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Trump’s statement on Ramadan is almost entirely about terrorism


President Trump issued a statement on Ramadan — a holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims around the world — that focused primarily on violence and terrorism. His statement was a stark contrast from the Ramadan message President George W. Bush issued in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, in which he emphasized how millions of Americans are Muslim and explained Islamic belief.

“At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict,” Trump wrote.

Trump noted recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and in Egypt, “acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”

Trump also noted his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where he gave a speech on terrorism. “I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it,” he said in the statement.

Several Americans who are Muslims said Friday that they especially noted Trump’s framing of terrorism around Ramadan. Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who is Muslim, said his expectations of Trump are so low that he seemed surprised Trump said something “vaguely nice” in parts of the statement.

“Trump has so rarely recognized that American Muslims even exist, but this offers apparent proof that he is aware of our existence. Great!” he said. “Putting all that context aside, it’s offensive and pretty much terrible.”

Trump’s statement, Hamid said, ties Muslims who are American citizens to the problem of terrorism.

“We, as American Muslims, shouldn’t be defined solely in our relationship to bad things that we have nothing to do with,” Hamid said. “We’re also normal people who happen to be Muslim and to see us and our history in America so narrowly is plain out offensive.”

Asma T. Uddin, editor of AltMuslimah, said she thinks Trump’s statement is typical of his position on Islam, though it’s less infused with fear. For instance, Trump said a year ago, “I think Islam hates us.”

“To the extent he’s playing nice, it’s again and always linked to Muslims’ utility in countering radicalism/solving terrorism,” she said.

Muslims spend the month of Ramadan in prayer and reflection and feeding the poor, and Wajahat Ali, a writer and lawyer who has studied the anti-Muslim movement in the United States. He joked about how Trump’s statement seems odd in context.

“I didn’t know Allah sent down Ramadan, a month of mercy, peace and blessings, to deputize American Muslims to help the U.S. fight ISIS,” Ali said, referring to the Islamic State by another name. “Here I was thinking it’s a month where Muslims reconnect with our spirit, our creator, our family and our communities and uplift ourselves through fasting, restraint, generosity and prayer.”

Compared with Trump and his comments on Islam, Bush is “seen as a moderate, enlightened sage,” Ali said.

“I mean do you really want us to fight ISIS during Ramadan?” Ali said. “We’ll be weak. I’m fasting from dawn until sunset. Not even water? Not even water! I mean, I could kill terrorists with my Ramadan breath.”

Trump’s statement comes after two terrorist attacks this week that drew global attention. A suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester, England, on Monday night. The suicide bomber grew up in a Muslim home but was banned from his local mosque and reported by the community multiple times, but authorities didn’t act, according to the Telegraph.



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Muslim Global: Trump’s statement on Ramadan is almost entirely about terrorism
Trump’s statement on Ramadan is almost entirely about terrorism
Muslim Global
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