A poll released on Wednesday revealed that 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters support Donald Trump’s call “for a temporary ban on all Muslims who are citizens of foreign countries from entering the United States.” Overall, 37 percent of Americans support the immigration proposal, with 50 percent opposing; another 13 percent said they didn’t know.
The media are already having a field day labeling all of Trump’s supporters Islamophobic. Those supporters should be used to it by now, having been labeled racist after Trump’s comments about Mexican illegal immigrant participation in crime and his vocal opposition to a Black Lives Matter protester.
But this time, the media have gone too far. It’s one thing to oppose Trump’s proposal, as I do, for reasons including its massive impact on our intelligence-gathering apparatus at home and abroad. It’s another thing to act as though everyone who backs a moratorium on Muslim immigration from abroad is a flaming bigot.
Here are three reasons that’s an overreach:
Americans Are Right to Be Concerned About Radical Islam. Obviously, radical Islam threatens Westerners. From Paris to San Bernardino to London to Jerusalem, radical Muslims have been attacking Westerners regularly. But the left suggest that threat is overblown. President Obama continually downplays the threat, suggesting that radical Muslims are a mere tiny fraction of the overall Islamic population; the media proclaim over and over that distinguishing radical Muslims from non-radical Muslims should be easy, and that radical Muslims are an aberration generally. Even Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Tuesday, “The vast, vast, vast, vast majority [of Muslims worldwide] … believe in pluralism, freedom, democracy, individual rights.” That’s absolute nonsense, as I’ve explained before. Hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide believe in principles that are at odds with those of the West.
Americans Are Right Not to Trust Our Authorities to Keep Us Safe. We now know that Syed Farook, an American citizen, reportedly reached out to another man in 2012 to plan a terrorist attack. We know he was radicalized years in advance of his meeting with Tashfeen Malik. According to FBI director James Comey, the charming couple were “talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and married and were living in the U.S.” We know that she traveled into the country, and they quickly began moving toward pursuing their terrorist goals. We know that she passed a K-1 visa background check using a phony address. We know that the authorities told us they were acting alone, though we also know that they received a $28,500 loan from an online lender just before the shooting. We also know that Farook transferred three payments of $5,000 to his mother.
Americans Are Right to Worry About Radicalization of Muslims Even in the West. The Charlie Hebdo attackers Said and Cherif Kouachi were born and radicalized in France. At least five of the attackers in Paris weeks ago were French nationals. Terrorists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were born and raised in Britain before they decided to hack to death fusilier Lee Rigby in the middle of London. Crime rates all over Europe have risen as Islamic immigration has risen. Western Muslims may be significantly less extreme than Muslims from Islamic countries, but they are still far more statistically likely to be radical than Western non-Muslims.
There are very good reasons to oppose Donald Trump’s plan. And it is possible that some agree with Trump’s plan out of pure hatred of individual Muslims. But it is not bigotry to worry about the huge number of Muslims worldwide who believe in radical Islamic principles or to worry about the incompetence of the government to vet those who enter America. It is not bigotry to ask questions about the relationship between Islam and Islamic radicalism. Attributing bigoted motives to Americans who are rationally worried about the terror threat is perversity of the highest order.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News, Editor-in-Chief of DailyWire.com, and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.