President Trump is angry about the media characterizing his executive order on immigration as a “Muslim ban,” and he is right to criticize any network or newspaper that uses that term to describe it. Some of the most populated Muslim countries in the world are absent from the list. And the list itself has its origins in legislation passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama. To call it a Muslim ban is irresponsible and biased.
At the same time, it is clear that Muslims in America and around the world have finally reached a fork in the road. The Trump administration has already signaled that the immigration ban could easily be expanded to include countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a true ban on Muslims specifically, there’s no way to separate Islamic terrorism from the actions being taken by the president. That’s what all of this is about: Keeping radical Islamists out of the country. If that’s controversial, then that’s just too bad.
For the last year and a half, we’ve heard Obama and the Democrats tell us that we can’t turn our backs on Islam. We’ve been told that we need to reach out to moderate Muslims because we will need their support to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. Well, “non-religious extremism,” or whatever silly term Obama was using that week to make it sound like the ISLAMIC State was unaffiliated and unconnected to ISLAM.
And yet, where is this mysterious support? The only time we hear from CAIR and other Muslim groups is when they come out to the microphone after a terrorist attack. And what do they say? Do they say they will redouble their efforts to weed out this kind of radicalism within the religion? Hell, no. We hear lectures on Islamophobia. We hear warnings about gun control. We hear about gay rights and workplace disagreements and right-wing militias.
It may be true that our enemies do not include the billions of Muslims who practice their faith in peace, but it’s time for religious leaders within Islam to step up to the plate. It is not up to Donald Trump to convince Americans to fall in love with Islam. It’s up to Muslim representatives to reform Islam so that it does not inspire radical young men and women to kill in the name of Allah.
If they fail in this mission – as they have failed in the years since 9/11 – then perhaps there is no legitimate place in America for fundamentalist Islam. When the doors shut, Muslims will only have themselves to blame.