Trump’s new vetting rules for Muslims

Dr Muhammad Khan

With the signing of sweeping new executive orders to suspend refugee arrivals, tough control over travellers from seven Muslims countries, President Donald Trump seems to strictly implementing the policies, he promised during election campaign. These Muslim countries include; Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and there will be no issuance of visas for the immigrants/visitors of these countries for next ninety days at least. Astonishingly, this order was signed at pentagon, the centre of US hard military power. This is a clear indication that, Pentagon, the real centre of US strategic policy formulation has its consent for this discriminatory executive order for the Muslim refugees and the citizens of the seven Muslim countries to begin with.
Upon signing of this order, Trump said that, he was making the United States safe from, “radical Islamic terrorists” and “This is big stuff, Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” In the implementation process, these executive orders will however cater for the minorities, particularly the Christians, who will not be disallowed from entering US, despite a strict ban on their Muslims fellows. Whereas the people from civil liberties and even experts of counter terrorism have condemned these orders of Trump, this act is a violation of the basic fundamentals of US Constitution. As per US Constitution, there are no religious litmus tests in US and its population has freedom of belief.
Trump’s executive orders are in violation of the ‘First Amendment’s Establishment Clause of US Constitution. This clause ‘prohibits the government from preferring or disfavouring any religion.’ It is also a violation of ‘Equal Protection Clause’, otherwise part of ‘Fourteenth Amendment’ “that guarantees that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law.” As per Anthony Romero, the Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union, “‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims.” This act will have legal challenges for the President Trump in the days to come, as these orders are against the Muslims only.
In a way, President Trump is pitching Christianity against Islam and pitching America against Muslims. Should this proposition suit the people of United States, majority of whom, have no biases based on religion. Perhaps, the right thing would have been, targeting people based on their past characters, and record of criminality, rather religion. But, the Trump’s order are, “targeting people based on their faith and national origin, and not on their character or their criminality.” On one hand these orders are immoral and against the humanity, on the other hand, these are unconstitutional. Is this the real face of United States, the liberal world questions the Trump’s voters and Pentagon, where he signed this order?
Trump has already allowed torture and other punishments by CIA and US intelligence agencies through another executive orders. The visa applicants of Pakistan and Afghanistan will have to pass through extreme vetting measures. Whereas, Trump issued orders against Muslims and Islam, Indian Prime Minister, NarindraModi, was very lucky that, Trump spoke to him on telephone, appreciated his efforts, and assured him of US full support in all fields. He was invited too by Trump to visit US by the end of current year. Perhaps both leaders have harmony in thoughts and actions. Prime Minister Modi has a personality of extreme Hinduism, the Hinduvta as follower of RSS and President Trump has personality of extreme Christianity. He is imposing ban on Muslims for the protection of Christians in US.
With this extreme mind-set towards a belief, what would be the future of liberal world under an extremist President of a super power? Now, it will not be difficult for the people having common sense to distinguish, as who is extremist, the Muslims or those taking extreme steps against them, pushing the people to walls for a possible revolt. Would CIA, FBI and Pentagon tell Trump, who raised the terrorist organisations like, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and many others? And also, how these organisations paved the way for US intervention in many Muslim countries, especially the Middle East.
Iran is the only Muslim country, which has quickly reacted to US ban on Muslim countries. As per Iranian news agency, “Iran, to defend the dignity of the great Iranian nation, will implement the principle of reciprocity until the removal of the insulting restriction against Iranian nationals. It will apply corresponding legal, consular and political actions.” There is a need of global debate over the Trump’s orders and insulting attitude against Islam and Muslims. These orders of Trump would shrink the space for US nationals anywhere in the world. There is serious resentment of Muslim youth against this US discriminatory treatment towards Muslims.
These acts will increase the militancy and terrorism throughout the world. In order to reduce the element of militancy and extremism, there is a need to devise liberal laws and promote the interfaith harmony among followers of all divine religions. With a globalised character and modern weaponry, the world cannot afford a civilisational clash or wars based on religions/ beliefs. In such a scenario, US would be the biggest loser. Therefore, the intellectuals of all religions must take the lead role and save the world from a catastrophic situation.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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