Just days after Sadiq Khan made history by becoming the first Muslim mayor of a major Western city, he came to a startling conclusion: As Mayor of London, he would be legally barred from entering the United States under a Donald Trump regime. Trump has repeatedly claimed that one of his first acts as president would be to enforce an immediate ban on Muslims from entering the United States until the country is safe. What constitutes “safe”? Only Trump knows and he isn’t saying.
In a blistering take down on Trump’s inherently fascist “Muslim ban” policy, Khan noted that it would be hard to do official state business in America if he was banned from, you know, going there because of his faith.
I want to go to America to meet with and engage with American mayors,” said Khan. If Donald Trump becomes the president, I’ll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can’t engage with American mayors and swap ideas.
The stunning premise of London’s mayor not being able to enter the United States because the Republican nominee for president wants to literally ban his faith prompted a New York Times reporter to ask Trump whether this insanity would get him to reconsider.
No, he answered. But he would think about making an “exception” for Sadiq Khan.
There will always be exceptions,” Mr. Trump said when asked in an interview on Monday how his proposed ban would affect London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
“I was happy to see that,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Khan’s election. “I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good.
At other times, Trump has claimed that other “exceptions” would include his rich Middle Eastern business partners. It seems a Trump presidency would involve Trump sitting in the Oval Office, painstakingly deciding which Muslims are the “good ones” on a case-by-case basis.
Khan rightfully responded by saying that making an exception just for him isn’t good enough. The Muslim ban itself was ethically abhorrent.
This isn’t just about me – it’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world,” Mr Khan said.
“Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe – it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists.
“Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam – London has proved him wrong.
Ironically, Trump’s blundering attempts to “keep America safe” are helping ISIS and other radicalized Islamic militant groups. Already, Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has appeared on ISIS recruitment videos. Creating an “us vs. them” mentality between the Middle East and the United States is exactly what these groups want. Trump’s the perfect guy to do it.
Khan is right to reject the dangerous extremism represented by Trump. “Exceptions” aren’t good enough. Muslims already live, work, visit, and vote in America. Banning an entire religion out of fear and ignorance is exactly the wrong approach. America needs to be better than that.
Featured image via Jack Taylor/Getty Images