Beginning Friday, all Muslims seeking refuge from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen will be banned from entering America for 120 days, while Muslims from Syria will be banned indefinitely.
During his campaign for the presidency in late December of 2015, Donald Trump first spoke of putting a “temporary ban” on Muslim immigrants and refugees seeking entry into the United States. Wanting to quell what he refers to as “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump believed then and continues to believe now that barring those seeking asylum within the states would bring an abrupt end to terrorism within our country.
Ignorance and irrationality won Friday, as Donald Trump followed through with the campaign promise he had made two Decembers ago. The President signed an executive order which will not only include an aforementioned ban on Muslims from several middle eastern countries, but also “extreme vetting,” which he believes will “keep the terrorists out.”
In a speech given to the Department of Defense the same day, Trump stated, “We are establishing new vetting measures, to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.” He continued, “We don’t want them here.” As he signed into action the order, he played directly into the hands of ISIL, submitting to fear of what is not understood, instead of siding with the overwhelming factual evidence that suggests exactly the contrary.
While Trump believes Islam is the be-all-end-all of society, there is little-to-no fact to back the reasoning behind this executive order, making it abundantly clear: Muslims are not terrorizing the U.S.
In an article titled “You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist” published in “Washington Post” on 23 November, 2015 (shortly after the ISIL attack on Paris, France) by author Andrew Shaver – a former Pentagon analyst and foreign affairs fellow with the U.S. Senate – it is explained in-depth just how rare it is for an American to be killed by a terrorist versus various other common ways to die. States Shaver:
“…in the time it has taken you to read until this point, at least one American has died from a heart attack. Within the hour, a fellow citizen will have died from skin cancer. Roughly five minutes after that, a military veteran will commit suicide. And by the time you turn the lights off to sleep this evening, somewhere around 100 Americans will have died throughout the day in vehicular accidents…
He ends the article with, “We can refuse to give [terrorists] the fear they so desperately want from us.”
Consider the last five major attacks on U.S. soil: Fort Lauderdale, Pulse Nightclub, Charleston, South Carolina, San Bernardino, California and Newtown, Connecticut. The nationalities of the perpetrators of said attacks were, respectively: American, American, American, American and, you guessed it: American. Not a single one migrated here from one of the seven countries present on Trump’s “banned” list. They were all born here.
And September 11, 2001? Of the nineteen hijackers, fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon.
And if you didn’t happen to notice, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon are all absent on the list of barred countries.
None of this is to suggest the seven banned parts of the middle east are currently in states of peace, because they are not by far. They are, however, areas filled with innocent citizens who are attempting to flee from the very same thing we believe we’ve been fighting. For no apparent reason other than fear, those hoping to find shelter in the United States were just denied ingress from the most powerful person in the world.
In June of 2015, “Time” published a study from the New America Foundation, which stated:
“Since 9/11, white right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than radical Islamists have, according to research by the New America Foundation.”
According to the study, “48 people were killed by white terrorists, while 26 were killed by radical Islamists, since Sept. 11.” “Time” author Joanna Plucinska went on to state that the criminal justice system clearly presented cases of racial bias, usually punishing jihadists harsher than their radical non-Muslim counterparts.
It pains me to see a country so deeply divided on this issue, particularly because there should not be two sides. When human lives – innocent human lives – are put in danger, it becomes the duty of other human beings to lift them up out of harm’s way, not to continue pressing them down, allowing them to be slaughtered. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “For what are we born if not to aid one another?”
Today, we saw our President. We saw what motivates and drives him to make a decision. It was not inspiration, not humanity, not compassion and not factual evidence.
We saw fear.