Dakota Meyer On Why Trump Is Wrong To Ban Muslims

In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
AP file photo by Alex Brandon

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

This, frankly, is the last straw in a high stack of ignorant mob panhandling ideas that have come out of his mouth since he announced his candidacy. Defending this idea in an interview with ABC News, Trump claimed that he is, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to ISIS.” The worst thing to happen to ISIS will be the resolve and heroic actions of our servicemen and women deployed there right now, and the thousands more ready to go. The worst thing to happen to ISIS will be a coalition of our allies relentless in their assault on this cowardly terrorist organization. The worst thing to happen to ISIS will be the entire world — including Muslims — coming together to defeat these thugs. Let’s be real — claiming Trump personally is the worst thing to happen to ISIS is more pompous than Obama claiming responsibility for the death of Osama bin Laden.

When I was deployed to Afghanistan in service of my country, a life Trump knows nothing about, I fought alongside Muslims and worked with Muslims. In Afghanistan, I fought alongside Afghan security force soldiers who were Muslim. We were working together to defeat the Taliban. Hell, once I got home, I did everything I could to bring my interpreter to the United States in turn for all that he did for me. Under your plan, he wouldn’t be allowed in the country.

Trump’s plan is an affront to the values I fought for, the values that I swore to defend. But you know what else? It wouldn’t even work. If a terrorist were trying to enter this country, and immigration officials asked his religion, you think he would really say Muslim? Can Trump stand there and tell me he knows the difference between a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew if all three were from the Middle East? No, he couldn't. Banning Muslims would be a direct infringement on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Trump’s plan is exactly what ISIS wants. They want to be able to tell Muslims that the United States doesn’t want them, doesn’t welcome them, that this is a fight between Islam and the West. But I'm sure he doesn’t concern himself with details.

We need real solutions and real leadership. The fear in this country is real, the threat of terrorism is real, the problems are real. Even if Trump is right and the systems of immigration and entering this country are broken, that’s not a reason to exclude an entire religious class. If that’s the case, we need to stop anyone from entering the country. I’ve been critical of accepting Syrian refugees, and that’s still something I’m concerned about, but labeling a whole religion is wrong. Ultimately, in addressing our problems, we need solutions that are detailed and principled and in line with our values. Fear won’t win.

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