Donald Trump Jr.’s rifle shows how obsessed the right still is with the Crusades

Over the weekend, Donald Trump Jr. picked up a rifle inscribed with medieval Christian iconography, a molded knight’s helmet and a magazine picturing Hillary Clinton behind bars, and went shooting. He shared the photos of this weapon on Instagram.

This gun, dubbed the “Crusader,” has been in the news before, when it caused controversy for its anti-Islamic imagery. This new version, as with the original, was marketed as something to be used by American citizens against Islamic terrorists and is described on the seller’s website as “inspired by some of the most fierce warriors who fought in nearly 200 years of epic conflicts known as the Crusades. … Technology evolves, warriors never change.”

The key element here is the molded helmet. Unlike actual helmets of the 12th century, which would almost all have been quite similar to those shown in the Bayeux Tapestry, the helmet on the gun fully encloses the face. It’s a much later type of helmet — and one that importantly speaks not to the real Middle Ages but to an Internet fantasy version. Specifically, it iconographically winks at the popular “Deus vult” rallying cry and “Templar” meme that is hurled at Muslims by white supremacists in the United States and Europe, directed at political leftists in Brazil and even scrawled on the walls of a Planned Parenthood facility last week, allegedly by an extremist who tried to burn the building down.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Trump impeachment: Here’s what Arab and Muslim Americans say about it

By 
Umar A Farooq, , Ali Harb

impeach_afpCandidate Donald Trump vowed to ban Muslims from coming into the United States. President Trump imposed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries within a week of taking the oath of office.

He has also implemented several policies that caused suffering and outrage across Arab and Muslim communities in the United States. Over the past three years, the US president has drastically reduced the number of refugees admitted into the country, recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and signed an executive order that may threaten the right to Palestinian activism on American college campuses.

Still, Arab- and Muslim-American activists do not seem overly enthused about the impeachment proceedings in Congress against the 45th president of the United States.

With Trump’s Republican Party standing firmly behind him, the chances of removing the president from office are close to zero.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives succeeded in impeaching Trump on Wednesday, making him the third president to ever be impeached. But impeachment, which the US Constitution grants solely to the House, is only half the process. Cutting a president’s term short requires a conviction – by two-thirds of the votes – after a trial in the Senate.

As things stand, more than half of the senators in the Republican-controlled chamber vehemently reject the charges against Trump.

In fact, it’s not even clear if Senate Republicans will allow witnesses to testify against the president.

House Democrats started the impeachment inquiry against Trump in September, following reports that he pressured Ukraine to investigate the son of his prospective 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The administration had held up the aid to Ukraine, Democrats say, to get the Eastern European country’s leaders to deliver a political favour to Trump.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MIDDLE EAST EYE

Statistics show that Trump’s “travel ban” was always a Muslim ban

RTX3Z4ML-e1572281662504Did President Donald Trump’s travel ban—in place now for more than 22 months—become, in practice, a Muslim ban?

The third version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban went into full effect on Dec. 8, 2017.

The list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the United States include Muslim-majority countries Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

Now that time has passed, policymakers, political scientists like myself, and all Americans can start to understand the ban’s effects.

Was it actually a Muslim ban, as it was called at the time it was introduced? Or was that just an anti-Trump label? What percentage of people from those banned countries did pass the “enhanced vetting” and get an actual visa to enter the United States?

Sharp decline

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs regularly provides data on the number of visas issued for all countries.

Based on the data the agency provides for the fiscal year, the number of immigrant visas issued for the country of Iran decreased by 78% between 2017 and 2018.

Chart showing decline in US visas issues to Iranian citizens

Netflix’s ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ explores friendship, Islam, and religious extremism

GhostLandStill1The emboldening of bigotry and hatred is just one of the toxic facets that the current president of the United States campaigns upon. One of the targets of this hate is the Muslim community. From his earlier days of attempting to “slander” Barack Obama by claiming he was secretly Muslim, to his “Muslim ban” of 2017, Donald Trump has used this community to play upon fear and xenophobia. The new Netflix documentary Ghosts of Sugar Land briefly attempts to explore the ramifications of an anti-Muslim atmosphere through an intimate lens of friendship, personal faith, and extremism in the town of Sugar Land, Texas. The results are mixed, but provide impactful moments to inspire conversation.

Directed and co-written by independent filmmaker Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk), with co-writer Thomas Niles (Phantom Cowboys) the short documentary provides testimony of a group of suburban Muslims from the town of Sugar Land as they attempt to reconcile the disappearance of a close friend and the consequences of his actions. Their friend, given the codename Mark in the film, is Warren Christopher Clark. Clark is a young Black man and childhood friend of the group who, in 2018, would go on to travel to Syria to join the extremist organization Islamic State (ISIS). Clark would eventually be captured by U.S.-backed forces in Syria and forced to face charges of terrorism. The film was produced shortly before Clark’s capture.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PEOPLES’ WORLD 

‘Shame on Him’: Evangelicals Call Out Trump on Syria

merlin_162115866_52d5b7d1-2d22-43a1-b69d-83fa3ad7c3a9-jumboOne called President Trump’s decision “an egregious act of betrayal.” Another said the policy could be “the biggest mistake of his presidency.” A third said Mr. Trump “is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven.”

Conservative Christians have ardently stood by Mr. Trump at most every turn, from allegations of sexual misconduct to his policy of separating migrant families at the border and the Russia investigation.

But this week, some of Mr. Trump’s top evangelical supporters broke rank to raise alarms over his move to withdraw troops from Syria, which prompted Turkish forces to launch a ground and air assault against a Kurdish-led militia that has been a crucial ally in the American fight against ISIS.

As Turkish warplanes began to bomb Syrian towns on Wednesday, the prominent evangelist Franklin Graham called for Mr. Trump to reconsider his decision, and worried that the Kurds — and the Christian minorities in the region they have defended — could be annihilated.

“We have many friends in the Kurdish areas,” said Mr. Graham, whose humanitarian organization, Samaritan’s Purse, has done relief work in the region. “We know people on the ground.”

The concern resonated for many conservative evangelicals who have supported Mr. Trump, and called into question his much-touted commitment to religious freedom, a top value for his base. The opposition has arrived at an inopportune time for the president. The administration is weathering a heated battle with Congress, and according to a Fox News poll, more than half of voters now support the president’s impeachment.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

TRUMP WANTS YOU TO THINK ALL MUSLIMS HATE JEWS. TAKE IT FROM A U.S. MARINE: THAT’S A BLATANT LIE | OPINION

trump-quote-muslim_3520951b

To some public figures in our country, it’s forever open season on Muslims in America. Jeannine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and even our President continue to disingenuously portray Islam as a threat to all Americans. But should you really fear the brown guy sitting next to you on the airplane (and Muslims come in all skin colors); your Muslim coworker, the kid at school with the “funny” name, your next-door neighbor?

Muslims currently make up a little over 1 percent of the total U.S. population. The fact that their representation has finally started making headway in our government has triggered hysteria that shows no signs of abating, particularly amongst the many Republicans who seem to be making some shabby sort of career out of bullying Muslims and immigrants.

But President Trump and his loyal supporters aren’t just bullying a minority, though this would have been bad enough. They are pitting their fellow Americans against one another, sowing division that undermines everything we’re supposed to stand for as a country.

There is no shortage of examples, but one in which Trump managed to offend both Jews and Muslims in the same breath readily springs to mind. At a press conference last month, he went on this memorable tangent: “…where has the Democratic Party gone, where have they gone, where their defending these two people [ Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib] over the State of Israel. And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

The statement sent shockwaves throughout America. Both Jewish and Muslim Americans felt targeted by the Presidents comments. Jewish Americans that voted in favor of Democrats were being labeled as “disloyal” to the United States. Muslim Americans sat horrified at the onslaught of yet another Islamophobic attack by their President.

Pitting Americans against one another goes against the core principles instilled in me as a United States Marine. And questioning the loyalty of both Jewish and Muslim Americans to America by invoking the “you’re either with us, or against us” mindset is a dangerous game that puts the very core of what America is supposed to be about at risk.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK 

Most U.S. Muslims are patriots. Asking them to choose between faith and nation has a pernicious consequence.

August 23

5CR4WBV3ZAI6TDUDJZTIP2MYCQDuring his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has frequently targeted the Muslim community, both within and outside the United States. In 2015, Trump famously indicated he might support a “database” of Muslims living in the United States. In 2017, he succeeded in imposing restrictions on travelers to the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries.

More recently, Trump has targeted two Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). They were among four Democratic members who he said in July should “go back” to their home countries, although all but Omar were born in the United States. Then just last week, he attacked them again and seemingly persuaded Israel not to allow them entry as part of a congressional delegation.

Implicit in Trump’s comments, and in much of the criticism of Tlaib and Omar, is that they are not fully “American.” This is a problematic implication for two reasons. First, surveys show that, in fact, Muslim Americans are highly patriotic and mirror non-Muslims socioeconomically. Second, new research shows that even implicitly framing Muslim and American identities as separate may reduce Muslim Americans’ willingness to engage in politics.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST