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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.

Daniel Haqiqatjou was born in Houston, Texas. He attended Harvard University where he majored in Physics and minored in Philosophy. He completed a Masters degree in Philosophy at Tufts University. Haqiqatjou is also a student of the traditional Islamic sciences. He writes and lectures on contemporary issues surrounding Muslims and Modernity. Email Daniel here .

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.

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    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?

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      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.

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      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.

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    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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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

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In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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#Current Affairs

Ben Shapiro Gets Wrecked on the BBC for Racism Against Palestinians and American Jews

Andrew Neil so thoroughly destroys Ben Shapiro that he has a snowflake meltdown and retreats in the middle of the interview to his own safe space, off-camera. 

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The video plays at the 10:00 minute mark where Neil begins to break down Shapiro on his statements about President Obama, Palestinians, and American Jews.

Let’s set the context – popular conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, known for his aggressive debate style in the public square, visited the BBC to promote his new book.  The interviewer, Andrew Neil, after giving Shapiro a chance to introduce himself to the BBC audience, questioned him about the anger both the left and the right feel towards one another, and Shapiro’s own role in stoking that anger and polar opposition within the Republican party over many years.

The reason for this line of questioning is because Shapiro claims this to be a problem in American discourse and fails to consider his own contribution to the problem, and it is this hypocrisy that Neil confronts him about.  Shapiro attempts to respond, but is promptly crushed by Neil’s responses with Shapiro’s own quotes.  For example, he brings up the following tweet written about Palestinians which Shapiro agrees was wrong but hasn’t taken down:

 

Shapiro futilely attempts to respond, but Neil continues to quote Shapiro until he is left with no choice except to throw ad hominems at his interviewer, which were deftly turned back on Shapiro, leaving him to look even more petty for his attempted condescending remarks.  The end result is the man claiming earlier to welcome a spirited debate quickly found himself running away to lick his wounds.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this debate – Shapiro accused Neil of being an opinion journalist of the left-leaning variety, while Neil is a conservative and chairman of The Spectator, whose editorial outlook is conservative.

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