The rights of Muslims to dissent under the First Amendment is under threat by President Donald Trump

The first amendment was created after the experience of a repressive English state, highlighting the importance of the freedom of speech and thought to prevent the emergence of authoritarian regimes.

Donald Trump has entered negotiations surrounding the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. I cannot comment on the legitimacy of these negotiations and the perceived threat this group has on US security, however, President Trump argues that this is a form of counter-terrorism, and to that, I say no.

Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group would place the grounds of criminality upon political beliefs rather than engaging or directly supporting terrorism. This would mean that the government could place charges without proof that the accused engaged in violence, as long as there was evidence that the accused knew about the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, refugees or immigrants could be refused entry under the label, “political Islamists”. Their faith and beliefs provide evidence for a crime. Their religion is considered a crime.

An Islamophobia industry has grown in America, advocating for the deportation and criminalisation of Muslims. From 2015-2016 there was an increase in anti-Muslim groups from 34 to 101 in a single year. Moreover, hate crimes motivated by anti-Muslim bias jumped to 307 incidents in 2016, a 19% increase from the previous year, this is a conservative estimate. These figures have been a response to propaganda warning Americans about Muslims and the “Islamisation of America”.

The increase in anti-Muslim propaganda is where “counter-terrorism” becomes “encouraged terrorism”. White, alt-right and white nationalist groups can continue to spew vile, hateful speech that inspires violent racists to shoot synagogues and churches. Their actions are not condemned; instead they are encouraged and inspire similar attacks around the world. In the recent Christchurch terrorist attack, the perpetrator stated in his manifesto that he was inspired by similar attacks that he had witnessed around the globe as grounds for his own horrific, cowardly massacre.

President Trump banning the Muslim Brotherhood and criminalises US Muslim dissent is not counter-terrorism. In fact, all that you are doing is encouraging terrorist actions. The world has entered a deadly loop of violent, retaliatory attacks which cannot be broken until we understand how to deal with terrorism. It is through understanding and unity, not ignorance and division.

13 thoughts on “Criminalising Muslim Dissent is NOT Counter-Terrorism

  1. Anti-Muslim sentiments have deep roots among a portion of the population, but there can be no doubt that Donald Trump has stoked the embers with his rhetoric as he has referred to Muslims as terrorists and has attempted to ban them from the country numerous times. Islamophobia is, like all other forms of bigotry, a dangerous concept, for far too many people are ignorant and will believe what they are told by the loudest voices, such as Trump & his minions, the evangelical church leaders and hate groups. The problem is long and complex, and any solution will be also … there are no simple solutions to the culture of hate that is growing in the Western world. My dearest friends and neighbors are refugees from Syria and Iraq, and they live in fear every time they are in public. My friend Maha had to stop wearing her hijab because she was so cruelly taunted by so-called “Christians” in the neighborhood. Sigh.

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    1. Obviously I am not as connected to America as you, so you have a much deeper understanding on the issue which I highly value. Is there a sense in America of the power the lobby groups have in informing political and societal thinking?

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      1. Oh definitely … the biggest, most powerful one being the NRA (National Rifle Association) who donate millions of dollars to political campaigns to ensure that there will be no laws restricting firearms. Most democrats earn an “F” rating from the NRA and don’t accept their donations, but republicans are in the pockets of the NRA and have stopped almost all sensible gun legislation. The fossil fuel industry is another, which is why Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord and is trying his best to stop the development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to boost the coal and oil industries, for they have contributed much money to Trump and republican members of Congress.

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      2. Wow, very different to Australia. The lobby groups don’t have the same amount of influence on politics and society. An Australian party attempted to gain support from the NRA, however, their attempts were discovered by the media and it has lead to the decline of their party.

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      3. No other nation on the planet has the lax gun laws … lack of laws, really … that the U.S. has, and that is one of my pet peeves … our rate of gun death is far higher than any other nation, and yet people will fight harder to keep their guns than they will to keep their own children!

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      4. We use that same argument when political groups in our country try to justify legalising guns in our country again! Criminalising the guns after the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia has had profoundly positive impacts on soceity and public safety.

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      5. I was very surprised by Morrison’s win aswell. Everything had been pointing towards a Labour victory. Morrison is a strong and courageous leader who shows tremendous integrity, however, his campaign has been based around pointing out the flaws in Labor’s policies rather than stating his own policies so it will be interesting to see what changes he makes to Australia.

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      6. Another of my Australian friends is completely devastated by Morrison’s win. I hope you are right that he is a man of integrity, for I certainly would not want you guys to end up in the situation we are in. Sigh. Yes, it always annoys me when candidates focus on cutting down the other side, rather than building a strong platform of their own. Our last presidential election was nothing more than a mud-slinging contest, and that helps nobody.

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      7. I am definitely disappointed by his win. I believe Australia needed a new, more progressive government but that is the joy of democracy. Mr Morrison has the potential to still be a great leader of our country, but now it’s time for all the words to translate into action, and that is where we will see if he is the right choice for our country. Time will tell I guess.

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      8. Yes, time will tell. I hope he works out well for your country … better than Trump worked out for ours. Would you be interested, at some point after he’s been in office for a while, in writing a guest post for my blog giving your thoughts about him?

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