During her second debate with Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton took some serious heat for warning that the Republican’s then-proposed ban on Muslims may well have found its way into terrorism recruiting material.
Clinton was right at the time — but she was also prescient.
The new administration’s ham-fisted executive order restricting travel from seven, majority-Muslim nations is now being praised by jihadist groups as a victory.
“[Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi has the right to come out and inform Trump that banning Muslims from entering America is a ‘blessed ban,’” The Washington Post reported Jan. 30, citing a posting to a pro-Islamic State channel on a social media platform called Telegram.
According to the Post, the author compared Trump’s executive order issued Jan. 27 to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Islamic militants hailed at the time as a “blessed invasion.”
The Post further reported that other postings suggested that Trump was “fulfilling the predictions of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born al-Qaeda leader and preacher who famously said that the “West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.” Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.”
As I read those words, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a young Muslim friend who took to Facebook Jan. 30 in a heartbreaking post giving voice to her fears about the place her adopted country had become:
“I haven’t had immigrant struggles for a while but being a green card holder right after 9/11 was not easy. I’ve been detained at an airport when I was eleven. I threw a fit and basically just wailed until they let my family out,” my friend, who asked that her name not be used for this piece. “I’ve spent four hours in Customs trying to get back home from Canada. And I’ve spent countless hours standing in early morning lines in the cold ... just to get my visas.
“But I’ve never been afraid that I won’t be able to get back to my home,” she wrote. “And I am crushed, absolutely crushed for all of the little Muslim children feeling like they’re second-hand citizens in their own country.”
Trump jumped on Twitter on Jan. 30 to defend his travel ban, writing at one point that “if the ban were announced with a one-week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
Like my friend, an accomplished professional woman, who’s smart and poised and exactly the kind of immigrant our nation should welcome?
But, right, she’s Muslim. So roll up the welcome mat.
In his executive order, Trump also falsely claimed that his action was similar to one undertaken by President Barack Obama “when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”
In fact, Obama did no such thing. The former administration slowed down the processing of visas, but never stopped accepting them.
As the Post’s Glenn Kessler reported, the Obama administration’s action also came in response to a hostile act, while Trump’s blanket action came without any provocation from the affected governments.
The claim came amid a growing outcry from some members of Congress, including US Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as well as US Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., who called the ban “unacceptable,” and demanded a “more thoughtful and deliberative policy,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
But we already know that such niceties scarcely matter to Trump and his personal Richelieu, White House counselor Stephen K. Bannon, who have spent the last 10 days marching blindly across the countryside, leaving chaos and growing protests in their wake.
Because only in Trumplandia would this kind of chaos and division be hailed as a “massive success story.”
And with that, the new administration finds itself in the unlikely position of being in absolute agreement with the nation’s sworn enemies.
Strange bedfellows, indeed.
John L. Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2017
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