#Trump Travel Ban Stigmatizes American and Muslim?

By, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

Photo Credit: blogspot

While I’m not from any of the “banned” countries or feel particularly religious or only Muslim in my identity, Trump does seek to stigmatize anyone who may be identified as Muslim by any superficial or substantive criteria, from name to physical appearance. In my case the name “Muhamed” is enough to subject me to scrutiny, as it did Muhammad Ali’s son recently at the airport. It apparently is irrelevant whether born in the US or not, whether served in US military or act as a patriotic American committed to the betterment of our country and defending all citizens and the Constitution.

Trump’s Message is Muslims may be OK if Over there but not Here in America:

The purported assertion now is that President’s Trump’s Executive Order makes America or Americans safer; however it is offered without any evidence beyond stereotypes, and never reviewed for potentially having the opposite adverse affect on America’s security, beyond the Constitutional inconsistencies. The “extreme vetting” that Trump offered as a policy is already in place and being modified by the duly empowered US Federal employees to apply as they see fit, even when overreaching as in the case of Muhammad Ali, (who is X Generation US born and has nothing to do with the seven, now six, countries presumably targeted by the Order.)  Security was not Candidate Trump’s goal but signaling his base that he will seek to treat Muslims as outsiders to America, was and still is his motive, (Trump is still Candidate even now as by his own assertion he is running for 2020 reelection.)  Trump may not have projected a problem with Muslims during his visit to Saudi Arabia; but then that is the point for him, they are over there and not over here, and better yet — some may be buying iPhones or weapons from the US.

Muslim-Americans may Feel Greater Identification with Values of America’s Founding Fathers:

Well, I am here in the US, and consciously have opted to live by the values espoused by America’s Founding Fathers. Some to most Muslim Americans see the values of free choice, open society and democracy as being the most compatible manifestation of man-made laws/institutions and the God that we understand. It is a false choice that some seek to impose, Muslim or American, but not both. This false choice is actively being advanced by ISIS but also by the alt-right and “Christian extremists.” Further, in the US it is not just being forced upon Muslim Americans but also any that do not adopt their notion of Christianity, whether LGBTQ, atheist, agnostic or member of any religious group not sanctioned by their narrative that America was established as a Christian nation, and further of certain theology with manifest destiny to rule over others. Despite the manifest historical flaw in their narrative, they intend to impose a religious as well as racial, ethnic, social test/order upon the US (America’s Founding Fathers individually may or may not have been believers in a Talmudic/Koranic God, but as an institution they strove to establish a state independent of religious orientation.)  Regardless of Trump’s personal character and religious observance, the extreme right and Trump have found themselves in a symbiotic relationship by fusing an agenda that not only is exclusionary but undermines America’s secular character and obfuscates its history. Note that President Trump severed decades habit of US Presidents wishing Muslim Americans goodwill on observance of their holiday(s) as if Muslims are only present at the United Nations, or overseas but not here, in the millions as US citizens including serving in the US Armed Forces.

The harm done to me goes beyond stigmatization as it diminishes my standing as citizens in the eyes of some including Trump and his cadre. Hate crimes have risen. It is for now more difficult to document the overt or implicit discrimination. Muslims may be left out of the national dialogue, from national political priorities to highlighting shared values in the service of our common society. Some of those who feel diminished may tune out or even turn to extremism, and that actually may be the scheme of Trump and his cadre. However, I take courage of the many more who stand against Trump and his allies on stigmatization. There is no ever greater need and opportunity to evidence the true patriotism of Muslim Americans, all Americans and solidarity among neighbors.

All Americans Lose and Endangered by Trump’s Rhetoric/Action:

It is not only as one of possible Muslim identity that I’m diminished but as an American in general. The global view of Trump, according to the Pew Research Center Poll just released, places his favorability well below that of the leaders of western democracy allies but also below that of despotic leaders as President Xi of China or President Putin of Russia. This sharp turn toward unfavorability casts over Americans as a whole. It is beyond the stereotypes of the “ugly American” but now questioned as to our sincerity in belief and commitment to a diverse and open society. The risk is not only of being branded as hypocrite but of being targeted even more purposefully by a hater or terror group beyond US borders as well as within. If anything, the “Muslim”-American is even more likely to be targeted than any other citizen as to seek to impose the choice on all in America that we must choose one or the other, at the potential cost of our life. As well documented, ISIS has been even more thorough and brutal to Muslims it considers to be a challenge to its narrative or authority.

Relevant Constitutional Evaluation is not how “Foreigners” impacted but how Trump’s Stigmatization Affects Americans, Muslim or Otherwise:
onehumanfamilystickerOne Human Family – Cool Key West bumper sticker, coolkeywest.com

Muslims as academics, experts, students, tourists or refugees more than ever need to see the true diverse, open, accepting character of American society beyond what is now darkened in the age of Trump.  It does not matter whether such “Muslims” have some “Credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or institution in the United States.” This criteria at least temporarily applied by the US Supreme Court ignores the most relevant test to me as an American: Whether by choice, name or simply some coincidental and even superficial label I, Muhamed Sacirbey, have a link to those persons from those six countries because their potential prohibition from entering the US as “potential dangers” or not “belonging in America” stigmatizes me as an American citizen, and such is only accentuated by Trump’s bigoted rhetoric whether interacting with my fellow Americans or the institutions of the United States.


About the Author

Muhamed Sacirbey
Muhamed Sacirbey
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey currently lectures on Digital-Diplomacy. "Mo" has benefited from a diverse career in investment banking & diplomacy, but his passion has been the new avenues of communication. He was Bosnia & Herzegovina's first Ambassador to the United Nations, Agent to the International Court of Justice, Foreign Minister & Signatory of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. He also played American football opting for a scholarship to Tulane University in New Orleans after being admitted to Harvard, oh well!!
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