«Hizb ut-Tahrir» and Donald Trump: mutual contempt
Islamophobia as a tool for pre-election race
The theme of the presidential elections in the United States has always attracted the world's attention. Today, particularly the Islamic world closely and with a great concern follows the political debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who are collected enough delegates to be nominated as a candidates from their parties. US internal socio-economic situation as well as the fate of democracy and human rights around the world, especially for the Muslim countries, depends on the person who enters the White House in January of 2017.
It is an open secret that many perceive the US as a world leader and a democratic sort of beacon of freedom, which with its political power and economic levers are forcing an authoritarian rulers to respect the religious freedom and the rights of national minorities. However, Donald Trump’s Islamophobic speeches, during campaign meetings seriously shook the US’s credibility in the eyes of ordinary Muslims. Well-known Islamic theologians say that if Trump wins the elections, Muslim part of the world will lose its faith. The faith in the American dream and the success of the democratic path. If Trump succeeds and becomes a president, it will be morally difficult for the United States to present valid claims to ensure religious freedom and human rights in the authoritarian states. The Islamic world is convinced that Donald Trump’s rise to power can undo the democratic ideals and humanist values, which America represented for several centuries.
Trump himself created such a ‘doubt’, with his demagogic speeches against the migrants from Mexico and Islamophobic discourse. He divided the American society into two opposing camps. From the first days of his appearance on the political arena, he has positioned himself as an opponent of Islam. His statements about the San Bernardino shooting the shooting on December 7 of 2015, that «Muslims hate America and could put the nation under attack, so it is necessary to prohibit all Muslims to enter the United States», drew criticism around the world.
The Muslim world has been forced to pay attention to Donald Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric, not only due to the fact that he is a contender for the presidency for one of the largest and most influential economies in the world, but also because he questioned the basic human values – human rights and freedom of religion. The Islamic world's reaction was as expected, sharp and hysterical. Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and a young human rights activist from Pakistan, was first to respond to Trump’s populist statements. Speaking on British television’s Channel-4 on December 15 of 2015 she said: «The more you speak about Islam and against all the Muslims, the more terrorists we create. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because it cannot stop terrorism. It will radicalize more terrorists». She called Trump's comments «tragic», «hateful» and «discriminatory against Islam».
Legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali, who died on June 3 of 2016 at the age of 74, also interceded for Islam. On December 9 of 2015, on NBC News TV Channel, he said: «I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. The true Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion. We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam». It seems that the words of the famous boxer had no effect on Trump and his supporters. As an anomalous election tactics of the main Republican candidate demonstrated, the more noise there is around him, the more political points he gains. Mohammed Ali departed this life protecting Islamic values from Trump’s arrogant and populist attacks.
Following this, the Saudi prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, nephew of the reigning King, called the nomination of the American billionaire Donald Trump for the US presidency as a disgrace. On his page on «Twitter», he wrote: «You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America. Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win». Trump replied to this rough and non-diplomatic attitude, by calling Waleed «Dopey» a man who wants to get the money of his father, to be able to control some US politicians. And also he said that «if he becomes president, it will not happen».
Doctor of Historical Sciences, marketing policy and Islam researcher in London, Arslan Capay called this incident «the whims of the two billionaires». According to him, «Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s too emotional suggestion violates the constitutional rights of Donald Trump to participate in elections and it is for American voters to choose the President. Before the criticism of the US elections, the members of the Saudi kingdom should lay the foundations for the democratic elections at home, where the power is still inherited. As a result, the Saudi prince, who wished that Trump withdrew from the political race, on the contrary played Trump «a disservice», who in the wake of anti-Islamic rhetoric has further strengthened his electoral position».
«Hizb ut-Tahrir» criticizes Donald Trump’s program
The most interesting thing is that Islamic militant group «Hizb ut-Tahrir», which aims to build an Islamic State Caliphate, struck Donald Trump with bunch of criticism. But, unlike Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the extremist party «Hizb ut-Tahrir» does not offend or humiliate Donald Trump’s personal dignity with an obscene language, instead tries to criticize his electoral program. On April 9 of 2016, one of the ideologists of the Islamic extremist group «Hizb ut-Tahrir», Gassan Kisvani, issued a statement in Jerusalem. In his words that titled «What makes the United States a great nation?» which was published on the website of the party in Russian language and harshly criticized Trump’s program.
According to the «Hizb ut-Tahrir», Donald Trump is guilty for plagiarism for borrowing the campaign slogan «make America once again a great nation» from Ronald Reagan. The same slogan that helped Reagan lead the election campaign and succeed in 1980. Furthermore, the radical Islamic organization asks: «What is this great nation, whose ideology is capitalism? What is this great nation that heaps people with fire, by killing children, women and the elderly? What is this great nation where vice and homosexuality, gang rape, drugs, murder and suicide is widespread? What is this great nation, which looks at the black with contempt to such an extent that compares them to dogs? «. At the end «Hizb ut-Tahrir», asks Allah the Almighty to install a second righteous Khilafah in the near future, that the entire world would learn the greatness of Islam and the greatness of the Islamic Ummah».
In another article titled «The irresponsible speech or hatred against Islam and Muslims?», «Hizb ut-Tahrir» is trying to make controversy with both Donald Trump and US President Barack Obama. This time radical Islamic group accuses Trump in an attempt to take control of all Muslims in the United States and the desire to close the mosques. Islamic extremist party did not like the words of Barack Obama that «Islam is not exposed to modernization as Christianity». «Hizb ut-Tahrir» accuses US President that he urged Muslims to modernize Islam, according to Christian pattern, which is a serious crime and is unacceptable to Allah according to the canons of Shariah. According to the religious groups, the leaders of Western governments carried the hidden idea of hostility and danger of Muslims, Islam and Muslim communities living in Europe and America. At the end of the statement, «Hizb ut-Tahrir» as always accuses the West, particularly the United States, for tyranny and poverty in Muslim countries, as well as the oppression of the East.
It is a well-known fact that the Islamist political party, «Hizb ut-Tahrir», is recognized as a terrorist organization, and its activities are prohibited in many countries of the Eurasian continent (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and others) and it is banned in the Arab Middle East for the religious extremism. US government agencies, include «Hizb ut-Tahrir» among groups that operate in non-violent methods, but promote the spread of extremist sentiments among Muslims and thus support of anti-Western ideology, which potentially able to provide the ideological support for terrorism. Program objectives of the «Hizb ut-Tahrir» and ISIS are similar: it is the establishment of an Islamic state - the Caliphate, which implies the overthrow of the constitutional order, which causes great concern to the public authorities in the Central Asia. According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia, «Hizb ut-Tahrir» is engaged in the recruitment and placement of Islamic radicals to the ranks of the ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, although the party denied this.
And today, this Islamist party is trying to give its assessment on the pre-election situation in the US, and criticize one of the leaders of the race. While we have to note one important point, that Donald Trump and «Hizb ut-Tahrir» have one thing in common. This is a political populism and an exaggerated promises that will never be realized. Reasonable people are well aware, that in the age of globalization, «Hizb ut-Tahrir» will not be able to build a Caliphate in the world, and the US government will not ban all the Muslims entering the country just based on religious grounds. But for the sake of augmentation of political capital, both promise unattainable goals that their supporters enjoy and openly demonize their opponents.
Trump’s Anti-Muslim rhetoric has affected not only international politics, but also the commercial attitude of the business community. In 2016, one of the largest trading companies in the Middle East, Landmark Group, based in Dubai, stopped the sale of goods associated with the name of billionaire Donald Trump, due to his Islamophobic statements. Landmark Group has stopped the implementation of household items from the Trump Home collection through its stores in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
In the middle of May 2016, the world's attention was drawn to a virtual political controversy of the new mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the British Prime Minister David Cameron on one side and Donald Trump for his anti-Islamic statements on the other. In a recent history, such an event has never been seen before, that the leaders of US and UK policies, which are strategic partners who presented a united front against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, insulted each other with obscene language. The head of the British government called Trump «blunt, divisive and inadequate» after he suggested the idea to ban Muslims from entering the US.
After that Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London mayor on CNN TV channel said that «Trump’s ignorant views about Islam can make both our countries less safe». Offended Donald Trump moved to the language of political blackmail, which on May 16 of 2016 on ITV British television declared the following: «If I become president of the USA, then for sure I will not have good relations with the British Prime Minister». In conclusion, he nervously called Khan «ignorant».
Earlier, Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Scotland deprived Trump from the scientific degree because of his Islamophobic statements, since it «does not correspond to the spirit and humanistic values of the university». The petition on the website of the British government to ban entry to Donald Trump, attracted a record number of signatures - more than 500, 000 people.
Islamophobia - a threat to the Homeland Security of the USA
Mystery of the current US presidential elections is that the louder Trump shouts an anti-Islamic slogans, for which the Muslim world reacts nervously, the better he plays with his political rivals. It was during the peak of Islamophobic hysteria in April-May of 2016, when the well-known Muslims of the world unanimously condemned it, Trump was able to defeat Ted Cruz, who is considered as a serious obstacle for the future congress of the Republican Party.
The fact remains that, with the help of the anti-Islamic hysteria, Donald Trump is trying to win over the protest electorate, who for eight years was dissatisfied with the rise to the power of the black «Muslim» Barack Obama. After all, Trump has consistently been emphasizing the possible Islamic roots of the current president. As a pragmatic businessman he clearly calculated that the Islamophobic speculations could bring him an additional political dividends, as many white voters of middle and lower-middle class have not recovered from the effects of the tragic events of 9/11, yet. For them there is no difference between the Islamic religion and the «Islamic state». Protest electorate believes that the tip of the Republican Party has betrayed their interests; conservative values were drowned in the flow of the globalization, and the Islamic radicalism enters the country with migrants. Professor in Kyrgyzstan, Tynchtykbek Chorotegin said: «Trump’s populist promises not letting Muslims in the country, build a wall on the border with Mexico and make America once again a great nation had some part became a preference of the American voters».
Trump uses anti-Islamic rhetoric not only for the prosecution of his opponents, but also to create his brutal image. He wants to seem ready to defend the US interests in case of the election victory. During a televised debate in Mississippi on January 3rd of 2016, he accused US President Barack Obama and his rival Hillary Clinton, in the creation of a terrorist organization ISIS, although the confirmation of this has not led any evidence.
In this regard, it should be noted that such a «false» accusations were previously heard from the Russian politicians and analysts. Recently the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is considered Kremlin’s favorite and special, echoed Trump in the heat of an emotional speech. He said that «the United States gave rise to a terrorist group» Islamic State «as an alternative to the «Al Qaeda» and against Russia.
Perhaps, the secret of the public support of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Republican Donald Trump lies precisely in its «similar» positions on international political issues. It should be noted that after the words of Putin, who described Trump as «very bright, talented and an absolute leader of the presidential race», Russian propaganda, apparently controlled by Kremlin, has actively supported the main Republican in the neutrally benevolent tone. But the support of the Russian media, which used to «create weather» in the satellite states of the Central Asia, has no role in the United States. A «rate» of the Kremlin on the Trump can explain the inertia of authoritarian thinking, typical to a generation of «cold war». Putin and Trump resemble Russian proverb that says, «Birds of a feather flock together.» Both leaders exhibit authoritarian style of the government, political pressure and chauvinistic attitude to the neighboring countries. The Kremlin logic is «the worse to them, the better for us».
Thus, the pre-election race showed that US foreign policy is focused on the fight against the international terrorism and the «Islamic state». And it is expected that throughout the course of the election, Donald Trump will still be making a lot of anti-Islamic statements, because there is a demand within the country on the part of the electorate. Therefore, analysts need to monitor such a sensitive topic that touches Muslims and the Islamic world as a whole.
During the pre-election speeches, Donald Trump throughout the world has demonstrated that in a certain part of the American electorate Islamophobia does exist, which can pose a serious threat to the US Department of Homeland Security. The task of the authorities and the new president is to establish a tolerant religious atmosphere. For that Muslim communities in the US should pursue a more transparent way of life, by conducting educational work through the media, and explaining the difference between the Islam and the «Islamic state».
Analysis of US Presidential election race shows that Donald Trump is not intended to stop speculation about the two «hot» topics which are the Islamic radicalism and the Mexican migrants. Recently, he has once again excelled by racism and religious intolerance. As Trump had said in Wall Street Journal, «US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit against the now defunct Trump University, would not treat him fairly because he was a Mexican opposed to his plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico». In this regard Arslan Capay said, that «this is not the last time the topic of Islamic radicalism will rise during the presidential debate by Trump, as it has already passed the red line and unable to change its anti-Islamic way. To save his reputation, he will even sound the alarm louder about the threat of Islamic radicalism, as it brings him political dividends within the country».
In the end, we can conclude that the difference of the current US presidential elections is accompanied by religious and ethnic divisions. Today, Trump resembles a red rag in the hands of a matador at a corrida, that his Islamophobic rhetoric of many Muslims in the world has set up not only against themselves, but across America...
Uran Botobekov, Doctor of Political Science (PhD), expert on Political Islam