Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun (Australia)
More fake news today about Donald Trump. The media is raging that Trump has imposed a “Muslim ban”. It’s also jeering that his ban hits the wrong countries. Both claims are completely false or misleading.
For a start, there is no ban on Muslims. Trump’s executive order nowhere mentions “Muslims”. Read it yourself. Nor does it affect Muslims from the vast majority of countries, including Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
To repeat: there is no “Muslim ban”, and journalists and politicians who use that phrase are either lying or clueless. They are not reporting but trying to incite hatred or pander to prejudice.
The decree suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days while tough vetting rules are established.
The new protocols “ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.” In addition, they specifically bar Syrian refugees from the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat.
Meanwhile, no visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
So this “ban” – actually a suspension – affects just seven countries while the US figures how to properly vet people coming from them.
But cue the fake news – and false claims:
According to statistics tallied by the conservative-leaning Cato Institute, not one American was killed on US soil by citizens from any of those countries between 1975 and 2015.
However, the same set of statistics show that nearly 3000 Americans were killed by citizens from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey in the same time period — with the bulk of those killed being victims of the September 11 attacks. Yet, people from those four countries are still able to apply for US visas and travel permits.
This criticism, fast gaining traction in the media, comes from people who clearly fail to understand the “ban”.
First, though, let’s deal with the untruth of the claim.
In fact, terrorists from Yemen and Yemeni families have helped to kill thousands of US citizens in the US in the September 11 attacks, and more in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Al Qaeda in Yemen (AQY) was a militant Islamist group based in Yemen and the Yemeni branch of the Al Qaeda (AQ) franchise from 2000 until 2009 when it merged with its Saudi counterpart to create Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)… Osama bin Laden [from a Yemeni father and Syrian mother] identified Yemen as a desirable location to headquarter his organization.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan … injured 11 people in a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University [last year]… Artan was a Somali immigrant… Artan is the 74th Somali-American or Somali resident of the U.S. who has been credibly implicated in terror-related activity since 1997.
But if the “wrong countries” argument is to be taken seriously, then the journalists should argue that Trump’s “Muslim ban” should be much broader:
The San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people was carried out by an American-born US citizen of Pakistani descent and a lawful permanent US resident of Pakistani descent. The Orlando nightclub shooter who murdered 49 people was an American-born US citizen of Afghan descent. The Boston marathon bombers, who identified as ethnic Chechen, came to the US from Kyrgyzstan and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before carrying out attacks that left three dead. The militant who killed four Marines during a shooting spree in Tennessee was a Kuwaiti-born US citizen whose parents were Palestinian and Jordanian.
Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber, was Pakistani-American. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the infamous “underwear bomber,” was Nigerian… Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009, was born in Virginia to Palestinian parents.
And the 9/11 hijackers? Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon, and one was Egyptian. Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen, and his top deputies — including the current leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were Egyptian.
But here’swhere the critics expose their own deceit or ignorance. The fact that the countries that produced these Muslim terrorists are not affected by Trump’s executive order proves that this is not a “Muslim ban” at all. These Muslim countries are not affected.
So why is Syria on the list but Egypt, say, is not?
Because Trump has singled out chaotic countries where record-checking in hard, if not impossible, when vetting its citizens. Egypt is not Syria, just like Jordan is not war-plagued Yemen.
If Saudi Arabia’s omission sounds wrong, consider how crucial its support is in the war against the Islamic State and in resisting terrorism-sponsor Iran’s attempt to become a nuclear-armed regional hegemony. It would be mad to put it off-side.
What Trump has in fact done is demand a review on how best to vet travellers from countries with poor record-keeping and a history of dangerous extremism.
Yes, all are Muslim-majority countries, but don’t such countries produce most terrorists? Which non-Muslim countries do Trump haters think should be included?
Journalists and activists are sobbing and sneering, but I suspect many Australians will wonder why we are not doing the same. For a start, weren’t Muslim refugees behind the the Lindt cafe siege, the murder of Curtis Cheng and the stabbing of two police at Endeavour Hills?