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Fight radical Islam, not Muslims: Republicans to Trump

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Washington: Republican presidential candidates joined issue with frontrunner Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from coming to the US, with Senator Ted Cruz citing the example of India to assert all Muslims were not jihadists.

“I understand why Donald made that proposal. I introduced legislation in the Senate that I believe is more narrowly focused at the actual threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism,” he said participating in the final Republican debate of 2015 among nine top candidates on Tuesday night.

Asked if he disagreed with Trump because he was too broad, Cruz quipped amid laughter: “Well, you know, I’m reminded of what FDR’s grandfather said. He said ‘All horse thieves are Democrats, but not all Democrats are horse thieves’.

“In this instance, there are millions of peaceful Muslims across the world, in countries like India, where there are not the problems we are seeing in nations that are controlled — have territory controlled by Al Qaeda or ISIS,” he said.

“And we should direct at the problem, focus on the problem, and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. It’s not a war on a faith; it’s a war on a political and theocratic ideology that seeks to murder us,” Cruz added.

In the debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Trump defended his proposals to ban non-American Muslims from coming to the US, ban refugees fleeing ISIS, deport 11 million illegal immigrants and wall off America’s southern border.

“We are not talking about isolation; we are talking about security,” he said.

“We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security. Our country is out of control.”

Asked about his earlier comments calling Trump “unhinged”, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said: “Donald, you know, is great at the one-liners.”

“But he’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president. He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe,” he declared.

Trump was quick to hit back, saying: “Jeb doesn’t really believe I’m unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It’s been a total disaster. Nobody cares. And, frankly, I’m the most solid person up here.”

Like Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio too declined to attack Trump outright and said: “We must deal with this threat of radical Islamists, especially from ISIS.”

Trump also reiterated his strategy to cut off the ISIS’ recruiting methods on social media, which he argued would involve collaboration with the Silicon Valley and limiting internet access.

Trump’s suggestion prompted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to ask “if you are going to close the internet, realise America what that entails. That entails getting rid of the First Amendment. Okay. No small feat.”

He added that some of Trump’s proposals for fighting terrorism “would defy every norm that is American”.

Trump dismissed his rival’s attacks with a wave of his hand saying:

“These are people that want to kill us, folks. And you’re objecting to us infiltrating their conversations? I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

Earlier, in the undercard debate of bottom four candidates, Senator Lindsey Graham too rebuked Trump for his controversial proposal to ban Muslims as a “coup” for ISIS.

Former New York governor George Pataki said Trump’s proposal was “unconstitutional and it is wrong”.

Senator Rick Santorum called Trump’s idea “not the right proposal” and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee described the ban as “impractical”.(IANS)

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Brown: The colour of toil but non-acceptance across the West?

"This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied."

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Police Chief David Brown. Image Source: Twitter
  • Kamal Al Solaylee’s book Brown highlights the problems of ‘brown’ people in Trump’s rule
  • Donald Trump is often accused of malingering the image of brown people
  • this book cites many examples of discrimination which brown people go through

Title: Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone); Author: Kamal Al Solaylee

All our social development and our technological advancements don’t seem enough to eradicate our long-persisting atavistic sense of difference based on appearance, which though long-suppressed is now emerging free from its restraints — as proved by the recent intemperate comments by US President Donald Trump on immigrants from a certain set of countries.

Trump’s thinking, as seen in his off-the-cuff remarks, underscore that the questionable classification of race, expressed by the obviously evident and inescapable feature of a person’s skin, is well alive — and extends beyond the white-black binary. What about the yellow, or rather, the (as necessary for the global economy but far more exploited) brown?

Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Trump is only one leading manifestation of the malaise facing brown people — which include West Asians, Latin Americans, North Africans, and South and Southeast Asians — and far beyond the West too or from the “Whites”, says Yemeni-origin, Egypt-bred, Canadian journalist-turned-academician Al Solaylee in this book.

Trump’s victory “largely (but not exclusively)” rode on demonising Mexicans, galvanising sentiment against Muslims and championing white nationalism, the vote for Brexit was mostly pioneered by those with a restrictive view of Englishness, the record of Canada under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — all these are obscure racial conflicts brewing in the US and Europe for decades now.

Also Read: Mexico can learn about dealing with diaspora from India: Claudia Ruiz-Massieu Salinas

“Examine these tensions closely and you’ll find a strong anti-brown sentiment at the core,” says Al Solaylee as he traces the response to, as well as the experiences of, the residents of Global South, who are forced to migrate to — and much needed in — the Developed North for various reasons, not least of which is the latter’s colonial record.

“Brown as the colour of cheap labour continues on a global scale… brown bodies undertake the work that white and older immigrant Americans refuse to do (and those black slaves were forced to do in previous centuries).

These are low-skill, labour-intensive jobs in unforgiving climates,” he says, but also that these are not limited to the Western nations but also in the more affluent parts of Asia itself too.

“This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied; our presence as Muslims or religious minorities is offered as an example of the tolerant, diverse societies in which we live, but we continue to be feared,” says Al Solaylee.

And there is no difference whether this is deliberate or mistaken as he goes to cite the cases of the racist slurs on Sikh volunteers feeding the homeless in Manchester in the wake of the May 2017 terror attack, or the fatal shooting of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US in February 2017 by an American who thought he and his friend were Iranians and screaming at them to “get out of his country”.

Al Solaylee contends we think of brown as a “continuum, a grouping — a metaphor, even — for the millions of darker-skinned people who, in broad historical terms, have missed out on the economic and political gains of the post-mobility, equality and freedom”. They are now living, he says, among former colonial masters where they are “transforming themselves from nameless individuals with swarthy skins into neighbours, co-workers and friends”.

You may also like: List of 50 People who have affected Hinduism in a Negative Manner 

And it is their story he tells — both in their homes from the Philippines to Sri Lanka and workplaces from Hong Kong to the Gulf as well as Western Europe and North America.

Al Solaylee, however, starts with first recounting his own childhood experience on learning he is brown after seeing an English movie featuring a white child and coming to terms with “brownness” in his journeys around the world and interactions with other browns (fairness creams figure largely as well as the concern that he settle down) as well as Brown’s significance in nature and culture.

He then takes up the human obsession with race, despite the concept being debunked, except in politics before his exploration of the experiences and consequences of being brown around the world.

A stirring travelogue, incisive social and political comment and a passionate cry to rise above unavoidable consequences of geography and genes, this invaluable work rises in importance beyond its subject to be a seminal guide to the world today — and what it will soon be — particularly the US. IANS