In his first oversees trip US President Donald Trump bounced along to a Saudi sword dance. Like his predecessor, Barack Obama, Donald Trump received the highest civilian honor, the order of Abdulaziz al-Saud.
Trump placed immense distance between himself and the virulent anti Muslim rhetoric that was the hallmark of his election campaign. When President Obama skipped the funeral of Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, Trump tweeted “ I wonder if President Obama would have attended the funeral of Justice Scalia it were held in a Mosque”.
Trump acknowledged that Saudi Arabia is home is home to the holiest sites for one of the world’s great faiths. Trump has a newfound fondness for Muslims. Trump declared that America was adopting “Principled Realism” and decisions will be “based on real-world outcomes, not inflexible ideology”.
In his Saudi Arabia speech Trump said “I have always heard abut the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place”. Trump moved from “Islam hates us” to “young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free of fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred”.
Owing to his tremendous learning during his trip to the Muslim world I hope President trump would understand that when we see masses fleeing from war, plunder, blood drenched earth, murder and rape we see innocent men and women, and children who must be shown compassion.
Acts of terrorism and war anywhere demean all that is holy everywhere. Show compassion Mr. Trump. Unclench your fist. Lift the travel ban and welcome refugees because in your own words Muslims have “borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence”.
Trump’s message on terrorism to the over 50 Muslim countries was unequivocal. According to Trump, it’s a battle between good and evil and, the choice between features. Trump further declared, “terrorists do not worship God, they worship death”.
The solution, according to Trump, a better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. He urged Muslim leaders to drive extremists “out of your places of worship and drive them out of this earth”.
While we must demand action from Muslim leaders, it is also important for Trump to completely and sincerely restrain himself from spreading anti Muslim rhetoric of hatred that appeals to his political base, and fueled his election victory.
The root causes of violent extremism are complex. They cannot be supplanted by military assault alone. If Trump is sincere he must walk the hard and long road to help Muslim societies to build stronger economies and deepen civil liberties. The dreams and aspirations of hundreds of millions of Muslim children, especially girls must flourish.
We all must hope that this is not some phony dial back or re-set just to close arms trade deals with governments of the Muslim world.