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Trump's Statements about Muslims are a Gift to ISIS

Trump's Statements about Muslims are a Gift to ISIS

Commentary

3 min read

Ed Husain Senior Advisor

Posted on: 23rd March 2016

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. But after Piers Morgan's gushing admiration for Trump's ideas on combating terrorism there is an urgent need to show people why these "ideas" are a gift to ISIS (and not forgetting al-Qaeda).

After the attacks in Brussels, Trump claimed that Muslims are not reporting, "absolutely not reporting" the radicals in our midst to the authorities. Such is the ignorance from a man aiming for the US presidency. Where do I begin?

On a very basic level, extremists murder Muslims en masse. ISIS and others don't see them as proper Muslims, but apostates. By letting their actions define Islam, Trump and others prove their point.

Trump should also visit the headquarters of Britain's intelligence services MI5 and MI6 or the Home Office. Those on the frontline of tracking down extremists are often Muslims.

Prayer rooms in both places are evidence of pious, observant European Muslims taking the fight to our enemies. Ask the CIA or FBI and they will confirm that their best resources are Muslims inside the organisations, and communities who hand over culprits.

Remember the underpants bomber at Christmas 2009? It was his own father that reported his son to the US Embassy in Nigeria. He is not alone – many, many family members are vigilant of their children and in the UK, work with the government to de-radicalise their children.

How quickly Trump and his sympathisers forget the Muslim police officer killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, Ahmed Merabet, while he was patrolling the streets of Paris. And what of the Muslim shop assistant, Lassana Bathily, in a kosher store who hid people in a switched-off refrigerator to stop them being killed by jihadis?

He was awarded a medal and citizenship by France amid global headlines.

Across the world, it is the intelligence from Muslim governments that helps prevent hundreds of terror plots. It is the reporting from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tunisia and other countries that save lives. They don't assist the West for recognition and respect, but do so because ISIS and jihadis threaten Islam and Muslims. Jordan's fight against Salafi-jihadis led to the honourable pilot, Moaz al-Kasaesbeh being burnt alive in an ISIS video.

Just in the month of February alone, jihadi fighters caused at least 1,372 deaths in 19 countries. The vast majority of these countries and victims were Muslims in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Lebanon. This is a global ideology with an international reach, but Trump does not understand their grievances, worldwide networks, or the theology of terrorists.

When ISIS first became an international concern, some of the world's most prominent Muslim leaders, including some prominent American scholars, published an open letter to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, refuting the militant group's religious claims.

The letter offers a step-by-step critique, steeped in Islamic scriptures, to Isil's actions and beliefs. Combating the cancer of ISIS and broader Salafi-jihadism is not a career choice or a soundbite, but a religious duty for mainstream Muslims.

Trump's failure to grasp that impetus within Islam is a perilous weakness.

Logically, strategically, and ethically we are on stronger ground when we realise that the top allies against Islamist extremism are mainstream Muslims. This should be the starting point. We all stand to gain if we leverage the mass of 1.6 billion Muslims, rather than brand them all as complicit.

This article first appeared at The Daily Telegraph.

To Defeat ISIS We Must Decimate Their Theological Appeal

Counter-extremism

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