[Vision2020] American Muslim Response to Trump's Speech in Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Sun May 21 12:59:51 PDT 2017

In his response to President Trump's speech, *Council on American-Islamic
Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad* said:

"While President Trump's address today in Saudi Arabia appears to be an
attempt to set a new and more productive tone in relations with the Muslim
world, one speech cannot outweigh years of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy
proposals - including an attempt to enact a Muslim ban by executive order,
which his administration continues to defend in court.

"We welcome President Trump's recognition of Islam as 'one of the world's
great faiths,' but that recognition does not wipe out years of
well-documented anti-Islam animus. The president should also recognize the
contributions American Muslims make – and have made for generations - to
the betterment of our nation.

"New policies and concrete actions - not mere rhetoric - are what is needed
to reset relations with the Muslim world.

"Such concrete actions should include condemning Islamophobia, protecting
the civil rights of American Muslims and other minority groups, achieving
just and comprehensive resolutions to the various Middle East conflicts,
ending religious and ethnic profiling at borders and in airports, ending
support for dictators whose oppression foments extremism and violence, and
supporting mainstream Muslims who peacefully pursue social, economic and
political progress around the world.

"President Trump should instruct his representatives to stop legal efforts
aimed at reinstating his 'Muslim ban' executive order and should remove
anti-Islam advisers like Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon from his team. He
should also appoint a recognized American Muslim representative to lead his
outreach to other Muslims.

"American Muslims share the goals of stamping out violent extremism,
protecting minorities targeted by hate and providing a more hopeful future
for children of all faiths and backgrounds. That has never been in doubt.

"We also share the belief that the struggle to end violent extremism is not
a battle between faiths or civilizations. But when a faith or civilization
is viewed exclusively through the lens of violence and extremism, that
singular perspective creates distortions that inevitably lead to policies
that have the opposite of the desired effect.

"Muslims in America and around the world have consistently condemned
violent extremism and Muslim military personnel of many nations - including
our own - are on the ground fighting those who carry out acts of violence.
Muslims die daily fighting ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terror groups.

"ISIS has called for American Muslim leaders to be assassinated after they
deconstructed that group's anti-Islamic actions. We are still waiting for
President Trump to acknowledge that reality or to acknowledge and repudiate
the growing Islamophobia in America for which he and his supporters must
assume a large degree of responsibility.

"We note the evolution of President Trump's terminology away from 'radical
Islamic terrorism' - which Muslims and nonpartisan policy-makers view as
offensive and counterproductive - to the use of the term 'Islamist.' [NOTE:
President Trump did refer to 'Islamic extremism' and 'Islamic terror' in
today's speech.]

"While the shift in terminology seems to be a laudable attempt to delink
the faith of Islam from terrorism, the use of the ill-defined term
'Islamist' will only serve to perpetuate that false linkage.

"Unfortunately, 'Islamist' is often used to describe both those engaged in
acts of terrorism and those seeking peaceful social and political
participation based on mainstream Islamic values and principles.

"Without actually defining the term or outlining what criteria are used
when applying that label to individuals, groups or nations, the linkage of
the term 'Islamist' to violence and extremism unjustifiably associates all
of Islam to the anti-Islamic acts of a tiny minority of extremists. Many
American Muslims are motivated by their faith to engage in making an
American democracy that works for everyone.

"The American Muslim community stands ready - as it always has - to counter
the poisonous views and violent actions of anyone who would violate the
principles of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him) by committing acts of terrorism or espousing religious extremism.

"As God says in the Quran: 'And thus have We willed you to be a community
of the middle way, so that (with your lives) you might bear witness to the
truth before all humankind.'" (The Holy Quran, 2:143)


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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