‘I’m very afraid’: Muslim shock as Trump heads for victory

Khizr Khan, and his wife Ghazala (L), whose son, Humayun S. M. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving in the U.S. Army. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
Updated 09 November 2016

‘I’m very afraid’: Muslim shock as Trump heads for victory

Jakarta: “I’m very afraid, will there be more wars? Will America attack Muslim countries again?” asked Indonesian activist Alijah Diete as Donald Trump edged closer to a shock victory in the US election.
Muslims across Asia were struggling Wednesday to accept the news that the populist politician who has made fiery anti-Islamic rhetoric a key part of his campaign was likely to become president of the world’s greatest power.
He made his most controversial remarks about Islam in December last year, sparking anger among the world’s 1.5 billion followers of Islam when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States after a mass shooting in California.
“Americans have just screwed the world yet again,” said Syed Tashfin Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi who has several close friends in the US. Thousands in the country watched in shock as the results rolled in and Facebook lit up with horrified reactions.
A senior Pakistani government official, speaking anonymously, called the news “absolutely atrocious and horrifying” while others in the country also lamented the results.
“I am disappointed to see Donald Trump winning because Hillary Clinton is a good woman, she is good for Pakistan and Muslims all over the world,” said Ishaq Khan, 32, speaking at an Islamabad market.
“She was talking about world peace — but Trump was talking about fighting against Muslims.”
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, there was growing nervousness about how the relationship with traditional ally the United States would shape up, and how a Trump presidency would affect relations between America and the Muslim world.
“I am very concerned that the relationship between the US and Muslim countries will become tense again,” said the female Muslim activist Diete, 47.
Nikken Suardini, who works for a law firm in the capital Jakarta, was concerned about the proposed Muslim ban. “If he is elected president he will block Muslims from entering the US — well, that’s just not fair.”
There was also concern that tough anti-Islamic policies under Trump could fan Muslim extremism globally at a time when the world is struggling with a growing threat of Islamic militancy.
“When the United States uses hard power, extremists gain a momentum,” said Zuhairi Misrawi, an Islamic scholar from moderate Indonesian Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama.
“Those who will be the happiest when Trump wins are ISIS,” he said, referring by another name to the Daesh group, which is struggling to hold onto its territory in Iraq and Syria in the face of a fierce military onslaught.
Some observers were more sanguine as the 70-year-old maverick appeared heading for the White House, hoping that his populist rhetoric was aimed at winning votes and would not be translated into tough xenophobic policies if he enters the White House.
“We hope that Trump’s remarks against Muslims were only to boost his campaign and he will realize that Muslims are a large population in the US,” said Tahir Ashrafi, a senior Pakistani government cleric.
Others echoed the concerns that his policies would likely discriminate against American Muslims.
“His policies against Muslims will be discriminative,” said Munarman, a spokesman for Indonesian hard-line group the Islamic Defenders’ Front. “Muslims are foreigners to him.”


Motorcycle gunmen kill journalist in Honduras

Updated 6 min 50 sec ago

Motorcycle gunmen kill journalist in Honduras

  • The journalist was taken to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and died early Monday
  • In June, a journalist and his cameraman were shot dead in the Caribbean port of La Ceiba

TEGUCIGALPA: A Honduran journalist who was a sharp government critic has been killed in a drive-by shooting, police said Monday, bringing the number of reporters killed in the country to 85 in two decades.
Luis Almendares, 35, was visiting a store in Comayagua, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, when he was shot multiple times on Sunday.
“He was intercepted by two individuals on a motorcycle, who shot him repeatedly,” police said in a statement.
The journalist was taken to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and died early Monday, according to Amada Ponce, director of the Committee for Free Expression.
Almendares, a freelancer who used social media to criticize the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, had repeatedly complained to police and the country’s National Protection System over receiving death threats, the rights group said.
The government set up the National Protection System in 2015 in response to concerns expressed by the Organization of American States and the UN over the high number of killings involving rights defenders, lawyers and journalists.
The president of the Honduran association of journalists, Dagoberto Rodriguez, announced his group was withdrawing from the protection system in reaction to Almendares’s death.
“The government has let this system go off course by giving it neither logistical nor financial means,” Rodriguez said.
He slammed the impunity of those responsible for murdering journalists and members of the media, saying “the government shows that it is not interested.”
In June, a journalist and his cameraman were shot dead in the Caribbean port of La Ceiba. Two gang members were arrested as suspects in that killing.
However, Ponce told AFP that more than 90 percent of the 85 murders of journalists carried out in Honduras since 2001 have gone unpunished.
The United Nations human rights commissioner’s Honduras office “urged the Honduran state to conduct an independent, prompt, effective and impartial investigation” into Almendares’s killing.
The presidents of the Inter American Press Association and the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information also expressed their outrage, noting that 15 other journalists have been murdered in the Americas since the start of 2020.