Which Muslims are against Trump?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Extremist powers in our region have declared war against President-elect Donald Trump under the excuse that he has a project to fight Islam and Muslims. They are trying to incite around one billion Muslims against the new US administration and against the US. Those performing this task are doing so through religious and media platforms affiliated with extremist Islamic parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime.

Is Trump really hostile to Muslims in general? Do his secretaries of state really have hostile stances against Islam as a religion?

Ever since Trump announced the appointments of major secretaries of state, many in our region spoke out against them, claiming Washington was willing to launch war on one billion Muslims. General James Mattis, who Trump chose as secretary of defense, has in fact clearly and frankly voiced hostility - but against terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. He also has frank stances against what Iran is doing in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

General Michael Flynn, Trump’s new national security advisor, has also made outspoken speeches against extremist Islamic groups. Many have used these speeches to indicate that he is hostile against Islam and Muslims. Truth be told, what General Flynn said is what we ourselves say, that there is a dangerous virus inside Islamic society called extremism that has killed Muslims and threatened them everywhere and harmed them more than it even harmed the West and followers of other religions.

The ‘dangerous disease’

Doesn’t this dangerous disease exist in Muslims’ societies across the world? It certainly exists. Look at what happened in Turkey and Egypt during the past few days and what had happened in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Jordan. Hideous crimes were committed by extremist groups - the same ones which Flynn and Mattis call for confronting. Mike Pompeo, who Trump chose to manage the most important foreign security institution, the CIA, has the same opinions about the necessity of confronting extremism and he’s aware of Iran’s sabotaging role in the region and the world.

We, as Muslims, have for a decade and half now been engaged in a war against extremism and extremists, as an ideology and groups, and want the world to differentiate between Muslims and not put them all in one category and to stand with the majority of peaceful Muslims against this evil minority

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

If we realize that those who are angered by these three appointments are Iran, Al-Qaeda and Islamic groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, we can understand that the problem is not in Trump’s choices, but in these men’s project to confront terrorism which the former parties sponsor or at least benefit from. The majority of Islamic countries agree with these state secretaries’ proposals and vision of the crisis that threatens the entire world. We, as Muslims, have for a decade and half now been engaged in a war against extremism and extremists, as an ideology and groups, and want the world to differentiate between Muslims and not put them all in one category and to stand with the majority of peaceful Muslims against this evil minority. It’s in our interest to deter regimes like Iran that supports terrorist groups, be it Sunni or Shiite, and allies with them and engages in regional wars under dishonest slogans such as defending Islam or standing against the West.

We understand that Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the elections angered the Muslim Brotherhood. What fueled the latter’s anger was how Trump received Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in New York earlier this year. It’s on this basis that they try to picture Trump’s administration as racist and as an enemy of Islam and Muslims. They want to establish a popular bloc that exerts pressure to confront the new American government in order to intimidate it and force it to alter its stances and they are doing so by entrenching themselves behind Islam and Muslims.

Iran’s leadership of extremists

However, the Muslim Brotherhood must realize that we don’t agree with them and don’t care about their aspirations for power and don’t want to stand with them. At the same time, we support any government in the world that’s willing to ally with us against extremism and terrorism as this has always been our desire, even before Trump entered the political arena. These groups must realize the threat of media, political and religious incitation against Trump and the West and how it will cause new waves of violence under false justifications.

For 40 years now, Iran has led extremist groups, whether armed or politicized or Sunni or Shiite, in Lebanon, Palestine and the Gulf and it continues to do so. It’s currently guilty when it comes to Iraq and the sectarian chaos across it and it’s responsible for the rivers of blood in Syria. It’s for the first time that we see Washington officials who realize the facts on the ground and frankly declare that they will not accept blackmail or keep silent over extremist and terrorist regimes’ and groups’ practices.

We must understand the motives behind the groups that launch incitement campaigns against the new American administration. Iran knows that two of the appointed generals know it through expertise and personal experience. ISIS knows that the phase of truce will end with President Barack Obama’s exit. The Muslim Brotherhood, which enjoyed Obama’s support and bet on Clinton’s election as president, is now before a new phase that may not be in its interest.

These are the reasons behind the anger and quick judgments against the new American administration, and they reflect the stance of all three groups, i.e. Iran, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who sympathize with them. Meanwhile, the majority of Islamic countries will be very happy if he who arrives to the White House desires to fight extremism and terrorism.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on December 13, 2016.


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. He tweets @aalrashed

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