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How Islamophobes and “Alternative Facts” Shaped Trump’s Muslim Ban

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by Eli Clifton

The White House’s temporary ban on visitors from seven Muslim majority countries threw the Trump administration into its first constitutional conflict over the weekend when multiple federal judges blocked parts of the executive order. Media attention has justifiably focused on the legal proceedings underway to release travelers from detainment at airports across the country and prevent deportations. But it’s worth reexamining the deeply flawed and unscientific polling that inspired Trump’s targeting of Muslim travelers.

The roots of Trump’s Muslim ban go back to his embrace of non-existent Pew Research data and an unscientific poll undertaken by one of his top advisors (who claims that she disseminates “alternative facts”) and commissioned by a renowned anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist with close ties to Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

Yesterday, apparently in response to protests across the U.S., Trump issued a statement claiming that his executive order was misinterpreted as a ban on Muslims entering the country. He said:

To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion—this is about terror and keeping our country safe.

But Trump explicitly called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” back on December 7, 2015.

In that statement, Trump cited polling by Pew Research and the Center for Security Policy to back up his statement that “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”

Trump didn’t link to a specific Pew Research poll but none of their polls appears to support that conclusion.

Pew’s 2011 report on Muslim Americans concluded there are “no signs of growth in alienation or support for extremism” and found that only 21% of Muslim Americans say there is either a “great deal” (6%), or a “fair amount” (15%) of support for extremism in their communities.

The study also found that Muslim Americans were by and large happy with their lives in the U.S. The authors concluded:

[…] Muslim Americans have not become disillusioned with the country. They are overwhelmingly satisfied with the way things are going in their lives (82%) and continue to rate their communities very positively as places to live (79% excellent or good).

Pew’s vice president for global strategy, James Bell, responded to Trump’s statement, saying, “The statement released by Mr. Trump’s campaign does not specify a data point, so we can’t identify

Article source: News Source

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