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Stop demonizing innocent Muslims

If you already thought the Republican presidential campaign was more than a little bit different than past contests, you may have to admit that, before this week, you really had not seen the depths of demagoguery and abject pandering xenophobia offered to republican primary voters.

And so far, it looks like those voters love it.

Outlaw all Muslims from coming to America? Why Not? Monitor Mosques for subversiveness? Seems right. Make every Muslim American register somewhere for some reason? By all means. Turn away any and all Muslim refugees who are not Christian? Absolutely!

And where would the Republican presidential campaign be without the voice of Donald Trump, who breeches new limits of civility and reason on a weekly basis, attacking Mexican immigrants as rapists, women for their physical appearance, his campaign competitors as “dumb”, American leadership as “stupid” and labeling Muslims with the broadest brush as terrorists? For it is Trump the panderer, Trump the demagogue, who leads in all the Republican primary polls. The more extreme Trump speaks the more the primary voters love him.

And why not? For far too long political correctness has inhibited too many Republican voters from saying what they really think. Trump speaks for them, voicing what is oft said in dark barrooms late at night after a few beers have left these voters wondering, why don’t we just kick some butt and beat ISIS? Why don’t we just kill the terrorists and be done with terrorism?

In contrast President Obama is left with the far less fun job of speaking and acting responsibly, as when he spoke to the nation this week from the Oval Office.

The president could not promise that we can end terrorism forever, for he knows there may be no end to the tactic of terrorism, and there can be no promise that we will defeat this tactic completely, freeing Americans from all risk and threat.

And the president would not promise to send U.S. troops back to war in the Middle East, even though current public polling now favors such action. For to do so would demonstrate that we learned nothing from two wars there; that ground troops in locations where the enemy melts into the population poses terrible risks to our troops with little reward.

The president also knows that our forces in Syria and Iraq will result in becoming recruiting tools for our enemies, who argue they are at war with Western civilization.

Nor would the president name Islam as the enemy as so many Republican presidential candidates have demanded he do, and mocked him for failing to so name a religion of 1.8 billion as our enemy. The president knows that our enemies in ISIS are not representative of Islam at all, but instead are a perversion of a peaceful religion.

Muhammad Ali, famous sports figure and Muslim, said, “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”

And true Americans know that millions of American Muslims have served our nation as soldiers, doctors, laborers, cab drivers, educators and as friends and families in communities across America.

The Republican presidential campaign is pandering to the dark side of America, while stoking and fanning the flames of fear over reason, and advocating simple and flawed solutions to complex and enduring problems.

The next president will not eliminate terrorism forever, nor end the strife in the Middle East, nor guarantee that no American need ever worry about terrorist attacks again.

For now, is it too much to ask the Republican presidential candidates to stop demonizing Americans who happen to be Muslim?

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.