If Trump can introduce a Muslim ban and visit Britain with it in place, his regime will be emboldened to attack those it dare not just yet, says KEVIN OVENDEN
DONALD TRUMP is attacking on a broad front.
There are many reasons to fight him and to stop him coming to Britain for a propaganda boost. But we should be clear, firmly in the crosshairs are the Muslims. He has started his assault on all of us by attacking them. The racist travel ban targets Muslims.
The far-right media in the US — Fox, Breitbart, etc — tried to claim the terror attack by a white supremacist and Trump fan on the mosque in Quebec was actually committed by a Muslim. A sickening lie worthy of Goebbels.
A mosque was burnt to the ground in Texas on Saturday, hours after Trump announced his racist ban.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the US equivalent of the “prevent” strategy in Britain is to be rewritten explicitly and only to “target Islam.”
That would scrap even the pretence of dealing with the far-right and white supremacists, such as Dylan Roof, who opened fire on a black church in Charleston killing nine worshippers.
So why target Muslims? In part because Trump’s team are themselves viciously racist against Muslims. But it is also that anti-Muslim racism and prejudice have been growing for 20 years, fuelled by the war on terror. Trump’s administration is modifying the terms of that long war but far from abandoning it.
This week alone it has threatened outright war in the South China sea and against Iran. Trump has ordered a new plan for military operations in the Middle East and is not talking about jihadi terrorism but Muslims as a whole as the problem.
Islamophobia is the central propaganda that the fascist Marine Le Pen hopes to use to win the French presidential election. Germany’s far-right party Alternative for Germany has made Islamophobia the lynchpin of its advance.
The forces of reaction and barbarism everywhere see Trump’s attack on Muslims as their path to power, including the reactionaries of Isis who believe it will bring them more recruits.
Amid all the apparent chaos around the Trump gang’s executive orders, we can safely conclude there is a strategy. They think that by taking the antiMuslim racism one stage further with the racist ban, they can rely on the US’s already built up Islamophobia.
If they can make the ban hold, if Theresa May can bring Trump to Britain with the ban in place, then the door will be open to all the other attacks at home and abroad where the Trump regime wants to go, but is too nervous to implement now.
There have been rumours of a draft anti-gay executive order but Trump’s press secretary declined to comment when asked earlier this week. How long do you think he will hold back on these? If he gets away with the Muslim ban today, he will feel confident to legitimise anti-LGBT bigotry tomorrow.
The Trump gang want to ban all forms of abortion and he would like to make his misogyny the new normal. If five-year-old Muslim children can be handcuffed at a US airport today, women can be handcuffed, abused and forced to carry a pregnancy they do not want tomorrow.
He has announced that he will indeed build a wall with Mexico. Work hasn’t started yet. Stopping that work tomorrow means ending the Muslim ban today.
Trump’s plan faces two big problems. The reality of the ban has led political figures and many ordinary people who may have gone along with, or even supported, previous Islamophobic measures and military actions to speak out and oppose it because they think it goes too far.
The echoes of the 1930s — burning places of worship, terror attacks on a congregation at prayer and people denied the right to travel on the basis of their religion — are just too close.
More importantly, masses of people are taking action to stop it. The protests began with the inauguration. They are continuing every day. We all need to do what we can to build on those and take them wider still.
Today — we cannot wait for worse tomorrow. That means uniting everyone who does not like Trump and what he represents and explaining to everyone we know why we must take a stand now against this racist ban, which is a critical part of the Trump gang’s bid for power.
The protests are working. Trump had to cancel a visit to a Harley Davidson factory in Milwaukee on Wednesday for fear of protests.
He had to retreat on a part of his Muslim ban on Saturday and exempt US Green Card holders, whom his chief of staff and white supremacist Steve Bannon had initially included. The protests are forcing divisions in Washington.
In Britain they can force Theresa May to come out against Trump, the ban and the state visit.
If the visit planned for five months’ time gets cancelled now, it would be an enormous boost to everyone in the US standing up to Trump and to those in France opposing Le Pen.
Many people are recalling the words of German pastor and outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler Martin Niemoller: “First they came for…”
Well, first the Trump gang has come for the Muslims. Will we all stand together now to fight that and prevent what may come next?
Please encourage everyone to join the protests, to sign the petitions and to raise their voices with all their imagination and creativity.
Tomorrow a protest organised by Stop the War, Stand up to Racism, the Muslim Association of Britain and other organisations against US President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and possible state visit to Britain will be held from 11am, starting at the US embassy, Grosvenor Square, London.