Terrorists can be very pleased with themselves — the negative effects of the terrorist attacks in Paris are strongly felt, even in America.
Republicans have swallowed the bait, and they say things that stoke religious tension or even hostility — in other words, they are playing out the Islamic State’s ideal scenario. First, the governors of 26 states announced that they do not want to take in Syrian refugees. Then, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, two presidential candidates, proposed that the U.S. should allow in only those Syrians who are Christians. And when journalists kept asking how to tell the difference between genuine Christians and terrorists who would only impersonate Christians in order to get into America, Bush explained: “If you’re a Christian, you can prove you’re a Christian. If you can’t prove it, then, you know, you err on the side of caution.”
Donald Trump’s comments were "better" than that. A billionaire and former celebrity, he has been leading in the polls among Republican voters for a few months now — mostly because at every rally, he promises to deport all (11 million) illegal immigrants and to build a great wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
When asked by an NBC journalist on Thursday night as to whether he would implement a database system tracking Muslims in the United States, he said: “Oh, I would certainly implement that — absolutely.” In his defense, he did not come up with the idea all by himself. His "merit" is mainly in the fact that he doesn't think before he speaks. He was just giving away autographs, when a journalist threw out a shocking idea, and Trump supported it. The journalist went with the flow and started asking how the practice of registering Muslims would be different from registering Jews in Nazi Germany. Naturally, there is no good response to such a question. Trump must have realized that because he said, “You tell me!”
However, the milk was already spilled. The next day, Hillary Clinton commented: “This is shocking rhetoric. It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country.”
Trump’s chatter was condemned even by Bush, who said, “You talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people — that’s just wrong.” He added that in the fight against extremism, America cannot give up their values.
One could say it is a very reasonable comment, but it is because of such comments that Bush has 6 percent of the Republican electorate’s support, whereas Trump has 32 percent, according to the latest survey by The Washington Post and ABC News. A retired neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, is in second place (22 percent). Just like Trump, he has a tendency to talk before he thinks. After the terrorist attacks in Paris, he argued that Syrian refugees should be carefully vetted before they are let into America. In order to support his arguments, he used a metaphor: “If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog. It doesn’t mean you hate all dogs...”
Comparing Muslims to dogs and radical Muslims to rabid dogs seems universally offensive, but for Muslims who hate dogs, it is even more offensive. Unfortunately, good-natured Dr. Carson didn't realize that at the time he was inventing his dog tale.
The ignorance and thoughtlessness of Trump and Carson are perhaps their greatest advantages (in addition to general reluctance toward the "Washington elite"). This is what many voters think, but no one has dared to say it out loud on TV — immigrants, get out of our America; Islam is evil; all followers of Islam must be treated as suspects!
A sense of danger, which is the result of the terrorist attacks in Paris, reinforces such a belief. There is a strange symbiosis between Trump, Carson and fanatics of the Islamic State group. Thanks to terrorists, the candidates got more determination in the campaign, and thanks to the candidates, terrorists are hoping that American Muslims will feel stigmatized, alienated and rejected. That would be a step away from attacks in New York or Washington.