(The omission was too glaring and that simply adds to the unfairness of the whole affair. Image source: http://www.slate.com)
Well, it finally happened – that “The Apprentice” guy, Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States of America on 20th January 2017.
So it was not a big surprise when Trump decided to “shake” things down once he had officially taken office – Trump has been talking about throughout his election campaign. And that includes his promise to build the wall against Mexico (funding aside) and stopping people from certain countries from entering the country.
President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
The funny part of the whole affair is that the Iranian Government seems to be very upset that they have been listed under the list of countries to be banned from entering the US. It is funny because the Iranian Government had always perceived the US as the Great Satan. So if the Great Satan is stopping your people from entering it’s Hell, why you get upset? Anyway, it is just something for your thoughts.
Noticeably there were some countries missing from Trump’s immigration ban.
US-based researcher Arif Jamal argues that President Donald Trump cannot defeat radical Islam by excluding Saudi Arabia and Pakistan from his contentious move barring US entry to people from some Muslim nations.
On the contrary, all major terrorist groups that have attacked the United States and other Western countries over the past couple of decades – from al Qaeda to the Taliban to the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) – can trace their roots back to Sunni-led countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar. But conspicuously these countries didn’t make the list.
Well, I can see where Trump is coming from and how the recent terrorist attacks in Europe may have shaped this policy. After all, before Trump signed off the order, he did call the German Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘insane’ for her immigration decisions. But are the ban valid?
Mail Online has analysed all the terrorist attacks in Europe, including Turkey, since 9/11.
No individuals from five of the countries on the list – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – had been linked to any terrorist attacks in Europe in the last 15 years, although some could be linked to Islamist bases and training camps in Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Raffaello Pantucci, a counter-terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told Mail Online: ‘Most terrorist attacks in America are carried out by Americans.
(In this 2011 Department of Homeland Security report, Malaysia is listed as a “Specially Designated Country”. SDC are countries that have shown a tendency to promote, produce or protect terrorist organisations or their members. Image source: OutSyed The Box)
We can breathe in relief that Malaysia is not in the immediate Trump’s list of banned countries. However, it may change if we do not keep extremism in check.
Police neutralised 14 attempted terrorist attacks in 2016
Malaysians were given a reality check when the first ever Islamic State-orchestrated attack hit Malaysian soil on June 28 when a hand grenade was hurled at an entertainment outlet in Puchong, resulting in eight people injured.
However, Malaysians know little about the behind-the-scene pre-emptive actions taken by the police that foiled at least 14 planned terror attacks in Malaysia by IS militants, said a senior anti-terrorism official.
Security officials were reluctant to share details of the attempted attacks due to the sensitive nature of the information.
Kudos to the police for their hard work and diligence in crushing terrorist attacks in this country. However, the headlines “Police neutralised 14 attempted terrorist attacks in 2016” is very worrying. Who knows the number of terrorist attacks that did not take place because of a lost opportunity or the terrorists changed their mind at the last minute or they have a different objective & location to terrorise.
It is not a secret (and the world knows this too) that there are plenty of Malaysians in Syria fighting for the ISIS and they have threatened to unleash the same acts of terrorism in this country. News of ISIS sympathizers or agents being caught by the police has become a norm these days.
Then we have people like Zakir Naik who is on the run from his home country, coming into this country freely and doing public sermons.
Fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik will be delivering a Friday sermon in Perlis on February 10, according to a poster shared by the state’s mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin yesterday
Last month, Dr Zakir visited a private Islamic-centric university in Shah Alam, Selangor, which is also under investigation for radical teachings after two students were arrested on suspicion of being Islamic State recruits planning a terror attack locally.
Although a fugitive in India, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the controversial Islamic preacher is free to travel in Malaysia because he is not on the terror list here.
He has been reported by several Indian newspapers to be on the run to avoid prosecution in India.
The Salafist preacher has also been banned from several countries like Bangladesh, Canada and the UK.
Frankly speaking, there is nothing wrong in bringing foreign speakers for sermons and religion functions. And I say that it does not only happens for Muslims but also other religions. In fact, we have Hindu gurus and priests, Buddhist monks and Christian preachers (some of them super-rich) coming to this country on a regular basis and devotees signs up for such sermons/religion talks months upfront.
Religion is very big and profitable business nowadays. So I don’t really see a fuss and the logic of my fellow Malaysians questioning foreigners coming to the country for sermons. Sometimes it is good to get out from our comfort zone and get a different perspective of religion from outside experts aka holy men.
But when you have someone who is not only banned and wanted for links with terrorism in other countries (including Bangladesh – a Muslim majority country), one needs to exercise great caution.
Just watch this talk by Zakir Naik who questions the propagation of faith (in forms of allowing places of religion to be built) by non-Muslims. This kind of talk does not fit a multi-racial, religion model country like Malaysia. In fact, it works against it and makes one Malaysian to look at fellow Malaysians as a threat due to different faith & beliefs. It sows the seeds of disunity and intolerance. We need more avenues to unite us and not foreigners who will disunite us even more.
In this video, using a very bad example of a maths teacher, he claims that only in his own religion, the computation is correct i.e. 2 + 2 = 4 whilst all other religion will compute wrongly. But does it really happens that way? All religion teaches one to be tolerant and exercising good behaviours. To shoot down other’s religion does not necessarily elevate your own religion – I have always said this.
Every religion has their share of extremism as well but it does not mean it is wrong (or evil). At the end of the day, it all depends on how you use religion in your daily life and religion is something that should be personal and ends there. So it is not right to say that “I am right, you are wrong” when it comes to something personal.
In fact, the more you talk bad about others, it will backfire and will cause others to look at religion as something intolerant, rigid and enforces compulsion when it should be the other around. And if you claim that others have failed religion, why then they have a very prosperous and matured society? It is the same case where Iranians for ages have labelled the US as the Great Satan but gets upset when the same Great Satan closes its doors.
We already have “funny but disbelief” incidents such as the protest that forced a church to take down a sign of cross back in 2015 (the excuse for the protest – the cross will confuse Muslims). Are you saying that Muslims in this country had never seen a cross sign before and all the sudden, one fine morning, they wake up and seeing it for the first time and it will confuse them?
It sounds dumb, right? But interestingly, that is very premise that smooth-talking preachers like Zakir Naik is doing in his talks and whilst the implications may not be so obvious but the outcome can be very grave indeed.
And then we also have a spew of misinformation and made-up facts (yes, it called fiction) that is used rather sparingly to justify his talk on religion. Watch this video where Naik attacks Darwin and the notion of evolution and he simply wrongly quotes or uses wrong facts to show that he is correct (which is not the case):-
For someone who is not familiar with Darwinism or even has a good command of the English language, Zakir may sound like a brilliant man with good information, all at his fingertips. Perhaps this is why at one point in time, Darwin’s book on the evolution was actually got banned? I didn’t know then.
It is not a secret that science and religion are like water and oil – it does not mix that well but at the point when wrong information is used to justify someone interpretation of religion, it is dangerous and irresponsible.
Now looking back at President Trump’s decision to ban entry to selected immigrants, it may sound harsh and cruel and unfair but think again, that itself should make others wake up and look at the cause of the ban in the first place. And if it is unfair, then what are the other countries around the world is going to do about it? No Middle East country has come out in the open and made the commitment to take in the refugees and other immigrants in the droves – perhaps they should look into it now (they are nearer too).
And talking about terrorism, banning entry is just one of the short term solution although it is a bad solution if implemented blindly and in general. They should have a proper solution in place and allow people to are genuinely in need of help whilst identifying and stopping red flags and potential sleeper agents at their tracks.
One cannot run away from this – not at this age of human civilization.