WEB DESK: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has been making all kinds of outrageous remarks to attract the attention of his party’s conservative core. Making the debate further degenerative the other day he treaded into sensitive territory with a call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
Shocking as the comments are, they have sparked widespread anger and indignation, even a row with his country’s trans-Atlantic ally, Britain. A petition moved by a Scottish resident seeking a ban on his entry into the UK for hate speech has won overwhelming support. The petition rightly argues “the UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech.
The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.” It required 100,000 signatures to receive a written reply from the government; till last reports, the number had crossed the 370,000 mark while 24 MPs also signed two House of Commons motions condemning the remarks, one of them urging the government “to refuse a visa allowing Donald Trump to visit the UK until Trump withdraws his comments.”
In his hallmark arrogance and ignorance, Trump tried to defend his indefensible comments with anther offensive statement, “We have places in London… that are so radicalized that the police are afraid for their own lives.” Given his mental limitations, the US presidential candidate failed to fathom that the claim, was not only “wrong” and “divisive’, as Prime Minister David Cameron described it, but it also cast aspersions on the British government’s administrative ability.
London Mayor, Boris Johnson, quickly responded by questioning Trump’s insinuation that there are parts of London that are no-go areas, voicing the common view that “he is betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States.” Needless to say, no civilized person would hesitate to condemn Trump’s statement for its plain hatred and bigotry. Aside from alienating Muslims in general, it plays right into the hands of violent religious extremists, like the IS and its sympathizers.
Someone who is hoping to be president of a superpower should have been able to figure out “what is going on” instead of asking for a ban on Muslims’ entry in the US till “our country’s representatives” do figure it out for him and others of his ilk. It does not take much thought to understand the causes of radicalization. One major reason is the war that a fellow Republican former US president George W Bush waged against Iraq using false pretexts. US-led military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and subsequent interventions in Libya and Syria have created chaos in those countries, radicalizing a vast number of people not only there but via the internet in Western societies as well.
They have produced violent extremists who are willing to kill and get killed not only in the West but have also been wreaking havoc in Muslim countries from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq, Syria and Libya. The self-styled Khalifa Abu Bakr Baghdadi of the so-called Islamic State, Trump should note, emerged from the aftermath of George W Bush’s war against Iraq to use the turbulent situation in both Iraq and Syria, taking over large swathes of those countries to establish the IS. People like Trump only further vitiate the atmosphere by making ill-informed, nasty remarks. He should apologize instead of offering nonsensical explanations.