Donald Trump and Islamists

An “Islamist” is a Muslim who seeks to impose Islamic (Sharia) law worldwide, including in America. There are Muslims in America who do not want that to happen, yet few of them seek actively to prevent it. I refer here to those who do try, not as “moderate Muslims” — an essentially badly used and hence meaningless term — but as “Muslim reformers.”

On August 15th, Donald Trump delivered an address, generally well-received in conservative circles, on the dangers of Islamist immigration and how he intends to guard against those who intend to have Sharia law imposed and/or to engage in terrorist activities.

Here’s a video of Trump’s address:

The text is available here.

Here’s a video about Trump’s plan:

According to an article at Breitbart titled Donald Trump’s Outreach to Moderate Muslim Leaders Highlights Clinton Failure in Egypt,

In his foreign policy speech on Monday, Donald Trump stated that he would “amplify the voice” of moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, saying, “Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”

He also said that he would work with Egypt, Jordan and Israel in combating radical Islam, saying, “As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.” [Emphasis added.]

He said that, as President, he would establish a “Commission on Radical Islam,” saying, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam – which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us. We want to build bridges and erase divisions.”  [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Under the Obama Administration, US policy has not been friendly towards our Muslim allies such as Egypt. Hillary Clinton recently said in a primary debate with Bernie Sanders that, in Egypt, you basically have an “army dictatorship”.

Egypt is one of the most catastrophic foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. President Obama started his outreach to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood when he delivered his 2009 Cairo speech. The US Embassy invited 10 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend the speech, undermining US ally Mubarak – who had rejected to previous U.S. efforts to reach out to the Brotherhood. [Emphasis added.]


Islamism is a totalitarian vision to impose Sharia law worldwide:

Unfortunately, Obama’s “countering violent extremism” farce has chosen to ignore, if not to encourage and even adopt, Sharia law and its consequences:

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is a Muslim reformer of the type Trump hopes to recruit for his efforts. A video of an interview with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, an American Muslim of Syrian descent and a proponent of an Islamic reformation, is provided below. However, first it will be useful to understand the goals of Dr. Jasser and his His organization, American Islamic Forum for Democracy:

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy’s (AIFD) mission is to advocate for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state.

AIFD is the most prominent American Muslim organization directly confronting the ideologies of political Islam and openly countering the common belief that the Muslim faith is inextricably rooted to the concept of the Islamic State (Islamism). Founded by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, AIFD looks to build the future of Islam through the concepts of liberty and freedom.

AIFD’s mission is derived from a love for America and a love of our faith of Islam. Dr. Jasser and the board of AIFD believe that Muslims can better practice Islam in an environment that protects the rights of an individual to practice their faith as they choose. The theocratic “Islamic” regimes of the Middle East and some Muslim majority nations use Islam as a way to control Muslim populations, not to glorify God as they portend. The purest practice of Islam is one in which Muslims have complete freedom to accept or reject any of the tenants or laws of the faith no different than we enjoy as Americans in this Constitutional republic.

AIFD believes that the root cause of Islamist terrorism is the ideology of political Islam and a belief in the preference for and supremacy of the Islamic state. Terrorism is but a means to that end. Most Islamist terror is driven by the desire of Islamists to drive the influence of the west (the ideas of liberty) out of the Muslim consciousness and Muslim majority societies. The underlying philosophy of Islamism is what western society should fear most. With almost a quarter of the world’s population Muslim, American security will never come without an understanding and winning out of the ideas of liberty by Muslims and an understanding of the harm of political Islam by non-Muslims.

AIFD seeks to build and establish an institution that can provide an ideological infrastructure for the ideas of liberty and freedom to Muslims and our future generations. We seek to give Muslims a powerful intellectual alternative to political Islam (Islamism) ultimately seeking the defeat of political Islam as a theo-political ideology.

Some readers will likely think that Dr. Jasser’s efforts to reform Islam would, in the unlikely event that they prove successful, create something that is not Islam. I disagree. Mohamed (and hence Islam) changed quite radically when he was driven out of Mecca and settled in Medina, where he became a warlord. In Mecca, he had been relatively peaceful and tolerant of other religions. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali states here,

In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s messenger.

After 10 years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith if they submitted to paying a special tax.) [Emphasis added.]

No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.

The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.

I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it. [Emphasis added.]

It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians “pigs and monkeys.” It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.

The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta. [Emphasis added.]

Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.

Trapped between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing) enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.

It is my hope to engage this second group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I recognize that these Muslims are not likely to heed a call for doctrinal reformation from someone they regard as an apostate and infidel. But they may reconsider if I can persuade them to think of me not as an apostate but as a heretic: one of a growing number of people born into Islam who have sought to think critically about the faith we were raised in. It is with this third group—only a few of whom have left Islam altogether—that I would now identify myself. [Emphasis added.]

These are the Muslim dissidents. A few of us have been forced by experience to conclude that we could not continue to be believers; yet we remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. The majority of dissidents are reforming believers—among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.

How many Muslims belong to each group? Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that only 3% of the world’s Muslims understand Islam in the militant terms I associate with Muhammad’s time in Medina. But out of well over 1.6 billion believers, or 23% of the globe’s population, that 48 million seems to be more than enough. (I would put the number significantly higher, based on survey data on attitudes toward Shariah in Muslim countries.)

In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world’s attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.

The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself. [Emphasis added.]

For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change. [Emphasis added.]

Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West. [Emphasis added.]

Is Dr. Jasser a Mecca Muslim, who wants Islam to revert to the religion as practiced in Mecca? So it seems to me, and that is by no means what the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) wants. It has labeled Dr. Jasser and his organization “Islamophobic:”

In 2013, CAIR published a major report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims. The Islamophobia report isavailable on Kindle.

Jasser was featured in that report as an enabler of anti-Muslim bigotry. The report noted that Jasser heads a group that “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s state Constitution that would have implemented state-sponsored discrimination against Islam.

Jasser also narrated “The Third Jihad,” a propaganda film created by the Clarion Fund, which depicts Muslims as inherently violent and seeking world domination. Following revelations that the film was shown as part of training at the New York Police Department, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it “wacky” and “objectionable.”

Here is the “propaganda film” referred to by CAIR:

Finally, here is Dr. Jasser’s video about Trump’s plan to evaluate the ideological views of Muslims who attempt to enter the United States with a view to keeping out those who favor Sharia law, terrorism and the Islamisation of America. Dr. Jasser favors it and also offers good advice.

If, as seems likely, President Trump replaces the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-linked organizations such as CAIR with non-Islamist, Muslim reform organizations such Dr. Jasser’s, the focus will shift from the Department of Homeland Security’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program of demonizing “Islamophobia” to excluding Islamists from American and preventing their domestic terror activities as well as defeating their efforts directed to the Islamisation of America and the imposition of Sharia law.

Dr. Jasser and his reformist colleagues have not been shy about how they view Islam and how they want it to change. As Hirsi Ali noted in the article quoted above,

[T]hose under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.

I submit that it up to us, not to reject them on the notion that all Muslims are dangerous, but to accept them — as Donald Trump appears to have done — and to work with them in their efforts to change not only Islam but how it functions in America.

About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
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8 Responses to Donald Trump and Islamists

  1. Pingback: “Moderate” Muslims? No thank you |

  2. Pingback: “Moderate” Muslims? No thank you | danmillerinpanama

  3. Tom Carter says:

    I applaud any effort or policy directed at keeping radical Islamists out of the U.S. or forcefully controlling those who are already here. But I think it’s largely impossible. There are too many of them, and they’re spreading too rapidly.

    • True, there are many of them in America and more are on the way, thanks largely to Obama. The options seem to be either surrendering or starting to do something productive early next year. Clinton won’t do anything productive and will continue or exacerbate the problem. That leaves Trump and, with the help of Islamic reformers such as Dr. Jasser, I think he has a decent chance.

      • Tom Carter says:

        The term “do something productive” bothers me a bit. I’m not a social justice warrior or a pc fool, but the potential for extra-constitutional actions is all too obvious. For example, denying immigration to certain people (or everyone) is perfectly constitutional. Muslims already in the U.S., particularly U.S. citizens and those admitted for permanent residence, are another matter entirely. Let’s not forget Martin Niemöller’s “First they came….”

        • What basis is there for assuming that, as President, Trump will behave unconstitutionally? Should we assume that Trump will because Obama does? Because Hillary would, so would Trump? What other bases might there be?

          Trump is, I think, far less likely to behave unconstitutionally than Obama has been and than Hillary would be. Despite His unconstitutional actions, Obama has never faced a realistic threat of impeachment. Hillary wouldn’t either.

          As President, Trump seems likely to have a small majority in the House; many in that small majority will not be fond of Trump. His situation in the Senate may well be worse. Were he to do something perceived as unconstitutional, the House might very well vote a bill of impeachment. The Senate would likely then vote to have a trial with the Chief Justice presiding.

          Trump is not stupid, and neither are those who advise him. They know that if he steps out of line, he will be, at best, a lame duck President. Even if he wanted to do something unconstitutional, that would be sufficient to dissuade him.

          Here’s a link to an interesting article about the perils of marrying one’s mother-in-law.

          • Tom Carter says:

            I agree. Seems to me, though, that things have gotten pretty bad when we have to say that one candidate is preferable to the incumbent or another candidate because he is more likely to be impeached when he does something unconstitutional. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

            I’ve pretty much made my decision. I’m voting in November, but not for a presidential candidate. I’ll just focus on the state and local scoundrels.

  4. It’s dangerous to perpetuate the myth of moderate Islam.

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