Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump’s Muslim Ban and the New York clouds that look like the Lebanese flag

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After Donald Trump signed the executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, I came across this photo of the Statue of Liberty at sunset. I was surprised to notice a small cloud formation that looks a bit like the Lebanese flag.

I don’t know if this photo was taken before or after the infamous “Muslim Ban”, and I don’t want to give it some improbable supernatural significance. But, even if the resemblance between the clouds and the Lebanese flag is a mere figment of my imagination, I’d like to see it as a sign for Trump’s Lebanese-American friends to talk some sense into their new president.

They could do that by telling him about the tiny country they came from. A place where Christians and Muslims rejected each other and ultimately destroyed everything, before realizing that their only chance for a future was to live together.

They should also tell him that the official reason given to justify the “Muslim Ban” – stop terrorists from entering the United States – is as absurd as it is ridiculous.

I guess the “Ban” supporters would argue that it only includes citizens from seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran, but doesn’t involve nations that represent the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslim population: Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, to only name a few.

The best way to answer that is to start by explaining why including Iran in the “Ban” is, at best, laughable.

First, because Daech and Al-Qaeda are Sunni extremists and that Iran is a predominantly Shia country. It may take some time and a lot of patience, as these subtleties are not easy to grasp for someone that sees Muslims as one homogeneous entity.

Then, it would be a good idea to detail some hard realities: Iran is fighting Daech and consorts in Syria and Iraq, so the plan to defeat terrorism he asked his generals to come up with, may very well include military cooperation with the Islamic Republic and maybe, who knows, fighting alongside Iranian troops.

After he digested all these information – an Alka-Seltzer could help – they ought to remind him that terrorists belonging to Daech and Nosra (Al-Qaeda in Syria) come from many different countries, and not only from those included in the “Ban”. Some even hold a European passport, as we’ve seen in the Paris terror attacks.

Perhaps they should ask him to reflect on the following question: who’s more dangerous, an Iranian filmmaker, an Iraqi businessman, a Syrian schoolgirl or a French thug converted to radical Islam?

Before they let him figure out the answer, they should discreetly whisper that if he truly wants to fight terrorism, he would be well advised to find out who actually helped create Daech and Nosra, who trained them, gave them money and weapons, and who protects them still.

He may be surprised to discover that there are more culprits in the dark alleys of power in Washington than on planes and boats coming from Iraq, Syria or Yemen. He could even find out the actual role his Israeli friends have played in all this mess.

Perhaps he should do that before relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem, thus offering the best of gifts to Bibi Netanyahu, Nosra’s most reliable ally.

© Claude El Khal, 2017