Column - How Trump's politics affect us

FOR all intents and purposes, President Donald Trump sees every Muslim as an extremist or a potential terrorist and a security threat to the US.

This is despite the fact that many Muslims have fought and died for America and have also contributed much to the US economy. There are many more non-Muslim extremists and terrorists in the US and the West. Why was Trump silent when a white supremacist committed a gross act of terror on a Quebec mosque on Jan 29?

Not long ago in America, when racism was prevalent, many white people saw every black man as a rapist, mugger and violent criminal. The black movement in the US led by people such as Martin Luther King and the global anti-apartheid movement inspired by the late and legendary Nelson Mandela, provided the "equalisers" needed to counter racial injustices and bigotry, and made many people realise that it was wrong and dishonest to stereotype black people with negative traits.

With the election of Barack Obama as president in Nov 2008, social values seemed to have changed for the better with bigotry coming under attack and on the defensive, until Trump came along in 2016. He targeted another minority group (Muslims) as both the scapegoat and bogeyman for the social ills of the US.
My last piece about Donald Trump (entitled "Why should we all die for one man?") provoked different kinds of responses from local and overseas readers.
While some supported my analysis in portraying Trump to be similar to Adolf Hitler in certain (but not all) ways, like Trump singling out the Muslims and Hitler singled out the Jews, there seems to be some sympathy for Trump and to some degree, latent support for Islamophobia as well.

Most of the support for Trump is based on the following arguments.

He has just taken over the presidency of the US, so we should give him a chance to perform and deliver on his promises. This is not a problem, since it is what he is doing that is more important.

Trump is doing exactly what he has promised, so what's the problem?

Being democratically elected to be the US president is not a carte blanche to do things, which may be unconstitutional or unjust or oppressive. Adolf Hitler was elected in 1933 as chancellor of Germany on his fascist and anti-Jews platform and he actually did what he promised – by exterminating 6 million Jews. So is this right?

Some may argue that what Trump is doing is how democracy should work but this is an abuse of democracy to commit injustices. Democracy is more a means to an end and in a true democracy, there must be checks and balances (such as having an independent judiciary and free press and allowing peaceful protests) against tyranny and the oppression of minorities.

Before I continue, I wish to state that I am not an apologist for Islamic extremism and terrorism. I have written many articles in the past on how to deal resolutely with the likes of IS with military force, psychological warfare and education.

Trump's executive order to bar the entry of Muslims from seven Muslim-majority countries (the US had a hand in creating the terrorist problem there) seems to be the most controversial of all his actions so far, which the US public, even his own government and diplomatic personnel, state governments and more than 100 big (mostly tech) companies, are opposed to.
Why are all the popular tech giants – Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, e-Bay, Intel, Uber and the list goes on – filing legal opposition to Trump's immigration order? Because they have many productive, law-abiding, civil-minded and talented Muslim staff who have contributed to their success.
Trump and his aides have not shown how the immigration order on ordinary Muslims (who have been vetted by his consular and intelligence agencies before they can enter the US) can make America safer from terrorist attacks. Not a shred of evidence. The case to support the order is based on half-truths, misinformation and so-called "alternative facts", a new term for lies coined by the president's aides.
His disparaging remarks on the "so-called judge" US District Court Judge James Robart, who overturned his order based on a legal suit filed by the state governments of Washington and Minnesota, were unprecedented in US history.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeal would be hearing soon the appeal by the White House to rescind the injunction by Judge Robart. Most analysts now expect the case to go to the US Supreme Court for a final ruling.

Even the president's own Republican allies in Congress are distancing themselves from him. More states in the US are now joining in the legal challenges to the immigrant order.

Trump's immigration order appears to be part of his grand "anti-Muslim global strategy", which included a three-prong offensive against the right of the Palestinians to their homeland and the UN-sponsored peace process via:

his support of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank (which the whole world, including his predecessor Barack Obama, has condemned);

his questioning of a UN-sponsored two-state solution (which all his predecessors supported after the Palestinians agreed to a compromise for the sake of peace);

his outrageous idea of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump's latest approval rating is 44%, the lowest for any president in US history for the first few weeks.

This is a good sign, which means that the US public is not so easily hoodwinked by his fanciful slogans.

Trump's immigration order may only apply, for a start, to seven Muslim-majority countries. But if he gets his way, he is expected to extend the ban to cover all other Muslim-majority countries including Malaysia and if that happens, even non-Muslim Malaysians would be barred from entering the US.

Many Malaysians seem to think that Trump's actions so far would not affect our country. There is also a sense of complacency among the non-Muslims that Trump's policies would not impact them.

Extremist Muslims in Malaysia and elsewhere are doing exactly what Trump wants to achieve for his "self-fulfilling prophecy", that every Muslim is a fanatic.
Trump's unjust orders, if not checked, would create a world that is weak, divided and easier to exploit and bully. He is driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims.

If Trump finishes off (unchecked) with destroying the Muslim community, he would then target other ethnic and political groups, just like what Hitler did after he exterminated as many Jews as he could under his control.

The writer is a global political analyst who believes that Trump may not last a full term. Comment: kktan@thesundaily.com