The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.
Donald Trump has led Islamophobic rhetoric in the United States since he began his 2016 presidential campaign. From making promises of a Muslim ban and going to the trouble of creating three different versions until one passed, to proposing the idea of a Muslim database and recklessly claiming that “Islam hates us,” Trump has been on an anti-Muslim us versus them warpath from the very start.
Trump’s attitude toward Muslim Americans has been terrifying for those who identify as such. In order for Trump to successfully lead this tirade against Muslims, he has filled his cabinet with officials who are well known for their disdain of Islam — Mike Flynn and Katharine Gorka are just a few examples.
Earlier this week, Trump’s administration revealed a panel created to analyze and advise the president on America’s policies in regards to human rights. When the concept of the panel is explained, it sounds like a step in the right direction, especially considering America’s current situation at the border with migrants.
But the advisors who have been appointed to be on this border raise some questions. After spending countless of years villifying Islam, he has appointed Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson as one of the few religious advisors to sit on this panel.
Shocking? That’s to say the very least. But the irony of it all is just this: that Trump has spent years claiming that Islam is evil, and that the religion and its followers are sick, but yet he has chosen a Muslim to be one of his advisors in regards to human rights.
For a man who spent so much time preaching about the dangers of Islam and Muslims in the United States, why would Trump want a Muslim advisor on a human rights panel? It brings into question what Trump’s intentions are with taking on a Muslim advisor. Is this just a PR stunt to show diversity within his administration, or does he genuinely want an Islamic perspective on human rights within American public policy?
It’s laughable to believe that Donald Trump is attempting to make a genuine, good-hearted attempt to diminish his anti-Islam rhetoric considering he dedicated so much time, money, and resources to push that rhetoric onto the American people. In fact, his “us versus them” rhetoric is one of the things he was elected for.
At the end of May 2019, Trump tweeted out his intention to run for re-election. And perhaps, it is in that announcement that we have an answer. What could be more easily believed is that this brow-raising move is Trump preparing for re-election. Having a Muslim on the panel could be translated as an attempt to broaden his target audience. Perplexing? Perhaps. But in an administration as chaotic as this one, who’s to say?
No one outside of Trump’s administration knows the true reason behind this political move, but then again, no politician has ever made a move without thinking about how it would benefit them and their image; least of all President Trump.