by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I was a Muslim refugee once. I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to gamble your entire future on a one-way ticket to a foreign land, what it’s like to fill in the forms, not knowing for sure what the right answers are. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.
Yet today I am an American citizen, one who has more reason than most to fear Islamic extremism. And that’s why I want to plead with my fellow Americans to calm down and think rationally about the dilemmas and trade-offs that we face.
When Donald Trump set out his views on Islamic extremism in a campaign speech last August, I was surprised and excited. In particular, Trump’s pledge that, if elected president, he would focus on the ideology underlying the violence — and not only on the acts of violence themselves — was a welcome departure from the approach taken by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Liberals who have been so quick to heap opprobrium on President Trump should read that speech. In it, he rightly condemned “the hateful ideology of radical Islam” for “its oppression of women, gays, children and nonbelievers.” And he argued persuasively for a non-military response to the threat: “Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.” Best of all, in my eyes, Trump promised that his “administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”