Eliot Benman
Last updated: 22 January, 2016

What Arabic media says about: Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration

Our 'MENA Newsroom' translator takes a look at the reactions among Arab commentators regarding Trump's controversial statements.

In December of last year, the American contender for nomination as Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, announced that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. Unsurprisingly, this proclamation was met with condemnation from both Western and Arab leaders, as well as media. Most Arab commentators, such as Saalim al-Kaatiby writing in Egyptian daily al-Ahram, responded with calls for interfaith tolerance and warnings that Trump’s statements will play into the hands of terrorists. Ali Hashem, writing for Al-Mayadeen, reacts sardonically to the West’s and Arab world’s condemnations of Trump. Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen is widely considered aligned with Hezbollah and its allies in the region.


‘Free Gifts to Extremist and Terrorist Organizations’

Source: Al-Ahram, Saalim al-Kaatiby


The proclamations and stances hostile to the Islamic religion that have been issued recently from the mouths of Western politicians entails a serious danger in terms of lighting the fuse of strife and conflict between religions, and restoring this atmosphere which is destructive to global security and stability.  Perhaps the most dangerous of what has recently been issued in terms of animosity toward the Islamic religion is what was said by the American presidential candidate Donald Trump. He demanded not allowing Muslims to enter the United States, claiming that Muslims harbor hatred toward Americans, which constitutes a danger to the country. It is a statement that reeks of the repugnant smell of racism, exploiting the atmosphere of fear and worry that controls Americans after the terrorist shooting incident in California.


The statements hostile to the Islamic religion are certainly popularly received by ordinary Americans. A recently conducted opinion poll that included a number of voters in the state of North Carolina indicates that about 72% see that a Muslim should not be allowed to become president, while the opinion of about 40% of respondents is that the Islamic religion should not be legal in America.

One may say that these are the feelings of the American people since the assaults of September 11, 2001 and that the matter grows worse after every terrorist assault in which Muslims are involved. But the truth that should not be denied is that what is necessary in this atmosphere is treating its causes and not inflating it or increasing it with more fuel of animosity or enflaming the situation. Especially since these statements and stances do not align with the interests of the United States, to begin with, and do not serve its goals or strategic interests, let alone destroying the atmosphere of coexistence between religions and civilizations and thus returning the world backwards by decades and centuries, which brings to mind the wars of religion from which humanity has long suffered. Just as these statements and stances serve, naturally, the extremist organization which seizes upon them to propagate and polarize and enlist many in the Islamic world. The matter is not limited to that; rather these statements waste great efforts that were made and are still being made to build a stable foundation for coexistence, centrism, moderation and acceptance of the other in the Arab and Islamic worlds. It is not an exaggeration to say that just one of these provocative statements is enough to torpedo the efforts made over long years to convince the Arab and Muslim youth of the necessity of renouncing the inflammatory, hardline discourse of terrorist organizations.    



‘Donald Trump is Not Alone’

Source: Al-Mayadeen, Ali Hashim


The world was slapped by the proclamations of the American presidential candidate Donald Trump. Or that’s how it appeared to us. There did not remain a president, minister, journalist, prince, or whoever that did not come out lecturing on tolerance and sympathy and the acceptance of the other. For a moment, we thought that we were living in a world different than this one, and that Trump and those like him are from among the “crazies” of politics, strangers to the pluralistic, non-racist culture of this world. For this world does not accept a racist separation wall built to keep a people from their land, and refuses to allow the subjugation of people in the Southern Hemisphere in order to reap huge profits


Really, the comments of the West did not shock me as much as did those issuing from the Arab world, and from personalities for whom it suffices to review four or five articles or comments for us to discover that they store within themselves more racist copies of Donald Trump; and more than that, the American billionaire is acknowledged for his complete sincerity in expressing whatever comes to his mind in terms of ideas, the roots of which we clearly witness in the policies that many Arab states maintain against Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Iraqis


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