Putting aside its absurdity, what’s interesting about Trump’s statement that “Islam hates us” is that for him, as for many others, the category “us” or “we Americans” excludes Muslim Americans. Why would anyone think that millions of Muslims American citizens aren’t Americans?

I was recently assured by a young political leader that “we Americans can’t win this fight without you Muslims.” To understand how it feels to be on the other end of that statement, substitute the word “Muslim” with a reference to any other group, eg. “We Americans can’t win this fight without you African Americans.” Or “without you Latinos.” See, it doesn’t feel good.

As far as Trump’s actual sentiment, anyone who has traveled to or studied Muslim countries knows that the vast majority of Muslims in those countries think highly of Americans and lionize American culture. A number of Muslims don’t like our foreign policy very much, just as many don’t like their own governments (including some particularly repressive and ideologically dangerous regimes that we prop up militarily, like Saudi Arabia.) There isn’t much of what, say, the show Homeland represents about the “hatred” of “the Muslim world” that’s even remotely accurate. That’s why most of the tens of thousands of Muslims that immigrate to the United States each year assimilate quite well into American culture.

3/10/2016

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store