Trump and the Hazards of Muslim Immigration

Donald Trump’s December 7 call for at least a temporary halt to all Muslim immigration to the United States reinforced his position as the presidential candidate most willing to ignore the stifling restrictions limiting American political discourse to boundaries set by the Left.  His proposal also aligned Trump with the thinking of an enormous segment of the American public … including and especially a large majority of likely Republican primary voters.

In a poll published by Rasmussen on December 10, 2015, 66% of Republican voters favored at least a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration to America (24% were opposed, 10% undecided); and 46% of the American electorate as a whole favored the same proposal, with 40% opposed and 10% undecided.

Once again, as with his proposal to deport illegal aliens and build a physical barrier on America’s southern border, Trump has proposed a measure congruent with the views of large majorities of his own Party and at least a substantial plurality of the entire American electorate. Once again, the Republican Party establishment -- presidential candidates, major office holders, large contributors, and paid consultants -- was caught flat-footed and out of touch. Who knew, after fifteen years of unabated Islamist terrorism all over the world, that large segments of the American public might question the prudence of continued substantial immigration from the Muslim world?  

The political establishment’s condemnation of Trump’s proposal was instantaneous and predictably consisted of single phrase epithets, ad hominem and empty invective: “…prejudiced and divisive…” (Clinton), “… xenophobia and racist (Sanders), “…fascist…” (O’Malley), “… unhinged…” (Bush), “…offensive and outlandish…” (Rubio), “…outrageous divisiveness…” (Kasich), and the list could go on.  Noticeably absent from the initial torrent of Republican vitriol was any substantive discussion of Trump’s actual proposal.

Which made it especially satisfying a week later to watch the December 15 Republican debate.  Given a week to read the polls and reflect a little, hysterical adjectives and sanctimonious hyperventilation had disappeared from the arsenals of Trump’s rivals in the main debate.  At the debate Trump stuck to his guns, and, with the exception of the irrelevant Lindsey Graham in the second tier debate, the critics of Trump’s proposal were suddenly timid and occasionally sympathetic. Cruz said he understood the basis for Trump’s proposal, and then reminded voters he had proposed banning refugees from any country where either ISIS or Al Qaeda controls substantial territory.  The most severe criticism Rubio could choke out was “… it’s not going to happen,” before quickly moving to less dangerous subjects. Even Jeb Bush, still critical, actually tried to articulate a real argument against Trump rather than repeat anything like his one word condemnation of a week earlier. In short, the candidates back-pedaled hard from their initial, ill-considered denunciations. If they were honest, they would have to concede that, yet again, Trump’s defiant indifference to PC strictures had moved discussion on a significant issue away from terms dictated by the Left and into the realm of reality.

Trump’s proposal deserves serious and thorough public debate.

Islam is inarguably unique among the world’s major religions in continuing to produce a steady stream of ideologically motivated mass killers. Islamist acts of violence continue to produce slaughter among its own contending factions and among the adherents of every other major religion (and of no religion), and that violence, far from abating, seems to be increasing in lethality and reach.  No sooner is one murderous Jihadist group apparently defeated (e.g., The Taliban, Al Qaeda) than others spring up (e.g., ISIS, Boko Haram). No other religious or ideological group is afflicted with anything remotely comparable to the cult of violence today emanating from Islam on every continent.  Islam’s leaders -- religious and political -- have shown little ability and less inclination to take the risks that might stem the spread, or diminish the allure, of the intolerant fundamentalism that undergirds Jihadist terror. “Moderate” Islamic voices, when they are heard at all, seem tardy, meek and ineffective. Islamic states that claim to be friends of the West, most notably, but not solely, Saudi Arabia -- continue to fund the Salafist version of Islam all over the world, including in Europe and America, a theology whose Quranic fundamentalism and intolerance leads directly to Jihadi violence.  

The idea of a ban, or at the very least a great reduction, in Muslim immigration to the West is long past due for serious consideration. The proposal is subject to reasonable debate, in scope, duration, and efficacy. But it is high time that debate was conducted, exhaustively and with reference to the facts. 

That Islam is beyond dispute the preeminent source of ideologically motivated terror in today’s world is beyond dispute. But another fact bearing directly on the wisdom of continuing to welcome Islamic immigration to the West is much less widely known or acknowledged.

The fiction that there is no substantial support among Muslims for terrorist atrocities

The trope that “overwhelming numbers of Muslims condemn terrorism,” manifestly false measured against mountains of polling data, refuses to go away. In one form or another it is trotted out by Jihadist apologists after each and every Islamist atrocity, always without factual support.   

Polls of Muslims in Western and majority Muslim countries consistently reveal numerically significant support for Islamic terrorism.  The percentage of Muslim support for terrorism may be “low” among Western Muslim communities (as is the consistent headline by the Pew Research Center, many of whose reports are cited below); but, given the size of those communities (e.g., at least 5 million in France, about 2.5 million in America), those percentages translate into significant absolute numbers of Muslim sympathizers for terrorism within all Muslim communities.

On this subject we don’t have to guess. Highly reputable polling firms -- indeed, firms such as Pew, which obviously wishes its results were different -- have studied Muslim attitudes for many years, in both Western and majority Muslim countries.  Their results, in plain view on the internet, are chilling.   But, like most facts that undermine the purely relativist multicultural narrative, the American Left and its  media allies refuse to acknowledge these facts, let alone to discuss their implications for continued mass migration of Muslims to the West.

Consider the following:

  1. In 2010  and 2011 the Pew Research Center (which a Slate writer described as “… one of the least biased, most reliable polling organizations in the country”) polled American Muslims and found that approximately 13% thought that under at least some circumstances acts of terrorism against civilians are justified. Assuming a U.S. Muslim population of approximately 2.5 million, that figure would translate into somewhat more than 300,000 American Muslims who, under some circumstances, support murderous attacks against civilians.  In the same 2011 survey 27% of US Muslims self-reported their belief that there was either a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of support for “extremism” within the US Muslim community.


  1. The attitudes toward terrorism among Muslims living in other Western countries are no more comforting.  Pew reports that in 2010 up to 35% of French Muslims, 25% of Spanish Muslims and 24% of British Muslims expressed some level of support for suicide attacks against civilians under some circumstances.


  1. And the BBC -- hardly noted for anti-Muslim bias -- sponsored a study of the attitudes of British Muslims on various subjects that found 32% of British Muslims did not express agreement with the statement, ”Acts of violence against those who publish images of the prophet can never be justified.” The same study revealed that among British Muslims 51% of the respondents could not agree with the statement, “Muslim clerics who preach that violence against the West can be justified are out of the mainstream.” 


  1. In 2005 the British government leaked a report that concluded, based in part on the Yougov polling firm’s work, that approximately 16,000 British Muslims were “willing or eager” to embrace violence in the effort to bring an end to “decadent and immoral” Western society.”


  1. In a poll published by Newsweek in August of 2014, 16% of French Muslims expressed favorable views of ISIS.


  1. A British polling firm found that one in four British Muslims believed the July 7, 2005 London train bombings were justified.


  1. A Dutch language Belgian newspaper reported in April of 2013 that 16% of young Muslims living in Belgium stated that “terrorism is acceptable.”


  1. Viewing the attitudes towards violence among Muslims in majority Muslim countries, Pew once again reported that in Afghanistan 39% of Muslims (who are 99% of the population) support suicide bombings in some circumstances while 29% of Egyptian Muslims do. Both countries continue to supply “refugees” to Europe and America.  


  1. In a 2013 survey Pew reports that 16% of Turks supported suicide bombings (up from 13% in 2012, which, disturbingly, was up from a “mere” 7% in 2010).  The trend in Turkey, a nation with a population of 77,000,000 that seeks entry to the EU, is not encouraging. By Pew’s 2013 survey, at least 10,000,000 Turks to one degree or another support terrorism against civilians.


  1. In a December 2013 publication, Pew released the results of its study of the attitudes of Muslims in 11 majority Muslim countries, with the finding that terrorist groups still enjoyed double-digit support in many: Specifically, among Egyptian Muslims 28% supported the Taliban, while in Indonesia that percentage was 20%. Despite widespread killing of Muslims, Al Qaeda enjoyed the support of 23% of Indonesians and 20% of Egyptians.


  1. In its most recent 2015 survey Pew reported the disturbing results of its survey on attitudes towards ISIS among Pakistani Muslims: 28% expressed a negative view of ISIS; 9% a positive view (that would translate to 19,000,000 Pakistani supporters of ISIS); while an overwhelming and worrying 62% expressed no opinion or refused to respond. In that same 2015 survey Pew reported that 20% of Nigerian Muslims hold a favorable opinion if ISIS (to which the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has sworn allegiance).  And in its 2015 survey, Pew reiterated its 2011 finding that 86% of American Muslims condemn acts of terrorism (i.e., 14%, to some degree, do not).

The foregoing is far from exhaustive of the information readily available in the public realm.  Much of it was drawn from the scrupulously non-ideological Pew Center.  The links above allow the reader to peruse and reflect for him/herself on the more detailed findings.  There is much more to be found, as anyone who spends an hour or two on Google with searches like “Muslim attitudes to terrorism” will discover. 

But some conclusions that are beyond reasonable doubt can be drawn:

  1. In the Muslim communities of the West -- Europe and America -- there is numerically significant support for atrocities against civilians, though the percentage of such support appears to remain low. In the US, some level of support for such acts appears to hover around 300,000 persons, based on the most recent Pew findings.  In Europe, given the higher percentages of such support for terrorism within European Muslim communities and the larger number of Muslims living in Europe, the number of European Muslims who to some degree support violence against civilians is much higher than in the US.


  1. In majority Muslim countries there is  even greater support for terrorist atrocities, including in at least one country seriously seeking membership in the European Union (Turkey), and two countries from whom substantial numbers of Muslims are presently moving, or seeking to move, into Europe (Afghanistan and Egypt). What the figures would be for the countries presently sending streams of refugees into the West (Syria and Iraq) is anyone’s guess.  But there is little reason to suppose those numbers would differ markedly from those known for nearby majority Muslim states (e.g., Turkey, Egypt).

The focus of this article has been the prudence of continued substantial Muslim migration to the West as that question is affected by only by two factors: Islam’s unique status as the source of world-wide, religiously/ideologically motivated terrorism; and the presence in Muslim communities of large numbers of those who sympathize with that terrorism.

At least two other considerations not dealt with here bear on the wisdom of continued Muslim immigration: First, the degree to which actual terrorists, as opposed to mere sympathizers, are secreting themselves within the minimally vetted masses now moving from the Middle East to the West; and second, the intensity of the desire of large percentages of Muslims already living in the West, and even larger percentages of those who wish to come, to live under Sharia law, a system of Islamic law indisputably at variance with Western values of religious freedom, equality of the sexes, and freedom of expression.  Both subjects would require separate articles, and both considerations would provide further support for Trump’s proposal.

But, considering only what we know now about Islam as a unique source of terror and about the attitudes towards that terror among all Muslim communities, Trump’s proposal deserves a thorough and intellectually honest public debate.  

We are long past the point where proposals to reduce or eliminate, at least for a time, Muslim immigration to the West can be dismissed with epithets such as “Islamophobia,” “xenophobia” or “bigotry.” Trump’s proposal arises out of unpleasant but unavoidable facts two of which are discussed above. Those presidential candidates, Republican or Democrat, who dismiss that proposal with the usual invective drawn from the Left’s phrase book are signaling their lack of either the analytical ability or the courage to lead the West in its current struggle with militant Islam.

Once again, in his brash indifference to the rules imposed by America’s self-appointed betters, Trump has raised an important issue.  Once again, whatever one thinks of him, the US electorate owes him a thank you note.