US President Donald Trump ordered the suspension of immigration from seven Muslim countries for 90 days, and the entrance of refugees for 120 days, fulfilling his much-maligned campaign vow to crack down on illegal immigration. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Immediately, nearly every Arab and Muslim organization in the US joined in condemning Trump’s executive order, calling it “anti-Muslim” and referring to it as a “Muslim ban.” However, none of the organizations denounced the mainstream US news media, which roundly demanded to know why Trump did not expand the order to include Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
Sadly, many Arabs and Muslims in the US have been duped once again into believing that the mainstream American news media, American society and the many protesters who have denounced Trump’s “Muslim ban” really care about Arabs or Muslims. They do not.
Here is the truth that the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim media does not want to report, and that protesters are ignoring: Trump’s order does not restrict immigration into the US from the vast majority of Muslim nations, so clearly his action is not “anti-Muslim.”
What justifies a suspension of immigration from the seven targeted nations? It is obvious. Six of them — Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — are failed states that are in societal disarray. The seventh, Iran, is less of a government and more of a terrorist enterprise committed to the destruction of Arab society and Western democracy.
Syria is in total dysfunction under the brutal military leadership of Iranian puppet Bashar Assad. His military assaults against Arab Spring protesters created the instability that allowed Daesh to build a base in the country, which he has exploited to prevent Western military intervention to undermine his oppressive rule.
Iraq has been basically partitioned into several mini-nations, each with its own political agenda and militia. Libya has been in total chaos for years. Somalia, Sudan and Yemen face serious internal threats from terrorist organizations linked to Daesh.
How does any of this relate to America’s immigration? If a Daesh terrorist wants to enter the US to fulfil repeated terrorist proclamations — such as the most recent one in December to drive trucks into American parades and high-profile public events to kill civilians — the easiest way for these terrorists to enter the US is through the weak and ineffective immigration systems in those six Arab/Muslim nations.
What is most appalling, when watching Arab- and Muslim-American organizations join the mainstream news media in accusing Trump of taking racist actions, is that the biggest purveyors of racist, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred in America is the mainstream news media. So why would anyone in the Arab or Muslim worlds listen to the mainstream US news media say they care about Arab or Muslim rights?
The media’s hypocrisy was evident on Sunday during the five top morning news discussion programs. Media personalities with the most journalism power all asked why Trump was not moving to suspend relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab countries such as Jordan and even Lebanon.
Worse is why American Arabs and Muslims would join in this bonfire of truth and denounce the immigration suspensions, which are clearly intended to protect all Americans regardless of their faith.
The media says the suspension is racist because it singles out certain peoples such as Syrians, Iranians and Libyans. That is just not true. America’s immigration policies have been weak for years. As Daesh steps up its efforts to attack the US, the country has every right to impose stringent policies to more closely examine who these immigrants are.
Trump has explained that his goal is not to ban Muslims, but to ensure that anyone entering the country is not intent on committing terrorism. Basically, he wants to separate the “good” from the “bad.”
America has an overlapping problem that is the real motivation behind the media’s phony obsession with the rights of Muslims and Arabs. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans enter the US via its southern border illegally. It is estimated that there are 12 million illegal aliens living in US cities, 3 million of them engaged in criminal violence.
The remainder are taking jobs, receiving health care benefits and exploiting the benefits of living in the US without contributing to American society as taxpayers or abiding by citizenship laws. Many do not even speak English. That is why Trump has proposed building a “wall” along the Mexican border. Which other country allows millions of illegal aliens to enter without being screened for criminal backgrounds? None.
The real issue is about US politics. Most ethnic minorities such as Hispanics tend to be Democrats, not Republicans. That is why Democrats have been the loudest in denouncing Trump’s policies. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by winning the majority of the votes in a dozen states that traditionally have voted Democrat, not Republican.
Trump is not perfect. His rhetoric sometimes feeds public fears, but those fears are being played by the mainstream US news media, the same media that fuels racism against Muslims and Arabs. The fact that Arab and Muslim Americans do not see this concerns me, and should concern everyone.
• Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected].