ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Implications of American Islamophobia

The remarks of the United States presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, on Muslims in America have caused outrage all over the world and have led many to say that Trump is going against what the country stands for. The present rash of Islamophobia is, however, only the latest example of a deep vein of racism and xenophobia that runs through mainstream American society.

The swirling controversy that has arisen over the remarks made in recent weeks by Donald Trump regarding the place of Muslims in American society has far-reaching implications that extend well beyond the question of whether it has now become acceptable in certain circles to be openly Islamophobic. In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks a month ago, Trump described himself as open to the idea that mosques might have to be shut down in the United States (US). A few days later, he came out with what seemed akin to a suggestion that a national registry may have to be established for all Muslims in the US. Trump has explicitly warned that American Muslims are incapable of extending their loyalty to the US.

Thus, he has repeatedly circulated the discredited story that a large number of Muslims cheered when the Twin Towers were brought down by terrorists on 11 September 2001. Though not an iota of evidence lends credence to his narrative, Trump has sought to give it the stamp of veracity with the imprimatur of his own experience: I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, Trump told an audience in Alabama on 19 November 2015, and I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building came down. Trump would not budge from this story when he appeared on the ABC network: It did happen, I saw it. It was on television. I saw it.

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