Ignatius: Trump’s Dangerous Islamophobia Helps the Islamic State
David Ignatius in the Washington Post:
Trump’s response to Sunday’s morning’s terrorist attack by Omar Mateen was initially an opportunistic tweet; then a boasting statement on his website, “I said this was going to happen”; followed by a renewed call to temporarily ban Muslim immigration, capped by a sinister insinuation Monday morning that President Obama should resign after the shooting because “there’s something going on.”
The presumptive Republican nominee tried to recover from these wild, off-the-cuff comments with a scripted speech Monday afternoon warning, without evidence, that his presumptive Democratic rival Hillary Clinton “wants radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country.” Trump professed support for law-abiding Muslim Americans but said that if they didn’t report on “bad” people within their midst, “these people have to have consequences, big consequences.”
…The strongest remaining force that propels the Islamic State is the Islamophobia of Trump and his European counterparts, argue senior intelligence strategists for the U.S.-led coalition. Inflammatory, xenophobic statements about Muslims reinforce the jihadists’ claims that they are Muslim knights fighting against an intolerant West. Trump unwittingly gives them precisely the role they dream about.
Trump doesn’t seem to understand that the real danger for the West is not the isolated acts of terror by disaffected youths, such as Mateen’s massacre in Orlando. That’s a threat to Americans, but one that can at least be mitigated some with better security and intelligence. The bigger nightmare happens if Muslims, as a whole, conclude that their community is under threat and respond as a group.