Tuesday, 21 June 2016 08:13

Debating Trump's Muslim ban to combat ISIS terror in US, pros and cons

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The topic?  Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims, which the Republican Presidential candidate called for after the terrorist bombings in Paris, San Bernardino and again, as recent as the Orlando attack earlier this month.

What are the domestic implications if the ban is implemented?  How would it impact our country’s standing in the world?  What occurs if we don’t engage in the type of defense mechanism promoted by the Republican candidate?

Discussing the “’pros” favoring the ban is Bayoubuzz columnist, Sarah Whalen.  She is an attorney and has taught journalism at the University level.  Supporting the “cons” is Bayoubuzz publisher, Stephen Sabludowsky.  He also is an attorney and has taught ecommerce at the university level.  He is definitely not in favor of Trump becoming President of the United States.

Recently, the two engaged in a political discussion via chat.  On Monday, they continued that discussion, this time focused upon the precise issue of Trump’s Muslim ban.   

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Hi Sarah, we are going to start a chat now.  This time, we are talking specifically about Trump-Clinton and terror.  Why don't you start, you can ask me a question

SARAH WHALEN:  I think that Donald Trump's stated policy of restricting immigration will be effective in combating terrorism from Middle East and Middle East-inspired groups.  Trump 
Trump's policy needs tweaking, but it is fundamentally sound.  Would you like to know why?

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Sure I'm always game for fairy tales, please go ahead

SARAH WHALEN: Do you like fairy tales?  We can start with one.  let's start with former President George W. Bush's fairy-tale about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction in Iraq-- a country that had NO involvement in the 9/11 atrocities, and absolutely no weapons of mass destruction.  But the U.S. forces went there anyway and invaded.  Saddam's Sunni forces then were disenfranchised, and melted away into darkness.  Bush celebrated what he claimed was a huge triumph.  Meanwhile, jihadi fanatics all over the region then descended upon Iraq, and fought a brutal, very unconventional war.  They also crossed the border into Syria.  Al Qaeda in Iraq then morphed into ISIS, and we are fighting ISIS now, but not very effectively.  ISIS has engaged the U.S. on many fronts.  It also has sleeper agents, some of whom hold U.S. citizenship, and these agents commit atrocities like that just seen in Orlando.  ISIS has also engaged the West, which is why they also attack in places like France and Belgium.  Controlling citizenship and immigration will do two things-- it will curtail ISIS from infiltrating our immigration with jihadi fanatics, and it will also cause "good" and decent Muslims to put pressure on ISIS for ruining their opportunities to come to the West and prosper.  Once ISIS is defeated, we can all live happily ever after.  But right now, ISIS is like the evil fairy at the wedding feast.  Or the wicked, wicked witch.  ISIS is a cult that has perverted mainstream Islam.  ISIS is in love with death, and it needs to be completely stopped.  Immigration is the "softest" way right now.  But hardly the only or even the main solution.  But it will SLOW ISIS down.

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY:  I'm not disagreeing with your overall historical analysis. I think that's pretty agreed upon by most people. The question I have though is two-fold. The first deals with the actual implementation.  Second, the impact of a policy of discrimination. Yes we absolutely must do something about allowing the haters whether they are coming in or already here. That is a given. But the problem is how do we do it so that it doesn't cause any further damage or more damage than we would want? In this regard I think Trump has, in his desire to get the right-wing to support him, thrown out the baby and the bathwater. It is over broad. It is beyond discriminatory. He wants to restrict based upon religion. How do you do that and what is the ultimate consequence?

SARAH WHALEN: Well, look at it this way.  We, the West, are at war with ISIS.  It is not really a war of our choosing, but through poor past leadership, we have stumbled headlong into a war that can no longer be fought in a conventional manner.  While it seems like an affront to our democratic principles to single out a group based upon its religion to deny this group entry into the United States, it is a very powerful socio-psychological war tactic, and we MUST use it, and use if effectively and powerfully.  The restriction should not last forever, and it can be somewhat selectively employed.  But any selectiveness should ALWAYS be to the United States' advantage, with the aim of causing injury to ISIS..
 ISIS's overriding aim is to take control of the whole Middle East region, and then then the Subcontinent, but its attacks on the West have been deadly and very demoralizing.  We need to hit ISIS hard, and with very deadly force.

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Again, not disagreeing that we must destroy them whenever, however, where-ever...but...let us talk about implementation and complete ignore for now the horrendous social impact that mass discrimination has on our country and the world, in general...

so, how do we do it?  We communicate to the world that Muslims are no longer allowed in the US...First, how do we determine who is a Muslim?

SARAH WHALEN:  I don't consider it "Mass discrimination."  what Trump proposes is actually quite similar to policies that Middle East countries themselves have.  You need visas to enter many places on the planet, and visas to work, and these can be denied for any reason.  There is no absolute right to enter the United States.

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: I never said anything of that kind....I said mass discrimination, based upon religion...this is something we have never done before.  We are not the rest of the world, we are America.   We are exceptional, I understand.  So, how do we determine who is a Muslim?

SARAH WHALEN: How to determine who is a Muslim?  This is a really good question, but most Muslims will self-identify themselves.  There are, I think, about 1.8 billion Muslims world-wide.  Ordinarily, a Muslim is quite open about his or her religion, but there is a hadith and also a practice that permits Muslims to practice their religion covertly, if they are in a land or place hostile to Islam.  But many countries have predominantly Muslim populations, so you could fairly assume that an immigrant from there is Muslim, unless they can produce proof that they are not.  This policy of proving religion is common in applying for visas in countries which identify themselves nationally as "Islamic."  For instance, in Saudi Arabia, you may be required to produce documentation from an Imam where you attend mosque that you are a Muslim.  I'm not kidding at all.  I think that the burden of identifying one's religion should be properly placed upon the person seeking to enter the United States.  If they cannot meet that test, then entry may be denied, as long as the war with ISIS continues.  But I would like to add that I believe that the West can win this war, and more quickly than most people think, if we really put our backsides into fighting it.  But it can't be fought conventionally.  Americans are indeed exceptional, but we have been forced to fight an enemy that is skilled at using our great freedoms against it, to kill our citizens.  We have the power to give entry, and the power to take it away.  It does not make us less democratic to deny entry visas to Muslims.  We are fighting a war, and Muslims are the first to understand this.
I should add that anyone giving aid and comfort to ISIS here in the United States should be prosecuted and deported, assuming that they are a dual national and can properly be returned to the country of their other citizenship.  Deportation should be swift, too.

So, if a terrorist is prone to cause havoc in America, you think they are going to identify themselves as Muslim?  Even if there were a mandatory requirement in the United States, that everybody starts to declare their religions, you think those people who are inclined or even planning to commit violence are going to admit they are Muslim?  Then, from a constitutional law perspective, you think the courts will allow America to force people to put their religion on passport?  remember Freedom of religion? ....Surely, if we only make Muslims put their religion, and not anybody else, other religions, that would be unconstitutional, per se.  So, from a pure implementation standpoint, in my opinion, Trump's call to ban Muslims from a religious standpoint, for some unknown time period--"until we figure out what is going on" is purely dum-witted, unworkable, unconstitutional and created to stir the base hatred in people, for pure political purposes...it can't be implemented without causing all of the first Amendment rights to be called in question.  And now, we are concerned about the second amendment?

SARAH WHALEN: There is no "right" to enter the United States, whether for tourism, education, or resettlement, or even as a refugee.  We banned Communist party members from foreign countries for decades.  We banned anarchists, and all for good reason.  We may permit those who are "the enemy of our enemy" and who may therefore be our friends, but this has always been a discretionary policy.  It is not unconstitutional to ask a wanna-be immigrant to identify themselves religiously.  But, you could just cut to the chase and ban people from countries which are undeniably "Muslim" in particular.  It is not a ban that will last forever, but it is a ban that should be enacted because we are truly at war with ISIS.  Certainly, anyone from the former Iraq and Syria would be immediately suspect.  This does pose a real hardhsip for those seeking asylum or entrance who are NOT ISIS, but that is the point-- such persons with genuine interest in coming here will begin to put pressure on ISIS-oriented countries and groups.  I believe that mainstream Muslims should be the West...the West's biggest allies in stopping ISIS, but so far, they have played a double game in many cases.

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Nobody said that "anybody" has a right of entry, whether for tourism, education or even as a refuge.   I certainly did not say that and i have not heard anybody say that.  But, i have witnessed Trump people claim that others are making this claim, which they have never proven as far as I am concerned...but getting to the points you raised.....

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Communist party banned, anarchists, enemies, Iranians during Jimmy Carter, I can go on--none of these were banned based upon religion.  None!  That is the issue that is being obscured.  America was created because of freedom of religion and to deny people based upon religion better meet the constitutional test of strictest scrutiny.  And then, again, how would you do it?  Would you make everybody be forced to state their religion when they enter the country?  Or, just Muslims?  then, you think anybody is going to give their religion, whether they are muslim or not?  Surely, not the terrorists.  The fact that you are saying, cut to the chase proves my point...you can't do it based upon religion.  Now, you are talking about a totally different animal.   So, do you see why people, including myself considered Trump's policy hate-ridden and absolutely impossible or at the very minimum,  absolutely dumb!!  And this guy wants to be our President/

SARAH WHALEN: You can indeed "do it" based upon religion.  Many countries are undeniably Islamic countries, and they self-identify their populations.  Within these countries there are minorities and religious minorities, many of whom claim to be persecuted or disadvantaged because they are NOT Muslims.  The State Department has identified each and every such country, so it is no mystery.  To achieve the kind of egalitarianism you believe is "democracy," simply cut off immigration from those countries so identified by the U.S. State Department as being "Islamic" countries.  This alone won't stop ISIS entirely from seeking  to infiltrate the United States from within, but it will slow things down, and it will also involve Islamic countries directly, which is a good thing in terms of having an international dialogue.  There is nothing "hate-filled" about this.  and I don't see any problem with making everyone identify themselves by their religion.  It would be a problem if they were being forced to immigrate or travel, but we in the U.S. are not FORCING foreigners to do anything!  They are free to NOT COME HERE.  But if they decide to come, then yes, the safety and security of U.S. citizens will have to come first-- way ahead of any "rights" that foreigners may or may not have.  If they don't  want to identify themselves as Muslims, they are free not to .  But that means that they can't come here.  No nice vacation-- no Disney World, no great educations, no good jobs, no nice places to live, no living in the West-- until things get normalized, and we DEFEAT ISIS.

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: So, if someone lives in Germany or France and wants to travel to America for business, surely, they must also declare their religion, wouldn't they?  He said total and complete ban of Muslims and they surely have large populations of Muslims who were born in Europe and throughout the world who have never declared their religion, right?  Are these people, whether from Europe, South America or wherever now supposed to declare their religion?

SARAH WHALEN:  There are indeed large populations of Muslims who are born in Europe.  Most are easily identified as Muslim, and it isn't hard to determine...

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Right, there must be a "muslim" smell test?  Do we start checking based upon skin color?  Type of hair?  So, you would have no problem of making everybody who wants to enter US for business to declare their religion, is that what you are saying?  And, if that is the case, does this mean that every American who lives here should and must declare their religion too?  Because, you know what is going to happen, don't you?  The rest of the world will demand it of us too.  So, now, what kind of freedom of religion will any of us have?
SARAH WHALEN:  I have never said that taking control of U.S. immigration would be easy.  But much of the world does indeed demand that we, Americans, identify ourselves based on our religion.  If you apply for a visa to the Kingdom or to the Emirates, you will see and have that experience.  But it is done for lots of very practical reasons.  Saudi law is clear-- anyone has the right to practice their religion privately, in their homes, but not proseltyze.  In Israel, Christians are not permitted all the civil rights enjoyed by Jews.  And in Israel, not all Jews are considered equal, either.  Israel laws are applied very selectively, based upon an ancient Biblical "blood line" standard for determining who is a Jew, and who is not.  I think that Trump's plan is not irrational.  The adverse effects it may have must be balanced against the strong, powerful effects it will have on hamstringing ISIS.  I think that the whole world, and especially the West, need to mutually engage to defeat ISIS.  ISIS is NOT Islam, not even close.  It is a brutal cult of death and destruction.  It is based upon a very false interpretation of Islam.  Imams and politicians in Islamic countries need to state ISIS's perversion of Islam in the strongest terms, and condemn it, and they must be CONSISTENT in their condemnation.  They can't continue to "wink" at ISIS.  That time is past.  If their Muslim congregations suddenly find that they cannot come to the United States or other places in the West, there will be a LOT of pressure to do away with ISIS.  I have no problem personally with applying for a visa from any country, and I

STEPHEN SABLUDOWSKY: Thanks, nobody is suggesting anybody wink and many of the things you are saying in terms of the nations needing to work together and Muslims taking much more responsibility is absolutely necessary...But, as we close this discussion, the focus has been on Trump's plan to prevent all Muslims all over to be banned from entering the US, whether for immigration and/or travel.  I personally think it is virtually impossible to do without all of us losing our rights to not be forced to practice religion or to declare the religion that we practice.  Do i think there are less restrictive ways to handle this problem of travel that could reduce the risks of terror, absolutely.  But, that is an issue we will have to discuss in the future.   Thanks again..

SARAH WHALEN:  thank you, Steve, as always.


Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 10:19
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