this. The chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee Diane Feinstein said, “There is no evidence that terror attacks were stopped, terrorists captured or lives saved through use of EITs (Enhanced interrogation techniques/torture).” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was subjected to waterboarding 183 times made all kinds of confessions which all turned out to be false.
A wiser plan
A wiser plan would be for Europe and the United States of America to place would-be immigrants under close scrutiny with regards to their personal histories, associations and skill sets, regardless of their religious beliefs. Western countries should welcome people with an understanding of their respective languages and culture; those able to contribute to society and economic growth. High-risk applicants and scroungers wanting to live their lives on welfare courtesy of the taxpayer should be barred irrespective of their nationality.
Lastly, I would remind you that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council member states are cracking down heavily on terrorists, their funders and supporters, both Sunni and Shiite. The Kingdom has formed an anti-terrorism coalition of 34 predominately Muslim countries to eradicate this disease. The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has called for a global strategy to fight terrorism stressing “the world must come together” and he has also asked the West to help eradicate ISIL in Libya. “Extremists offend the image of God,” he told Spiegel International.
If you are serious about keeping terrorists away from America’s door, then the last thing you should do as Commander-in-Chief is to alienate domestic Muslim communities as well as the entire Muslim world. Do you honestly believe such an antagonistic approach will keep America safe or will it create yet more enemies and fuel greater anti-Americanism in the Middle East?
Mr Trump, do not make the mistake of tarring all Muslims with a terrorist brush. Your former Republican rival Ben Carson says away from television cameras and big audiences, you are no more an entertainer but a thinker. All I would ask of you is to put on your thinking cap and digest my above points. You may not agree with all or even any, but it is my hope they will at the very least give you food for thought.
Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group - one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf. Al Habtoor is renowned for his knowledge and views on international political affairs; his philanthropic activity; his efforts to promote peace; and he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al-Habtoor began his career as an employee of a local UAE construction firm and in 1970 established his own company, Al Habtoor Engineering. The UAE Federation, which united the seven emirates under the one flag for the first time, was founded in 1971 and this inspired him to undertake a series of innovative construction projects – all of which proved highly successful.