The leading candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination – at least for now – has done it again.
He has taken a growing concern of the American people, not adequately met by the Obama Administration, and blown it into a bombastic slogan which benefits no one but the most vociferous of Donald Trump’s supporters.
The Donald is absolutely correct in suggesting that there could well be a security problem of admitting more Syrian refugees and economic migrants from other Mideast and South Asian countries. There is already enough serious reporting of the efforts of Daesh [or ISIl or ISIS] and other Islamic terrorist groups to infiltrate the flow of migrants reaching Europe and welcomed by Pres. Obama. It is also clear, from the horrendous event at San Benardino that the U.S. government and local police do not have an adequate vetting procedure for sorting out who is who. A point, again, well taken by Trump in his fiery statement.
But by taking the issue and turning it into another stadium rousing shouting match, Trump has done two things: he has made it more difficult to examine an exceedingly complex problem with serious and quiet undertaking. And he has given those who argue that any effort to examine the Islamic origins and connections of the current world terrorist threat is “Islamophobia”.
Some have argued that it is unfair to the great mass of the estimated less than thee million American Muslims and their coreligionists throughout the world to even examine the relationship despite the fact that the terrorists claim their allegiance to the faith. Perhaps even worse, Trumps’ blast – backed by repeated warnings of spokesmen for the Obama Administration against any evidence to the contrary – has exaggerated the possibility of a backlash against our innocent Moslem population. And, again, that contributes to the inability to examine the origins of the terrorists and their motivations.
It’s never going to be easy. But if the growing threat of homegrown and foreign directed and inspired terrorism is going to be met successfully, its origins in Islam are going to have to examined clinically. And the Moslem community, who knows better than any outsider can hope to learn the intimacies of conversion from law-abiding to “radical”, are going to have to be enlisted more successfully in its uprooting.
Trump’s blanket call to eliminate all Moslem immigration into the U.S. is an unlikely gambit at best. Such outright discrimination violates the spirit of the Constitution and many of our laws which insists on no favoritism for any religious concept – although accepting the role of belief in God.
It is valid, as others have argued that our vetting of the immigrants at this moment is not sufficient and successful. And until a more systematic way of looking at migrants, sorting out true refugees from economic migrants and possible terrorist suspects, a “pause” may be necessary. Others said this quietly long before Trump took up his rabblerousing cry. Somehow we are going to have to get back to that very difficult task.
But whatever onus lies with The Donald for demagoging an issue, responsibility certain lies with the Obama Administration spokesmen who have refused to recognize publicly the growing threat to our stability, and have, instead, raised the specter of anti-Moslem prejudice and violence where none has existed since the events of 9/11 and subsequent terrorist episodes involving Moslems.
We are still a long way from the November 2016 polls. The heat of the current exchanges suggest that it is going to be a long and difficult debate, especially after it assumes its next dimension, the struggle between Republican and Democrat nominees. Unfortunately, Obama’s role as president rather than leader of his party, has not always been evident. Perhaps the most important next step is for the President, himself, to lean back and accept his role as moderator and keeper of the public order and drop the role of partisan leader so evident in his most recent speeches and statements. After all, as he has said, he has no more elections to contest.