The executive order denying entry to visa travelers from seven Muslim countries signed by Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration hasn’t just sparked controversies among Americans on migration policies, but aggravated the large Muslim community that dwells in the United States. The media campaign that followed this order pursued the sole objective of accusing Trump of anti-Muslim policies.
However, it must be noted that this latest executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries would affect only about 12% of the world’s Muslims, according to estimates from a 2015 Pew Research Center report on the current and projected size of religious groups. Out of the seven states listed in the new immigration ban, only Iran is to be found among the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations.
It’s estimated that 1.6 billion Muslims are to be found across the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. And although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis. In fact, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million). It’s believed that by 2050 the number of Muslims worldwide will grow to 2.76 billion, or 29.7% of world’s population.
Against this background it’s only logical to explore the conditions American Muslims have been living in all along. The Huffington Post would announce in one of its articles:
The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the US nearly tripled in 2016 partly because of Donald Trump’s rise to political power, suggests a new report. There were 34 such groups in the U.S. in 2015 and 101 last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Annual Census of Hate Groups published Wednesday. That’s a 197% rise and “by the far the most dramatic change” among extremist groups in the US
It’s been noted that the anti-Muslim groups listed in the above mentioned report consider Islam an inherently evil political ideology ― not a religion ― that uniformly sanctions violence, pedophilia and a host of other crimes. Moreover, those groups tend to believe in conspiracy theories claiming Muslims are somehow subversively trying to replace governments in America and Europe with Islamic theocracies bent on implementing a brutal interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law.
Now we’re seeing a stream of allegations that anti-Muslim groups are the best-funded of all radical groups in the United States. It’s been announced that these groups received millions of dollars in funding in recent years to peddle fear and misinformation about Islam and Muslims. According to the data provided by the FBI, there’s been a 67% spike in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims in 2015 in the US. In turn, The Huffington Post has managed to track nearly 400 incidents of anti-Muslim violence, vandalism, policy and political speech in 2016.
It’s been announced by the Rasmussen Reports that political affiliations are also affecting one’s beliefs heavily. The report would state:
Most voters agree that Christians living in Muslim-majority countries are mistreated for their religion. But Democrats are more likely to think Muslims are mistreated in America than to think Christians are persecuted in the Islamic world.
So who’s behind the anti-Islam hysteria in the United States, a country that has been trying to play a central role as impartial mediator in the Middle East?
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”