Identity Cards for Muslims?

Today’s ideas: identity cards and warrant-less detention and search for Muslim Americans and prison “camps” for asylum seekers:

Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, when asked, said he wouldn’t rule out forcing Muslim Americans to carry identity cards and subjecting them to warrantless search.

State Senator Elaine Morgan, RI, gestures at prison camps for Muslim refugees in an email. She also condemns all Muslims in general, thus blurring the line between Muslim refugees and Americans: “[t]he Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone is a non Muslim.” If the U.S. does “take these people in,” she adds, “we should set up refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous [sic].”

Mayor David Bowers of Roanake VA, in his order to keep Syrian refugees out of his city, evokes explicitly the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including 60,000 children, during WW2. Also blurring the line between foreigners and Americans, he calls them “foreign nationals” rather than U.S citizens: “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

What are we becoming?


Hassanaly Ladha is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut.