Trump ‘misunderstood’ by community, Arab-American relative tells Arab News

Trump ‘misunderstood’ by community, Arab-American relative tells Arab News
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, DC, May 25, 2024. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 May 2024
Follow

Trump ‘misunderstood’ by community, Arab-American relative tells Arab News

Trump ‘misunderstood’ by community, Arab-American relative tells Arab News
  • Massad F. Boulos' son Michael is married to ex-US president's daughter Tiffany
  • Boulos says he and other Arab Americans are organizing meetings with community leaders in several states

CHICAGO: Donald Trump is “misunderstood” by many Arab Americans due to “biased media” and false claims made by his Democratic foes, according to the Arab-American father-in-law of the former US president’s daughter, in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Dr. Massad F. Boulos, whose son Michael married Trump’s fourth child Tiffany in 2022, said he is working with other Arab Americans to “clear up misunderstandings” that would help Trump win the Nov. 5 presidential election. Tiffany is Trump’s only child with his second wife Marla Maples.

Boulos said he and other Arab Americans are organizing meetings with community leaders in several states, including Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., New York, and Minnesota.

“Trump was a president who was absolutely misunderstood by many, not just because of the distortion of the biased media, but also by regular people. He was misunderstood. As we all know, he came into this as a businessman,” Boulos said.

“Unfortunately, some of the community in the past, four years ago, voted for (US President Joe) Biden and now they’re absolutely dissatisfied. Some of them have shifted to support President Trump.

“Some of them are undecided. We’re here to show them the truth, the actual facts, and show them the right choice, which is President Trump.”

Boulos and his son attended a meeting in Troy, Michigan, on May 21, to “clear up misunderstandings” and reinforce Trump’s commitment to Middle East peace and the Arab-American community. Boulos said Trump would be more effective than Biden, who is a “traditional politician.”

“Trump wasn’t a politician and he never has been, and probably never will be a politician in that sense, although I think he’s doing great. He’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. That’s who he is,” Boulos said.

“Biden is the absolute mainstream politician versus the successful businessman Trump, who is extremely smart, who is extremely sharp, who is extremely results-oriented. He’s a man of his word.

“He delivered on every single promise. We all know that had it not been for COVID, Trump would easily have been reelected in a landslide. He’s someone who’s greatly misunderstood.”

Boulos added: “For those who are undecided, we strongly believe in the coming three or four months they’ll turn in the right direction, which is the right. They’ve seen what’s going on.”

He said it is not true that Trump “banned Muslims” when he imposed a travel ban on seven countries, all afflicted by conflict: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran.

“This has been taken way out of proportion… This was never intended to be a Muslim ban. The media started using that expression and mobilized against him on it. It’s absolutely not the case,” Boulos said, adding that Trump was concerned about security issues in the seven countries and wanted to prevent bad actors from entering the US.

“It’s a high level of vetting, like any government ought to do and many governments around the world actually do, including Third World countries and developing countries.”

Boulos, an Orthodox Christian from Lebanon, said Trump is the “better choice” for Arab-American voters and has “always been close” to the community as a businessman.

“I think Trump is saying the right things. The Arab-American community shares the same values that he does,” said Boulos.

“The No. 1 issue today is the issue of war and peace. He’s a man of peace. He’s the only president who didn’t start any war.

“He’s the only president who has ended war and withdrew troops in a proper manner, not like we saw two years ago in Afghanistan.

“He was able to achieve four peace accords, and he was on his way to achieving more of those (Middle East) peace accords.”

Trump wants to see an economically prosperous Middle East, said Boulos, adding that he would have prevented the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

“Had President Trump been in the White House for a second term, all of these wars wouldn’t have taken place, whether it was the Ukraine war or the war in the Middle East… His doctrine is peace through strength, and it would continue to work, and all of these conflicts will come to an end.”

He said Trump is committed to a peaceful Middle East. “The Palestine-Israeli conflict was a top priority for him. He worked very hard and he was very close to it,” said Boulos.

“He got four peace accords to be signed, and he was working very hard to achieve more and the ultimate one, achieving a Palestinian-Israeli peace… Yes, this is a priority.”

Boulos said most Arabs embrace conservative values and identify with Trump and the Republicans.

He added that they support Trump’s goals of lowering taxes for families, reducing government bureaucracy, improving the economy, and creating more jobs.

“I don’t think there’s any member of the Arab-American community who’d disagree with those policies,” Boulos said.

“There’s a huge base of support within the Arab-American community that hasn’t shifted. There’s a solid base that has always been there. Many of them are Republican.

“Of course there have been some misunderstandings. There are some issues caused by the mainstream media and by the vicious opposition. His message needs to be heard in a much clearer way in our communities.

“So we’ll make sure his message is heard loud and clear. There are many ways to do that… to reach directly to the grassroots.

“For those who are hesitant or who are undecided, the message will be very clear and will help them make the right decision.”

Boulos said his family’s ties to Trump reflect the former president’s respect for Arab Americans and Muslims.

He emphasized that Trump has two sons-in-law from different backgrounds, “one who is Jewish and one who is Arab American. This shows you the type and kind of person that Donald Trump is, and that the Trump family is.

“The way they’ve embraced Michael, my son, and us as a family is really amazing, something I can’t easily describe. It’s extremely warm and just a family. To sum it up in one word, I’d say it’s a true family.”

Boulos said the meetings he is having with Arab-American leaders have not been organized by Trump’s political campaigners.

Boulos’ family owns a multibillion-dollar conglomerate in Nigeria that encompasses retail, construction, and vehicles.


Cyprus plans to build a major naval base to play a larger geopolitical role, says defense minister

An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Cyprus plans to build a major naval base to play a larger geopolitical role, says defense minister

An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
  • Cyprus has in recent months been staging ground for collection and delivery of donated humanitarian aid to Gaza
  • Aid is being shipped from the Cypriot port of Larnaca to the Palestinian territory after being security screened

NICOSIA: Cyprus’ defense minister said Wednesday that plans are in motion to build a major naval base on the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast capable of hosting large ships from European Union countries and other nations to carry out a variety of missions including humanitarian aid deliveries to the tumultuous Middle East region.
Vasilis Palmas told reporters that Cyprus’ recently elevated geopolitical role as the European Union’s closest member to the Middle East warrants the building of infrastructure that can support policies geared toward the region.
Cyprus has in recent months been the staging ground for the collection and delivery of donated humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Gaza. The aid is being shipped from the Cypriot port of Larnaca to the Palestinian territory after being security screened. Last year, Cyprus served as a waystation for third-country nationals evacuated from Sudan.
Palmas said the construction of the base would “contribute decisively” to policy implementation in the region.
He said Greece is contributing technical know-how to the project, while actual construction will be guided by the findings of an expert study that will be completed in the next few days.
The naval base will be built on an existing naval installation some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of the coastal town of Limassol, which in 2011 was the site of a huge explosion of 480 tons of seized Iranian gunpowder that killed 13 people, knocked out Cyprus’ main power station and stirred up a political crisis.


190 Russian, Ukrainian prisoners exchanged following UAE mediation efforts

190 Russian, Ukrainian prisoners exchanged following UAE mediation efforts
Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

190 Russian, Ukrainian prisoners exchanged following UAE mediation efforts

190 Russian, Ukrainian prisoners exchanged following UAE mediation efforts

ABU DHABI: The UAE has succeeded in securing the exchange of 190 prisoners of war between Russian and Ukraine, state news agency WAM has reported.

The UAE now secured the release of 1,558 captives with its sixth successful mediation effort between the warring parties, less than one month after the previous exchange process, the report added.

“These efforts reflect the UAE’s commitment to being a reliable mediator supporting diplomacy to resolve the crisis between the two countries,” a statement for the UAE’s foreign ministry said.

The UAE was committed to ‘continuing all efforts and initiatives aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, stressing the importance of dialogue, and de-escalation, as the only ways to resolve the conflict, and for mitigating its humanitarian repercussions,’ it added.

The UAE also managed to negotiate the exchange of two prisoners between the United States and the Russian Federation in December 2022.


Pakistan summons Taliban envoy after attack on military base

Pakistan summons Taliban envoy after attack on military base
Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Pakistan summons Taliban envoy after attack on military base

Pakistan summons Taliban envoy after attack on military base

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's foreign ministry summoned the Taliban's deputy head of mission on Wednesday and urged their administration to take action against Afghanistan-based militant groups that Islamabad says attacked a military base this week.
Militants attacked the base in Bannu in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing eight Pakistani security force members.


Bangladesh shuts educational institutions after students killed in protests

Bangladesh shuts educational institutions after students killed in protests
Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Bangladesh shuts educational institutions after students killed in protests

Bangladesh shuts educational institutions after students killed in protests
  • Students say seven killed in overnight clashes with police, government supporters
  • They protest reservation of 30 percent of government jobs for families of 1971 war fighters

DHAKA: Bangladesh indefinitely closed all educational institutions on Wednesday following deadly clashes between students and police, as campus protests against job quotas spread across the country.

Students have been demonstrating at campuses since early July against the government’s quota system, in which 30 percent of public service jobs are reserved for the families of those who fought in Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war.

The students demand the system’s reform and more just distribution of the well-paid public service jobs.

The protests turned violent on Sunday, after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina undermined the cause by suggesting that the demonstrators supported the “razakars,” or those who had collaborated with the Pakistani military — an enemy occupying force — during the 1971 war.

Students denounced the comparison and more of them joined the rallies, where they clashed with members of the youth wing of Hasina’s ruling Awami League party and security forces.

As violence escalated and turned deadly on Tuesday, the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh announced in separate notifications that all secondary educational institutions, universities and medical colleges across the country would remain closed “until further notice” and “for the safety of the students.”

According to local media reports at least six people, including four students, were killed and 400 injured when the clashes broke out in Dhaka, Chottogram, Rajshahi and Rangpur.

Protesters estimate that the actual numbers are even higher.

“More than 1,000 of our protesters were injured during the clashes. Seven died, including one bystander. Just now, we held funeral prayers in absentia for our fellows who lost their lives,” said Mohammad Nahid Islam, coordinator of the Students Against Discrimination group, which is part of the protests in Dhaka.

“Today, police attacked protesting students at the Dhaka University campus with a stun grenade and tear gas shells. Many of our female students became sick and injured ... We are concerned about our security.”

Despite repeated attempts by Arab News, Bangladesh Police did not respond to requests for comment.


Women lawyers top Philippines’ Shariah Bar exams

Women lawyers top Philippines’ Shariah Bar exams
Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Women lawyers top Philippines’ Shariah Bar exams

Women lawyers top Philippines’ Shariah Bar exams

MANILA: Women have topped this year’s Shariah Bar examinations in the Philippines, with Supreme Court data showing that female examinees not only obtained the best score but also had the highest passing rate.

Shariah, or Islamic law, is partially implemented in the Philippines, applicable only to the Muslim community — about 10 percent of the 120 million of the country’s predominantly Catholic population.

A total of 853 candidates took part in the Shariah Bar exam in April and May, and 183 passed it. More than half of those who passed the exams were women, nine of whom were among the top 10 scorers.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh announced the results on Tuesday, saying that “62.3 percent of the total passers are female. I’m very happy to announce that.”

This year’s exam also saw the “largest number of Shariah Bar examinees we have had in nearly 40 years,” Singh said.

“This is to strengthen and make the Shariah justice system more accessible by encouraging and giving more opportunities to aspiring Shariah councilors.”

Separate from the regular Bar tests for aspiring lawyers, the Shariah Bar exams are the professional licensure examination covering Islamic law for Shariah court councilor candidates.

Established under the 1977 Code of Muslim Personal Laws, the Islamic law courts are under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court and have jurisdiction over the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as well as other parts of the southern Mindanao island, which have significant Muslim populations.

The courts have application over personal status law, including marriage, as well as financial laws and halal certification.

The Supreme Court said last year that in its goal to “strengthen the Shariah justice system” under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027, it was studying the possibility of expanding the mandate of Islamic courts to cover also criminal and commercial cases.