The Fault Lines
Beneath San Bernandino, lie the San Andreas Fault lines, one of the seismically complex well-known earthquake area on the North American tectonic plate. The pressure between the plates has been building over decades and a massive earthquake is strongly predicted. In fact, scientists have called this a ‘Ten-Month-old’ pregnancy.
How does this relate to the executive order banning people from those seven nations? Well, first thing first. That’s not a Muslim ban. If I understand correctly, there are 56 nations that have a Muslim majority. Though most of these Muslim majority countries are peace-loving, occasional countries with a Muslim majority have severe unrest. The ban is against people moving from these strife-torn countries. A recent wave of immigration in Europe is a vivid and life example.
Is this devoid of Logic?
It gets confounding, especially when you compare this executive order with what was talked during the campaign (speeches). However, let us take one step at a time and discern what was said during a campaign from what is being done to protect the nation. How would you protect the nation from an imminent threat arising from a minuscule population of malafide people mixing along with innocents entering as refugees? Trump hasn’t said, this is permanent, all he has done is move into immediate action until he evolves a mechanism for stalling or stopping any miscreants entering US soil and doing the damage.
This truly is a ‘haste ban’
This ban sounds something done in great haste, without supporting risk and impact analysis. Ideally, directives such as these, are thoroughly researched, modeled and thought through before being implemented. It throws some fundamental constitutions tenets such as the ‘Immigration Act of 1965‘ to disdain. As it stands, this bans nationals originating from these seven countries, everyone from Muslims to Christians, including ladies and innocent kids. If you look at the percentage of terrorists coming from these seven nations or the possibility of being attacked by immigrants turning into terrorists from these seven countries, the potential is minuscule, lower than someone being hit by a car while driving. More so, banning these countries displays a lack of cost-benefit calculation done for countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Of course, this does not take into consideration the reputation of the US as a beacon and an apostle of the free world. That’s not a consideration at all.
It caters to the populist base, overrides statutory stipulations and displays a presidency in haste and reckless decision making. When we implement and then think through, that is haste. Haste is always not bad but, is it required in this situation?
Why is it difficult to trust that, this is not a ‘Muslim Ban’?
The onus of protecting one’s country is with its own citizens and their elected leaders. That behavior is dictated by threat perception. If President Trump needs time to refine and devise a mechanism, should he wait until then and implement a refined mechanism? Or in the interim, should he implement a mechanism that provides and prevents immediate mitigation (for a limited period) and keep refining? I believe both options are directly dependent upon threat perception and perspective of protection.
If this is right, why is it difficult to trust what President Trump is doing? We all know, the epicenter of terrorism (Pakistan) or the place from where most terrorists belonged too during 9/11 (Saudi Arabia). Neither of these countries is in the list of the banned list. Devoid of the reasoning on their omission (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia’s), it becomes less trusting and erodes the authenticity of this order.
Why should Saudi Arabia be excluded?
This is oft-repeated question. The answer is cost-benefit analysis. Presume, I do business with you and despite a hard wall or bottleneck, I still make some money that is critical to my volume. Add to that, the administrators on either side are aligned for decades. If it is proven that the perpetrators of crime are not state sponsored, do you think we should burn those bridges too? Suffice it to say, the petrochemical appetite, the massive financial engagement on either side and the goodwill cooperation on either side are sufficient to not enlist Saudi amongst those seven countries.
I am still perplexed about how Pakistan always manages to go scot free, irrespective of being a cauldron and a melting pot of terrorism. Irrespective of the power in Hill, it has the propensity and potential to escape the wrath.
It is threat perception and response to that perception (It is not anti-Muslim)
Let me drive another example – when a Muslim country bans another Muslim country, it is not called ‘Anti-Muslim’ but when a secular nation, based on its threat perception, bans few selected nations, it is immediately labeled as Anti-Muslim. Kuwait banned five nationals from entering its country in 2011, citing, ‘”difficult security conditions in the five countries”. Visit Kuwait’s decision to ban citizens from five nations. Kuwait bans visa issuance to five nationalities: Nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan banned from entering Kuwait.
(updated on Feb 11, 2017)
On Feb 11, 2017, Saudi Arabia has just confirmed deporting 39,000 Pakistanis from its country since many of those deported are connected with terrorist activities connected with ISIS. This is sufficient to dispel the general perception that every ban is not a religious ban or religious bias; it is threat perception and not religious bias. The chairman of the Shoura Council (the security committee) went a step further and recommended thorough scrutiny of Pakistanis nationals since they were complicit with security concerns.
Suffice it to say, this is NOT anti-islam but ‘Anti-Terror’ Haste Ban. Imagine a world without these ban from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, we would have certainly thought that the US ban is Anti-Islam. Just see how profusely the common Americans feel sympathetic towards Muslims. That is marvelous and highly appreciable.
Scarred of recent European Immigrant ‘Law and Order’
No one wants another 9/11. Recent Syrian immigration to Europe is a history in making – rapes, looting and anarchy are rampant in selected parts with a severe influx of Syrian and Middle Eastern. Law enforcement in Europe was never built to handle this influx of citizens who had a different set of ethos and value (not that their practices are bad, just that we all are different in our maturity and adoption). Europeans never thought the fashion of their women would subject them to aggravated sexual assault and they never thought women need to change lifestyle or get additional protection upon the arrival of immigrants to continue their lifestyle.
First and foremost, an immigrant has to be grateful to their country of adoption. They need to imbibe and align with local law enforcement. Lack of law enforcement meant less lawlessness. On the contrary, lack of enforcement was interpreted as a lawless community. Europe and specifically Germany and France were never built to handle this chaos. Trump’s voting base is worried about that.
Lessons from history
The humanitarian crisis has to be met with humanitarian aid but in an appropriate way (read my blog on Syrian immigration). Recipients of humanitarian aid need to follow certain norms while accepting the gratitude (truly interesting blog and a must read on successful immigration by Parsis that shaped India).
Does the protest appeal to human consciousness?
Not completely. What made these protesters lose the moral luster? Truly, these protesters would have widened their appeal and given a stronger moral ground, if all these same protesters would have assembled when San Bernandino or the Orlando Pub shooting happened. Empathy is when we feel and perceive the pain of others. Empathy is a human need and it goes both ways. It is never material, and sincere feeling backed up with action, are always appreciated. We should learn to stand up and express sincerely.
Compassion is a two-way street
To preserve our rights and perspective, we should protest but when those protests are self-serving and lack compassion, it erodes the values and deprives the moral beacon that appeals to human yearning for justice. Let me draw a parallel. If only all these protesters swarming the airports in the last two days would have participated in similar protests when the attack at San Bernandino or the one that occurred at Orlando pub, people would have sympathized more assiduously.
I still remember, when Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist from Pakistan, responsible for 26/11 in Mumbai, was tried and hanged eventually; the Muslim community from Mumbai refused to offer him the burial (ground). Compassion like this paves way for solidarity with the Non-Muslim community and create an atmosphere of trust. Why do they always feel the world is against them? Sometimes, they too can stand along with the world. The Muslims from Mumbai did exactly that.
The tectonic plates of American heartland versus Urban Americans will keep colliding until enough corrections occur. Of course, no one likes earthquakes, and had these been addressed earlier, the chasm between the two would have never widened enough to see rightward shift.
…and a closing comment
The country should be above religion and religious affiliations
When I saw these Muslims clamoring at the airports protesting the so-called misconstrued ‘Muslim Ban’, I felt it strong, they should have revisited the history of attacks on this country and this country’s vulnerabilities. Religion cannot be above every action. If the threat perception mandates ban (from selective countries) so be it. Let us honor that perception and perspective. The country should be above religion and religious affiliations. Align with the country’s interests. Don’t alienate, just align!
Does that mean banning or vetting is wrong?
No, banning or vetting immigrants to protect once the country is not wrong. However, it should follow ethos and natural principles of justice, should have adequate research and an embedded mechanism, and lastly, it should provide legal redressal or appeal. Devoid of these, bans such as these are unlikely to provide a solution. Until the fault lines show correction, we will see similar frictions between the populist base and the educated and elite. Suffice it to say, this is not a Muslim ban, this is a ‘Haste Ban’.
(Updated Feb 3, 2017)
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart ruled against Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim countries. Read excerpts from Politico, “Judge Robart’s decision, effective immediately, effective now, puts a halt to President Trump’s unconstitutional and unlawful executive order. It puts a stop to it immediately, nationwide,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson told reporters. “What the judge announced today was nationwide; the president’s executive order does not apply.”
My Comments after Judge Robart Order:
Trump’s Executive Order may go through the labyrinths of legal challenges but it is clear that devoid of diplomacy, Trump is an expression of, not the erudite but, the apprehensive common man. Those not agnostics should take cognizance, rather than deny this, and introspect why most aggressive and radical attacks are statistically skewed towards certain faith/s. Those asserting themselves, individually or collectively, need to abandon aggression and adopt dialog, trusting that dialog doesn’t mean one party will walk with everything or nothing.
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Guns in the USA. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34996604
8 thoughts on “Does it sound like a true Muslim Ban?”
Very well said…..
Well Wrote! right or wrong – only time will tell , but at least something is being done to counter the menace of terrorism.
You write well and I always mention that to you but I do not agree with some of the issues you raise here –
– you mention anarchy in Europe in some places where refugees have come in. Can you elaborate ? If you are talking of the camps in Calais or the other giant tent cities that’s due to the sheer numbers of people in areas where they are not meant to be
– you mention scantily clad woman needing protection
I’m sure the latter maybe an issue in a few selected areas but surely you are making generalizations
About folks protesting now versus when the Bamiyan Buddha was destroyed that simply a reflection of reality- out of sight out of mind
The vast majority of us have never seen it and the destruction is bad and a vile act but how can that evoke the same reaction when this order affects folks in your community
My reply – I consider lawlessness same as anarchy since both are state of disorder due to lack of lawful administration of authority. A little due diligence with simple search terms provided several results; I have cited few for your perusal. “During the first six months of 2016, migrants committed 142,500 crimes, equivalent to 780 crimes committed by migrants every day according to the Federal Criminal Police Office and Germany has been hit by a spate of horrendous violent crime including rapes, sexual and physical assaults, stabbings, home invasions, robberies, burglaries and drug trafficking”. Another report from Reuters provides statistics of 69,000 crimes in first quarter of 2016. Since there are abundant reports, I will leave it for you to read those.
Bamiyan Buddha is an example, if only Muslims start empathizing, we will see a reciprocal feeling from other religion. I would go a step further and say, destroying a statue won’t destroy the ideology. So to me, it matters little. However, I feel the concern Muslim demonstrators displayed post Executive Order, was also expected when these desecration occurred. Let us face it, a collective introspection is required by Muslim faith, dialog and not aggression should be the option, irrespective of the country of origin.
Unfortunately, we cannot take recourse to history since it does not teach us many good lessons on religion, state craft and aggression, since all these are historically mixed. However, in a plural world, it is necessary to adopt dialog and abandon aggression.
Selected Links –
We certainly hope so. Hopefully this doesn’t balloon into more cinister way of life.
Never thought of it this way. Am happy to get a new perspective.
The chasm between Muslims and Non-Muslims is increasing and through dialog, and due respect for their sentiments, we need to explain the perspective of Non-Muslims too. Otherwise, the polarization between these two groups will likely increase. While protecting borders, where is the question of religion? Opponents of this idea should provide a mechanism for vetting.
Often critics cite examples of innocents caught in the cross fire. It is true that innocents are often caught in the crossfire, irrespective of the cause. It has been the case the case all through the annals of history.
Before rolling off a policy, due diligence is always conducted to understand the impact or sometimes, a pilot is run and Trump’s 90 day ban should be interpreted as a pilot before he comes up with a more clear policy.
It’s a premature comment Made by Mr President on assuming his chair. keeping his maturity in mind it seems more of a statement which probably he would have made to announce his arrival to the world on taking over as the new president which otherwise has been not been taken well by majority of the world population ( he also has commented on other immigrants too from different countries including india).
There’s a element of sense too in his statement barring the aberration of omitting pak n Saudi. if one analyses world terrorism it’s only this community which has been involved in around 90% cases. Why does this happen — is it due to their deep routed fundamentalist teachings which is imparted in the Madarsa’s . This ban may bring a bit of agony and venomous feeling amongst the Muslims around but also I feel the younger Muslim generation may improve this image to remove this misbelief of the community which the world believes.
At the same time I hope there not another 9/11 type Acton taken by the Muslim community as a retaliation to the ban made by Mr President, but overall, it’s an unfortunate start to a new innings n trying time which 🇺🇸 would be going through.