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Muslims Make the Case for Donald Trump

FILE - In this April 20, 2012 file photo, the Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump speaks during the opening of Trump Towers in Sisli district in Istanbul, Turkey. The general manager of Trump Towers in Istanbul says the company is "assessing" its partnership with Donald Trump following his calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States. In a statement released late Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, Bulent Kural said the company "regrets and condemns" the Republican presidential front-runner's call, issued in the aftermath of attacks in the country and elsewhere.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)

Conventional wisdom says Donald Trump enjoys little to no support from Muslim Americans. Critics cite his supposed desire to impose a blanket ban on Muslims from entering the country and allege that he has fanned the flames of Islamophobia. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has worked to solidify support from Muslim pressure groups, some with troubling ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. A March poll of Muslims in Super Tuesday states by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)showed Hillary with 46% support in that community against Donald Trump’s 11%.

However, the Trump campaign is not abandoning the Muslim vote to the Democrats. Campaign adviser Dr. Walid Phares has been spearheading an effort to reach out to leading members of the Muslim community — and finding more support than expected. John Hajjar, a co-chair of Middle East Americans for Democracy, said that “Phares has been at the forefront of helping these communities in their outreach in the US, at the UN and in the region. Obviously he was criticized by the usual suspects, Muslim Brotherhood and Iran regime but the silent majority backs him.”

Shirin Qudosi, a pro-Trump liberal Muslim from Pakistan, believes that the Trump campaign can attract support by “refining his message on national security and foreign policy – the two most pressing issues for Muslim Americans.” She believes that there is a “thriving subculture of moderate Muslims” who could be convinced of Trump’s potential as president. She recommends that the candidate “get to know” this receptive community, for example by visiting the reformist Women’s Mosque of America. “A speech isn’t necessary, but humility is,” Ms. Qudosi said. “Beyond the showmanship of the campaign, I think Trump has that within him, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

Trump has fought back against charges that he is anti-Muslim when he is in fact sounding the alarm on Islamic extremism. On May 11, he floated the idea of a presidential commission on Muslim radicalism and terrorism, possibly chaired by former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. Kurdish American activist Faridoun Abbas said that “to counter the Jihadi terrorists, a Trump Administration needs to be able to distinguish between the general Muslim community and the radical Islamists. That is not possible now under the current Administration because [President Obama] rejected the use of ideological tools. If Trump moves in that direction, I and many among our communities would support him in the Presidential elections and after he is elected.”

“Most U.S. Muslims who are secular and not linked to America’s mosque and Muslim Brotherhood network would be more than happy to see a halt to Islamists coming to America to spread the doctrine of Sharia and Jihad that they escaped back home,” observes Pakistan-born Canadian Tarek Fatah. “They would back Donald Trump’s initiative if the GOP presidential candidate clarified that his proposal was to ensure Islamists were shut out, not all Muslims.”

American Muslims “want to vote on merit,” said Mike Ghouse, Executive Director of theAmerican Muslim Institution in Washington, D.C., in an open letter to Trump. “They prefer to be independent and support the candidate who puts America first, which ultimately benefits everyone.” Ghouse believes that Trump has “a very real chance to be the next president” and suggests he have “an American Muslim girl sing our national Anthem” at one of his rallies. “You can flip the world with that; it will send a clear signal to the world that you are not against Muslims, but against those that are radicals.”

Mustafa Geha, a Lebanese Shia based in Sweden, said that he recognizes that the temporary immigration ban “is a suggestion until the US can determine how to stop the Jihadi terrorists,” and that the vetting “should be of the Jihadists of all backgrounds, Salafi and Khomeinists.” He adds that “what we need from a Trump Administration is to work with moderates in the Middle East to free themselves from terrorists such as ISIS and Hezbollah.”

The United States needs to have effective means of stopping extremists at the border, but Mideast refugees are only a symptom of instability. Dr Yahya el Basha, a Detroit-based Syrian Sunni leader, says that “if a Trump Administration would address the root causes” of Middle Eastern terrorism “and help establishing a free and secure zone away from ISIS and Hezbollah, Muslim Americans would back him fully.” He added that a “Trump decisive move to stop the war in Syria would be seen as strategic and brave by our community.” Sheikh Sami Khoury, a former President of the Lebanese diaspora, said that “millions of Lebanese around the world support Trump’s agenda of defeating terrorism.”

A commitment to creating stability in the Middle East would be a welcome development to Muslim Americans disappointed with the current administration’s record. President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was intended to be a historic opening to the Muslim world, to promote peace and prosperity, and improve America’s image in the region. Instead, it kicked off an era of instability and violence, harming American friends like Israel, alienating strategic partners like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and encouraging extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and


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