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Trump Vows to Increase Surveillance on American Muslims and Mosques

posted on: Jun 14, 2016

BY: Andrew Hansen/ Contributing Writer

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando this past weekend, Americans of all ethnicities, age, sexual orientations, and political affiliations are expressing their condolences to the families of the victims of the attack at a gay nightclub, which left 49 dead.

Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump seemed to have a different agenda, though. Immediately following the shooting, Trump took advantage of the event to attack his political opponents and Arab American communities.

After American-born Omar Mateen attacked the popular Orlando nightclub and pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, Trump instantly took to the press. He called out America’s leadership and asked for President Obama to “resign in disgrace” for failing to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” in reference to the attack. Trump continued on to decry Democratic Presumptive Nominee, Hillary Clinton, for wanting to,  “dramatically increase admissions” of Syrian refugees wishing to enter the U.S.

Many political figures abstain from using the words “radical Islam” in reference to random acts of terror, such as the incident in Orlando, because these isolated incidents are perpetrated by rogue individuals acting under an ideology of a fanatical group that, in reality, has very little in common with Islam. Thus, associating “radical Islamic” groups with the world’s hundreds of millions peaceful Muslims is factually incorrect. Trump feels differently, though, claiming that Americans “can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

Yet, many people question the importance of associating random acts of terror such as this with the term “radical Islam”. According to Republican figures like Trump, putting a name to the enemy is a key element in defeating terrorist groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda. However, many experts feel that by being lenient with the term “radical Islam” is simply alienating the vast majority of the world’s peaceful Muslims, who are crucial in defeating groups like the ISIL. Experts also agree that using terms like “radical Islam” adheres to the Islamic State’s “us versus them” ideology, once again falsely associating terrorist networks with the entirety of Islam.

Additionally, Trump has called for increased surveillance on America’s mosques. Speaking on the Orlando gunman, Trump said, “For some reason the Muslim community doesn’t report people like this.” According to Trump, Americans who worship in mosques are aware of specific people who are interested in carrying out attacks, yet choose to not report them.

Trump also alleged that there are thousands of other American Muslims that wish, “to do similar harm.” As a solution, the GOP candidate insists that the U.S. needs to do some serious revamping to its national security measures, namely an increase in surveillance on Arab Americans and Muslims.

Trump’s proposed policies seem to be quite misguided when analyzing the character profiles of the perpetrators of attacks in America. First of all, the majority of perpetrators act alone, and are reportedly very isolated from their peers, family, and religious groups, much like Mateen. They act with no evidence of support from mosques or domestic Islamic groups in the U.S.; their plans are constructed without external guidance, except from the stories they hear about ISIL sympathizers.

In fact, the profiles of attackers often tell a very different story from that dictated by Trump. These individuals often feel ostracized from their communities by prejudice and misunderstanding, and thus sympathize with fanatical, rogue sentimentalities that ISIL perpetuates. Then, after the attacks are carried out, leaders such as Trump take to the media and bombard Americans with more anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments, further isolating those communities. As a result, the Islamic State is able to claim responsibility for random acts of terror, simply because of how their fanatical message appeals to misguided, unstable people of varying backgrounds, adding fuel to the fire that he believes himself to be extinguishing.

Now, in the wake of this brutal shooting, combined with a looming election overhead, Americans must truly reflect on how they choose to proceed. While America is grieving this loss, many are questioning if Trump truly has America’s best interests at heart, or if he is simply using the situation to solidify his offensive stances on security and immigration, namely banning all Muslims and Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.