Donald Trump's comments to MSNBC created an uproar, and criticism was swift — the White house, Hillary Clinton, some Republican leaders, and social media all piled on.
But the vetting process for Muslims who enter the country could use scrutiny.
First, here is what Trump said exactly: “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."
There was a clear conditional phrase in his statement: “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses.”
If Trump was against all Muslims, he would not have used this phrase, and his rejection to the entry of Muslims into the country would have been unconditional.
In other words, the statement convey a message that there is no problem for entering Muslims as long as the vetting process is accurate enough to prevent terrorists from coming into country.
This for me, as a medical doctor, is like preventing people who live in certain areas in the world that have serious infection from entering the country until thorough medical analysis is done to prevent those who are infected from entering the country.
The White House stance is that what he said is unconstitutional and disqualifies him from the presidential race. But the most fundamental job of the president is to protect American citizens.
This may necessitate measures to prevent those who may carry serious infection from entering the country.
The weakness in the vetting process that worries Trump can be clearly understood when we know that the FBI had interviewed the now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years before the attack and failed to find any incriminating information about him.
I, as a Muslim reformer living in America, can see that Trump's comments were predominantly about the vetting process more than about Muslims as a whole.
On the positive side of Trump comments, many decision-makers in the Muslim world may actually start to realize that their delay in treating the ideology that breeds terrorism can end in confrontations with major powers in the world such as the United States.
This may actually encourage them to start confronting radical ideology and the religious interpretations that causes violence as President Obama has suggested to them in his latest speech. "This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al-Qaida promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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