When Walls Trump Bridges

tashfeen and hubbyIt always comes back to Bernard Lewis. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the mainstream media gave Lewis, who turns 101 years old on May 31, a brief window of opportunity to explain the root causes of Islamic revivalism. In 2003, What Went Wrong? topped the New York Times’ list of best-selling paperbacks and The Crisis of Islam performed the same feat in the hardback category. The PC police, confused and dismayed by the horror of September 11, had permitted – even encouraged – consenting adults to discuss the connection between Islam and radical Islamic terrorism. But it was not for long.

Our gatekeepers soon regained their composure and today America, and the West in general, is paying the price, a case in point being the outcry in response to President Trump’s attempt at gatekeeping: Executive Order (EO) 13769 or “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists Entry into the United Stations”.

There are, to be sure, reasons to fault the White House’s EO banning entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Yemen for 90 days and refugees for four months. Many – though not all – Iraqi Kurds, Iranian exiles and Syrian Christians are pro-secular democracy and would prove loyal citizens of the United States, or Australia for that matter. Ed Yong, writing for The Atlantic, makes a convincing case that prohibiting Iranian scientists from obtaining residency is detrimental to the interests of the United States. He adds the salient point that Iranian immigrants, who are for the most part Shia, are not generally prone to Islamic radicalism, let alone acts of terrorism.

Others from the nominated seven countries, Sunni Muslim or otherwise, would relish the opportunity to be patriotic Americans. Conversely, émigrés from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan might be more likely – statistically – to engage in acts of domestic terrorism, despite the two countries being omitted from the Trump’s travel-restriction policy. Take, as an instance, the December 2, 2015, San Bernardino massacre. Syed Farook was an American-born citizen of Pakistani descent while his terrorist wife, Tashfeen Malik, was a Pakistani-born lawful resident of the United States. Fifteen of the nineteen September 11 terrorists were Saudi, the rest from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. We might also note that Saudi money, particularly since 1979, has funded the radicalisation/Salafi-style transformation of mosques from Djakarta to, well, San Bernardino.

There is, additionally, the issue of the executive order’s scope and reach being too broad. Even Ken Klukowski, senior legal editor for the pro-Trump Breitbart News, has implicitly acknowledged that EO 13769 contains “legally problematic provisions”, such as the entry ban on those with passports from one of the seven proscribed countries who are also green-card holders and, therefore, lawful permanent residents. Although procedural modifications were soon put in place to circumvent the problem, over the first weekend 109 legitimate travellers were detained and held for questioning. When President Trump emphasised the smallness of the number, given the 325,000 arrivals, the mainstream media mostly ignored his comment or took umbrage. Evan Urquhart, writing for Slate, maintained that injustice is injustice even if only a few are inconvenienced: “When something is unfair and indefensible, the last resort of scoundrels is to downplay the number of people who have been unjustly treated.”

Urquhart’s plaintive cry brings us closer to the real reason people oppose EO 13769. It has less to do with  practical and technical considerations than ideology. There might – or might not – be merit in the temporary restraining order (TRO) slapped on Trump’s executive order by Judge James Robart. The same could be said about the Ninth Circuit’s denying an emergency motion by the Justice Department to stay Judge Robart’s TRO. For the anti-Trump brigade, at least, President Trump’s “Muslim ban” had been overturned.

Only it’s not entirely accurate. The TRO asserts that because candidate Trump spoke of restricting Muslim immigration it necessarily follows EO 13769 is a case of religious discrimination disguised as national security. But the Ninth Circuit was undecided about the religious discriminatory nature of President Trump’s Executive Order: “…we reserve consideration of these claims until the merits of this appeal have been fully briefed.” The Ninth Circuit’s judgement, in the final analysis, was based on public interest: although “the public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies”, the public also has an interest “in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom of discrimination”.

The paradox, of course, is that EO 13769 was devised by the likes of Rudy Giuliani to ensure that Trump’s immigration restrictions were not discriminatory, at least on grounds of religion. In 2016, Giuliani criticised the following type of blunt statement by Donald Trump in the earlier phase of his campaign: “I would close up borders to people until we figure out what’s going on…We don’t learn…The whole thing gets worse as time goes by.” Giuliani and team got it at least partly right, since the Ninth Circuit sidestepped the subject of religious discrimination.

The Trump Seven, then, signified an attempt to go beyond a “Muslim ban”. After all, the seven designated countries also happen to be the very same ones named in Barack Obama’s visa restriction program, signed into law by the 44th president in December, 2015. Whatever the shortfalls of the list, it certainly made sense to the Obama administration. Terrorism has a foothold in all these countries (state terrorism in the case of Iran) and no central governmental authority can be trusted or has the capacity to identify potential threats to America. Many people – including, possibly, the three-judge panel representing the Ninth Circuit – have minimised the threat from these countries. Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner has identified 72 convicted terrorists emanating from Somalia (20), Yemen (19) Iraq (7), Syria (7) Iran (4) and Libya (2). Somalians, especially, figured prominently in recent terrorist attacks.

Even Trump’s campaign rhetoric was more nuanced than his critics allowed. He talked of temporary restrictions – a feature of EO 13769 – that would end once “the experts” came up with an explanation for radical Islamic terrorism. And who can deny the Obama administration failed to “figure out what was going on” or that “the whole thing gets worse as time goes by”? The best Barack Obama could do was disregard – at least in public – the evidence that apocalyptic millennialist sentiment plays a powerful role in Islamic terrorism (or “violent extremism”) and that the causal agent of religious fervour is not economics but – yes – religion. Robert G. Rabil, author of Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism (2014), encapsulates what America and the West are up against as well as anyone: “It is a war against a triumphant religious ideology that cloaks itself in the sanctity of the sacred and the history of ‘authentic’ Islam as applied by the first four rightly guided caliphs.”

EO 13769, in its own imperfect way, was an attempt to address the challenge of radical Islam – if critics from both the Right and the Left will pardon the expression – without targeting Muslims per se. The PC brigade will, of course, scorn any such notion. Today the American Left and so-called civil libertarians march arm-in-arm with Muslim Brotherhood organisations calling for open borders and the impeachment (or worse) of President Trump. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has tweeted her approval: “I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.”

Unsurprisingly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claims EO 13769 is not based on national security but on religious discrimination and is, therefore, unconstitutional. This happens to be the same Muslim Brotherhood organisation that demanded President-elect Trump ban Franklin Graham from the Inauguration prayers because “Reverend Grahams’ ill-informed and extremist views are incompatible with American values of religious liberty and inclusion.” CAIR is a radical Islamic outfit keen to defeat the American values of religious liberty and inclusion by using them against the host nation. While CAIR pursues civilisational jihad, the Islamic State does violent jihad, together performing what amounts to a good cop/bad cop routine. Their tactics are different but the goal is the same – the submission of the West. Some 12% of American Muslims, according to a Gallup poll, identify with CAIR. The fox is in the hen house, and still the cry goes up from the modern-day Left: “Defend the stranger!”

Maybe, if some lefties took the time to catch up on Bernard Lewis’ What Went Wrong? and The Crisis of Islam, they might begin to appreciate the challenge we face. Were Hillary Clinton to read Rabil’s Salafism in Lebanon, she would learn that the activist Salafism of Huma Abedin’s family is a close relative of Saudi Wahhabism (quietist Salafism) and, going in the other direction, a not-so-distant relative of the Salafi-Jihadism of the Islamic State. Clinton might even conclude that in an open society like America bridges are fine things but in times of peril so are walls. Who knows, she may decide to endorse the proposal to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood or even support any new Executive Order needed to replace EO 13769.

Daryl McCann blogs at darylmccann.blogspot.com.au/

22 thoughts on “When Walls Trump Bridges

  • lloveday says:

    “Djakarta”! There’s a blast from the past.
    In 1972 Indonesia adopted a new spelling system, Ejaan yang Disempurnakan (translated word-for-word into English: Spelling which is Perfected), and, inter alia, dj became j, hence the capital has been “Jakarta” for the past 45 years.

  • denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

    Jennifer Oriel wrote in today’s AUSTRALIAN how Menzies, Howard and Abbott defended Australia against its greatest enemies: socialists, communists and Islamists. I would have simplified her terminology in that our great enemies should all be termed as ‘totalitarian’. Socialists are by nature, totalitarian, it doesn’t matter if they term themselves as communists or Nazis or ‘environmentalists’ or any new buzz word, they all eventually wind up at the same place, only the speed varies. That is why the left tolerate/love Islam. Islam is merely the most extreme religious version of totalitarianism’s many variations. 
    The only true alternative to totalitarianism is freedom/capitalism, not conservatism, conservatism merely preserves what freedoms we have managed to retain. Trump is not a conservative, but neither could he be called a true advocate of capitalism/free-markets. My greatest joy at Trump’s election win is to watch the Trump derangement syndrome causing ABC types and much of the MSM go into meltdown. And he will do less harm to western values than any of hos opponents.

  • ian.macdougall says:

    “The only true alternative to totalitarianism is freedom/capitalism….”
    I would say that the true alternative to totalitarianism is liberalism, from which liberal capitalism follows.
    Norman Mailer maintained towards the end of his life that the default state of human society was fascism. I would say not fascism but feudalism: a society built around inherited wealth, where wealth distribution tends increasingly to be lopsided and skewed.
    Which can have consequences.

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    Ultimately, unless Islam is banned outright in the non-islamic world, irrespective of its myriad variations, it will dominate the world. Once that comes about, all other religions will be banned. These are not suppositions, they are clearly spelt out in the doctrines of Islam, the Koran. It is bitterly ironic that westerners ardently defend “religious freedom” in support of the only “religion” that openly advocates the violent extirpation of all other religions. Bewildering stupidity!

    • gardner.peter.d says:

      Indeed. Western concepts and laws of religious freedom were developed without much regard to Islam, which now is the enemy of all other religions and Western civilisation. There is a sense in which enforcing the laws of the West should be enough to curtail the more malevolent principles of Islam. If judges were so minded, most if not all, of what is revolting about Islam to true liberals in the West, would be punished when resulting in actions. Furthermore, given the nature of many sexual crimes committed by Muslims against whites in particular, many should be treated as hate crimes and sentences increased accordingly. Is the law really biased in favour of Muslims, or is it the courts, or is it that Muslims just use or abuse the system more than white Westerners?

  • Jody says:

    What staggers me about the court challenge to Trump’s executive order about muslims from those countries is that, apparently, aliens have constitutional rights in the USA. That’s a scoop!! We Australians would have these too, presumably.

  • Warty says:

    One of the several unfortunate aspects to ‘liberalism’ is that it fosters ‘relativism’, and abhors the idea that one might say that the Western Civilisation has it all over Islam, for instance, or African tribalism (though the left eschews the noun ‘tribe’ as a relic of colonial thinking) can stand proudly alongside the very best the Renaissance can offer. So, I would strongly argue such left wing disdain for the noun ‘tribe’, arises from the claim that every culture is the equal of another, and that civilisation is merely a relative thing).
    Den and Sel (though which of the two has put pen to computerised paper here, I’m not sure) made mention of the wonderful Jennifer Oriel’s article, in today’s The Australian (yesterdays, by the time I’ve finished waffling) and she refers to several conservative writers, including Russell Kirk, who talks of, amongst other virtues, the concept of national humility, which asserts the nation state is vital to the preservation of Western Civilisation, not least because a national identity has been developed, through all the trials and tribulations of millennia. That identity is social, political, historical and spiritual (in no particular order). It is perfect for that particular nation if accepted warts and all and transcends liberalism. The true conservative seeks to maintain such an identity, when globalism would have it destroyed.

    • gardner.peter.d says:

      For all the sophistication of such debates it boils down to a simple rule of thumb: you lot govern yourselves over there as you wish and we’ll do the same here, and so long as you don’t try to impose your ways on us, we will reciprocate and we can be good neighbours and trade in goods, services, ideas, cultures and travel freely in each others lands, provided we respect each other’s ways when visiting, all will be well. Humans are not as sophisticated as we like to think we are.

      The worst offenders against such simple rules are, of course, the modern human rights lot who make allies of other sundry activist groups who, having failed to persuade any law abiding democratically organised government to adopt their views, resort to undermining or by-passing democracy via supra-national bodies, in which regard both the EU and the UN stand out as major facilitators plus an increasing number of extremely wealthy globalist individuals like George Soros.

      We now have senior French politicians offering AGW supporting American scientists asylum in France, Trudeau offering all Muslims refuge in Canada and, in the opposite direction, those like Germany who have foolishly opened their doors to all comers, desperately seeking ways to stem the flow of Muslims inwards and to get rid of those already in their territory. A few, like Hungary are desperately trying to prevent such lunacy being inflicted on their own country by the supra-national anti-democratic and anti-nation state EU.

      Clearly too many people in charge think they are cleverer than they are.

      Those in charge in Sweden seem not to have decided yet whether to chuck out incurably criminal Muslims or to re-educate Swedish women that their proper place is indoors and never to go out unaccompanied by a male relative. I can see it really is a difficult choice for people without a shred of common sense. Too sophisticated for their own good.

    • Jody says:

      Brilliant comments!!

  • brynk says:

    while all th shriekers whip themselves into a vocal lather over “buffoon trump’s latest hamfist”, i can’t shake th thought that he and they’ve just smoked out another few dozen names for ‘th list’

  • Keith Kennelly says:


    it is Sunni Islam where the problem lies. They have no mechanism to alter or interpret the’ ‘book’ or the other scribbling other than in a literal way. Among the many sects of Sunni there is only one sect that does lean away from the literal. All the terrorist or extremist groups come out of Sunni Islam.
    Isn MacDougal of course you do. You are wrong in your unsupported assertion again.
    Liberalism doesn’t work because it adopts to much of the totalalitarian agenda and betrays conservatism, which is the only system that works because it is the only system that doesn’t try to suppress greed. It manages it successfully. The others all undermine capitalism by trying suppress greed.

    We all understandsuppressing anything just causes greater problems in other places.

    Trump will continue with the thrust. He’ll be focused on working out ‘what the hell is going on’. A pause helps that. But he’ll accomplish his aim and then stop terrorist moving to the US. With or without a ban. He’s also honoured one oh his pledges and been stopped by Liberal bureaurcratb

  • Jody says:

    The game’s up!! No use blaming the Left; Trump is shaping up as a disaster. People won’t work for him, he’s railroaded the peace process with Israel/Palestine, lying, in bed with the Russians and now Republican McCain has called out the total ‘dysfunction’.

    Won’t be long now, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Yeah just another 7 years 11 months

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    What odds?

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Really Jody you’ve been wrong about everything so far about Trump because you listened to your educated elite mates in the msm. Remember the Meir disbelief when he won the nomination and their dumbfounded looks after he was elected President.

    It is them you are listening too again. Hahahaha

    And McCain (Who hates Trump) as an authority? Hahahaha

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