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Trump Wants ID Badges for Muslims But He’s Behind the Times

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Over the past few days, many have expressed alarm about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s remarks saying he would “absolutely” consider special ID registration for Muslims. But what seems to have been missed in the controversy is the fact that such a registration system already exists in quite a robust form.

The fact of the matter is the federal government already has many well-established programs that profile Muslims. Everything from the TSA’s secret No Fly List to the NYPD’s controversial Muslim Surveillance program consist of registries of Muslim individuals the government deems necessary to catalog and monitor. Often the Muslims being tracked in these registries have no suspected link to terrorism or any other illegal activity.

Since 2002, for example, the NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance program had a broad mandate to monitor Muslim community leaders, Muslim students, mosque attendees, even Muslim business owners. A large database was created to store all the information gathered on Muslims, including daily reports on certain innocent individuals. All this surveillance was deemed necessary by the NYPD because they believed that Muslims, by virtue of their religious beliefs, are more prone to become “radicalized” and, hence, engage in terrorism. (Of course, in reality, only a small percentage of domestic terror attacks are perpetrated by Muslims, and even those attacks stemmed from political motivations more than religious belief.)

The NYPD Muslim surveillance program is one example, but its underlying logic is shared by many other federal agencies. Through Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, it has been revealed that the NSA has multiple programs that specifically target Muslims for continuous monitoring. One program that was active between 2002 and 2008 monitored the email activity of thousands of American Muslims, some of whom were Muslim leaders, prominent Muslim attorneys, and overall upstanding US citizens. Another program gathered data on the internet browsing activity of Muslims in an attempt to harm the reputation of Muslim “radicals” who view sexually explicit material online.

We should also not overlook the fact that the NSA has been bulk data collecting the internet activity, telephone communications, social media behavior, etc., of hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. All that data has been stored in searchable databases. This means that if an elected president or any other government body decides to mass register and track Muslims or any other minority or target group, they can do so at the flip of a switch. The data already exists in their databases, so it then becomes a trivial matter to filter all that data in order to focus on any particular group. That is the danger of mass surveillance and data collection. It is one small step away from becoming the kind of secret registry so many Americans associate with the Nazi program against European Jews.

Other federal programs that are alleged to profile American Muslims include the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative. The ACLU and many Muslim groups believe that CVE unjustly profiles the American Muslim community and Muslim places of worship in its attempt to counter “homegrown radicalization.”

The infamous FBI informant and entrapment program, that many, including Rolling Stone, have described as “inventing terrorists,” also relies on profiling Muslim community members and infiltrating mosques that otherwise are not suspected of any wrongdoing, let alone radicalization.

In the final analysis, many today may be shocked and justifiably scared by Trump’s suggestion to profile and register Muslims. But the reality is, this kind of tracking and monitoring of American Muslims has been happening since 2001, mostly in secret, by numerous powerful federal agencies. Sure, no one has thus far required Muslims to carry special ID badges, but a physical badge is not strictly essential to the purpose of keeping second-class citizens under the thumb of draconian governmental authority. If Trump wants to a special registry for Muslims, he is fourteen years too late.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter

    November 21, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    MMM

    Doesn’t Islam already demand that Muslims dress differently? So the most Muslims in the USA are easy to identify due to who they dress already.

    Both Donald Trump’s arguments and yours are both stupid.

    It would be like the Government demanding that a crescent moon be sewn onto every burka so the Government can Identify you as Muslim.

    Muslim distinctive dress norms of both men and mainly women, does more to isolate and identify as being Muslim, than any ID card demanded by a fool will ever achieve.

    • Avatar

      Daniel Haqiqatjou

      November 21, 2015 at 4:04 PM

      Which argument are you saying is stupid? Minority groups often have characteristics that distinguish them from others in the population. That is not the same thing as being labeled by a government agency, profiled, and tracked.

    • Avatar

      KeithB

      December 14, 2015 at 9:31 PM

      No, Islam doesn’t dictate dress in the manner you’re thinking of. There are some restrictions for both sexes such as women not being able to wear low cut v-neck blouses that show lots of cleavage, but wearing something like a burqha is tribal tradition only. Muslims normally wear what is cultural or traditional for the area in which they live or originate from. If anything Muslims should wear clothing that allows them to assimilate easier in the areas in which they’ll be living.

  2. Avatar

    francis Ayala

    November 21, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    The age of Internet devices and Islamic extremism have created a quandary. Trump’s idea may protect your family from explosives, chemical gas, or nukes someday, but also threatens the long term freedom of everyone. So, now we ponder physical security vs weakening our privacy laws. How will these people be stopped without information on them?

    • Avatar

      francis Ayala

      November 21, 2015 at 2:54 PM

      PS I’m not speaking of badges–only of broader electronic surveillance, which has some logic to it.

    • Avatar

      Daniel Haqiqatjou

      November 21, 2015 at 4:09 PM

      No, mass surveillance does not make us safer. Bulk data collection means that the communications of actual criminals are buried deep within all the rest of everyone’s communication that has been collected. There are more effective and efficient ways to gather intelligence on terrorists than spying on innocent people.

  3. Avatar

    Aksa

    November 23, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    Donald Trump may be an insane egomaniac unfit for office but he never asked for “ID badges for Muslims”

    http://www.snopes.com/donald-trump-muslims-id/

    • Avatar

      Daniel Haqiqatjou

      November 23, 2015 at 3:49 PM

      According to one interviewer who was the source of the story in The Hill, Trump “remained open toward registering U.S. Muslims in a database or giving them special identification identifying their faith.”

      Trump has not disputed that attribution, which you would think he would do if he really was opposed to the idea. The Snopes article is just arguing that there is nowhere on record that Trump literally said, “Muslims should wear special IDs.” That doesn’t mean he did not in fact say that — it just might not have been recorded verbatim in the interview and only summed up. And even if he didn’t literally say that, it doesn’t mean that he does not agree with that kind of a measure given that he has been asked about it multiple times and, hence, had multiple opportunities to explicitly rule it out by saying, for example, “I don’t believe Muslims should wear special IDs,” but he has refused to make that kind of statement.

      • Avatar

        Aksa

        November 24, 2015 at 11:11 AM

        Translation: “Just because he didn’t say that doesn’t mean he doesn’t mean it”. Which I would counter: “just because most Muslims don’t verbally support Islamic terrorism doesn’t mean they don’t support Islamic terrorism”. If I said that you’d call me a bigot and you’d be right. We cannot know the heart of a person; all we can look to is their recorded actions and words.

      • Avatar

        Daniel Haqiqatjou

        November 25, 2015 at 1:45 PM

        First of all, that is not a correct translation of what I wrote. The Hill maintains that Trump *did* say he was on board for Muslim IDs.

        Second of all, your analogy is not apt because Muslims are constantly denouncing terrorism. Trump has not denounced the idea of racially profiling Muslims. In fact, he has repeatedly asserted his intention to do so if he becomes president.

        Third, I agree we should be focused on Trump’s recorded actions and words and there is plenty of racist, anti-Muslim, anti-black recorded words we can scrutinize, including what he is reported to have said to The Hill and others.

  4. Avatar

    Tricia

    November 25, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    Trump wanting ID badges for Muslims is just as bad as Hitler having the Jews wear yellow Stars of David. Even if he didn’t say those exact words, Trump has made his beliefs very transparent. Xenophobia and bigotry spew from Trump’s mouth whenever he speaks. It makes my heart heavy to know that people’s misconceptions harbor fear and hatred.

  5. Avatar

    Isaac Ibrahimi

    December 18, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    Hey guys,

    This is a good article. There is just a question that i have that has been bugging me for sometime now, and I really hope someone answers it. It ties into the whole idea of religious persecution and current events.

    Is it true that the Prophet (pbuh), upon conquering Mecca, gave the polytheists a 4-month grace period to convert to Islam or to face expulsion from the Arabian peninsula? Also, is it true that he gave 10 of the Meccan polytheists the choice between converting to Islam or the death penalty? I saw this on some Sufi sites. Can someone please share their knowledge with me concerning this?

    Thanks

    • Avatar

      Waleed

      September 22, 2016 at 3:11 AM

      Salaam,
      I recently watched Dr Yasir Qadhis Seerah series on youtube so I think I can reasonably answer one question. Also, youtube “Yasir Qadhi Seerah”, and either watch the entire series or just watch the parts related to the conquest of Mecca, because he tackled these questions of your with far more facts and details than I can even remember.

      Regarding the second question about the list of people in Mecca who must choose between “converting to islam or facing the death penalty”, this is was not the case. What happened was is that during the conquest the Prophet issued permission to the muslim army that they must/may kill 10 specific individuals upon sight. No need for trial or anything, these individuals can be executed upon visual confirmation. The question is why? The reason for this decision is that these 10 individuals had gone beyond doing simple evil. Some of these people had publicly converted to Islam,only to then betray the muslims by say killing a muslim and then fleeing to pagan Mecca for protection( they were murtads). Basically, these people had comitted crimes that were on the level that would make even the pagan, tribalism thumping arabs feel disgust (they had crossed all red lines so to speak).
      However, despite this permission, the majority of these 10 people somehow or another managed to convert to Islam before they got caught. And because after entering Islam all your previous sins are wiped clean, these people were then forgiven despite their numerous heinous crimes.

      Regarding the first question,my memory is not as clear on this specific question regarding the 4 month period.So again I reccomend you check out Dr Yasir Qadhis Seerah for an in depth answer.

      May Allah forgive me for any mistakes made here.
      Hope I answered at least one question.

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Civil Rights

Podcast: The Unfinished Business of Martin Luther King | Imam Zaid Shakir

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#Current Affairs

The New Scramble For Africa

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Africa is a blessed continent with resources and biodiversity that would impress anyone. Africa’s history in Islam (while neglected) played a major role, it was home to the first country to welcome the Muslims and allow them to practice freely. After the spread of Islam trough traders, regions across Africa became hubs for knowledge and trade. The richest man in history hailed from Africa and was Muslim, and his name was Mansa Musa. The riches of Africa have always sought after. People from all over the world have aimed to to do business or exploit the blessed continent. Unfortunately, the history of Africa is filled with strife, bloodshed, slavery, and holocausts. This rings true till today. The purpose of this article is not to dwell on the past, be it Arab influence or colonization. The events going on today needs out attention, we have ignored the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Africa long enough. 

The first major scramble for Africa was in the 19th century, when Europe carved it up like it was their property. The second was during the cold war, when East and West seek allegiances of newly independent African states. We are witnessing a third scramble that is less obvious, and more behind the scenes with “investments” and “wars”. It can be described as a cold war between China and America. 

African mines

Some see the resources they have like oil, chocolate, rare earth minerals, diamonds, etc. as a blessing (investors mostly), but to the people living through this every day it is a curse. Oil or mineral dependent countries in Africa suffer from enclave industrialization, limited diversity in their economy, and vulnerability to price shock. While this is happening, they see decay in their agriculture, manufacturing, and other trades. The continent is still traumatized by five centuries of exploitation. It is no easy obstacle to overcome. What we are seeing will only get worse as oil production is expected to peak in 2025, world scarcity will increase, and we will see more wars around oil. For the last decade, China has been using “soft power,” basically using money for leverage. This comes in the form of aid, trade, infrastructure projects, and loans. This is a plot to make them a superpower in the region. America, on the other hand, is doing what it has been doing since 1776, it is confronting Africa as a “battlefield,” basically running operations or anti-terrorism projects in dozens of countries that the American public is unaware of. 

One example is South Sudan, and the American campaign to split the Muslim country of Sudan to two. Before the split, China reportedly had invested $20 billion in Sudan. With American interventions occurring, China watched the events unfold. After the split the newly inaugurated president of South Sudan flew to China to secure an $8 billion investment. By 2013, China controlled 40% of their largest crude oil producers and was importing 77% of the country’s output. After unrest and bloodshed occurring in Libya, Mali, Sudan, etc, China has established a stronger effort with peacekeeping officers to protect their oil interest. As one superpower implements one tactic, another superpower follows its traditional method. Last year in Niger, American soldiers, including two commandos, were killed. This was surprising to me as I was unaware of American military operation in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world with Muslims making 98% of its population.

We have seen a dangerous rise of commandos in Africa. In 2006, under Bush, 1% of deployed commandos were in Africa, by 2011 under Obama it had risen to 3%. It does not stop there, before stepping down from office, in 2016, 16.5% of American commandos deployed were deployed in Africa.

In 2006, only 70 special ops were deployed across the continent, in 2014 we have 700 deployed special ops in Africa. “None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem. Despite this declaration, despite the deaths of soldiers in Niger, U.S. commandos keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat. 

In March of 2018, the New York Times released an article of 10 unreported attacks of American troops between 2015 and 2017. Despite these attacks and distrust towards the region, the Pentagon built a $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, regardless of the people’s concerns towards a base being built near their home. Our worldly desires is fueling this new scramble for Africa. Our need for resources, technology, and fuel comes at a cost. This cost manifests itself as the development of the rentier state (eventually developing into a kleptocracy across Africa, professional soldiers ruling the resource-rich lands or an expansion of the “war on terror”. 

Here are a few theoretical solutions, some are to be initiated by the government and some rely on people-power movements. The government needs to reduce corruption and that can be done through a menu of policies created to control and maintain corruption. Controlling corruption can be done through; changing the selections of national agents, modifying the rewards and punishments systems, and restructuring the relations between national agents and users to reduce monopolies. Another venue the government can explore is directly distributing resource revenues to the people. This is practiced in Alaska, and has been wildly successful. Finally, the government can invest the resource revenues in social development. Harnessing the revenues for human development to include education, healthcare, job training, and housing will lift up the urban and rural poor. 

The people can pressure the government to pursue any of those ideas mentioned. A power-people movement can look different depending on the need. One idea is that consumers in the West to boycott African minerals due to corruption and/or exploitation. This can develop into “smart boycotts” where we use internet hedge funds to attack corporations that exploit and feed into corruption. Developing campaigns like “blood diamonds” in the past have been proven effective to generate awareness and bring vital change. The same was done with the ivory, and now even China has laws making the product illegal.

People-power movements work and have helped locals rid of unwanted corporations in their region. Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a leader of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, he rallied against the abuses of the Nigerian military regime and the oil pollution created by multi-national companies, which resulted in a change of consciousness for the better. 

In his words: “Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.”

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CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

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‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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