LAMIYA SHABBIR WRITES – Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and proposed changes to the country’s immigration and visa policies. While millions of his supporters have cheered the proposal, most Democrats and even many top Republican figures have opposed it.

Among Muslims, there is widespread concern over Trump’s campaign success generally, and the proposed ban in particular. While in theory it’s meant to keep out terrorists — especially those who might sneak in with, for example, a future wave of Syrian refugees — such a ban would affect all Muslims, including thousands from Pakistan.

According to the non-profit Migration Policy Institute, approximately 453,000 Pakistani immigrants and their children – first and second generation – live in the United States, and Pakistan-born individuals account for about 0.8 percent of the United States total foreign born population. Sixty-three percent of Pakistani immigrants are U.S citizens, making them among the most naturalized of all immigrant groups in the U.S.

On Easter Sunday, dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park when a Taliban suicide bomber detonated near the entrance of the park. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “Another radical Islamic attack, this time in Pakistan, targeting Christian women & children. At least 67 dead,400 injured. I alone can solve.”

 

Asma Jahangir, the prominent human-right activist, called Trump’s remark “absurd”. She said, “This is the worst kind of bigotry mixed with ignorance, I would imagine that someone who is hoping to become president of the U.S. doesn’t want to compete with an ignorant criminal-minded mullah of Pakistan who denounces people of other religions.”

Trump’s “Muslim ban” is far more dangerous than it seems. He has popped the bubble of racism in the United States and has said what all Muslims fear and many people believe but were too polite or afraid to say in public. A public policy polling reported in February that 56 percent of Republicans in South Carolina believe that Islam should be illegal in the United States, or are not sure that it should be legal.

As these ideas become more acceptable to a large number of Trump supporters, people are emboldened to act on them. This tolerance of casual bigotry against Muslims not only affects Muslims from Pakistan in America, but those from many different regions around the world.

A Pakistani posted his views on Donald Trump by expressing his emotions on Trump’s wild claims to insult all Muslims and his claim of Pakistan as being the “most dangerous country in the world.” In response, the writer said, “Pakistan has been suffering from malevolent attacks for many years. In late 2014, a group of terrorists infiltrated a school in Peshawar and brutally massacred over a hundred students. In response, we cracked down on the people responsible. We did not need to indiscriminately attack an entire region to get rid of possible evil elements, although we often receive evidence of external forces conspiring against our nation”.

Youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, said, “It’s important that whatever politicians say, whatever the media say, they should be really, really, really careful about it. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it because it cannot stop terrorism. It will radicalize more terrorists”. Not only there are many Muslims serving in U.S armed forces, dying for this country, but also many Muslims are working in the U.S. government, fighting for the constitution and defending it. It is very upsetting that a front-running presidential candidate, like Donald Trump, is generalizing all Muslims on the basis of a few individuals’ acts of terrorism.