Published February 2017 in Quadrant
If we are to believe the narrative being written an ocean away in the United States, it seems humanity has entered the winter of its empathy. America is now the land where racism, Islamophobia—whatever arbitrary definition it takes on today—and hatred reign. Evil, it seems, has won. With President Trump signing an executive order temporarily suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the bell tolls for charity and decency. Our world has turned its back on Muslims, so the story goes, and whatever fate awaits them is no longer our concern.
This narrative is, of course, a false one, although one might be forgiven for believing otherwise — popular fictions being often favoured above truth by those who fervently wish to believe. However, I wonder if the obscurantists who are constructing this narrative have stopped to consider this one question: If Trump’s executive order is intended to bar Muslims, and only Muslims, from entering the United States, why don’t Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria—the five most populated Muslim countries — figure on his hit list?
The answer, as it so often the case, hides in plain sight. Compared with their Middle-Eastern and North-African counterparts, the aforementioned Muslim countries are functioning states, not purely hotbeds of radicalised Islamic terror…
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