The liberal argument that President Donald Trump's order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries will be used as an ISIS recruitment tool "doesn't stand up to scrutiny," one scholar contends.
In an article for The Atlantic, Simon Cotton, a visiting senior fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College, argues the ban doesn't make America less safe, as one critic wrote in the Boston Globe — but it does make American Muslims less safe by demonizing them.
"[H]ateful and polarizing rhetoric has cleared the path for a violent blowback aimed not at non-Muslim Americans, but at ordinary, decent Muslims who even liberal Americans can't help but implicitly demonize as terrorists-in-the-making," he writes.
Cotton contends "conventional liberal wisdom" is right on one point — that the ban "will deal a massive injustice to hundreds of genuine asylum-seekers fleeing war and genocide."
"But the argument that it will aid ISIS recruitment just doesn't stand up to scrutiny," he writes.
According to Cotton, the liberal logic is incorrect, first, because it wrongly assumes average Muslims "are 'pushed' or 'driven' to extremes by forces beyond their control.
He writes also the liberals' anti-ban view also assumes "an overly simplistic understanding of jihadist radicalization," writing that it is ""far more complex" and "cannot be reduced to secular political grievances."
And, he writes, "far from 'gifting' ISIS" with a propaganda tool to recruit young Muslims, "what the ban has in fact given it is a poisoned chalice."
"In America, it has generated a raft of critical commentary from leading politicians, and and it has provoked a wave of vociferous protests in major cities that has brought Muslims and non-Muslims together in solidarity," he writes.
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