During last night’s laughable collection of stump speeches and childish potshots that was ostensibly billed as a “debate,” abrasive business tycoon Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his plan to close our borders to all Muslims, be they tourists or immigrants. Nobel Prize winner and world famous women’s activist Malala Yousafzai had a gentle rebuke for the churlish buffoon, which she shared with the Guardian and Channel 4 News:
Well, that’s really tragic that you hear these comments which are full of hatred, full of this ideology of being discriminative towards others. There are these terrorist attacks happening, for example what happened in Paris or what happened in Peshawar a year ago. If we want to end terrorism we need to bring quality education so we defeat the mindset of the terrorism mentality and of hatred.
I can just highlight one thing. The more you speak about Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists we create.
So it’s important that whatever politicians say, whatever the media say, they should be really, really careful about it. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it because it cannot stop terrorism. It will radicalize more terrorists.
Few know terrorism as well as Ms. Yousafzai does. A longtime advocate for girls’ education, her parents operated a chain of schools in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan. As the region began to fall to an onslaught of Taliban marauders, she began secretly blogging for the BBC about life under the extremist group, which led to her getting shot by a Taliban assassin. She survived the wound and later escaped with her family to the United Kingdom, where she continues to advocate for women’s rights and against the ideology of terrorism to this day.
Ms. Yousafzai is absolutely right- Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson’s constant anti-Muslim rhetoric and pugilistic pronouncements are just playing right into the hands of Daesh and other terror groups – to the point that they appear to be complicit in the terrorists’ plot to cripple our country and provoke a colossal multinational war. The right-wing’s utter rejection of basic empirical facts and all the lessons that we learned so painfully over the past ten years is criminally ignorant and a downright disgrace to the our legislative institutions.
Closing our borders and following the “plans” of the Republican presidential candidates like Ben Carson, who wishes to invade Daesh territory and declared last night that we have a “phobia” of putting boots on the ground, or like Ted Cruz, who calls for monstrous and strategically idiotic “carpet bombing” campaigns that would murder thousands of innocent civilians, is exactly what the terrorists want us to do.
The Republican Party is falling for their bait – hook, line, and sinker, just as Bush and his neocon cronies did after 9/11. They have learned nothing from all the trillions we wasted in the Iraqi and Afghan wars, learned nothing from the thousands of Americans who gave their lives only to see Fallujah and Ramadi and Kunduz fall under terrorist control once more – and they are absolutely delusional if they think that the same failed strategies will produce different results.
Her descriptions of life under the Taliban are harrowing, and are simply more proof of why we must allow refugees to resettle in our country. Her family and millions like them fled barbarism in the most wild and untamed land in the world, where terror reigns and non-religious education is persecuted, in order to find peace and stability in the West. Who are we to deny them that opportunity over exaggerated fears of terrorism? If we close our borders and leave innocent refugees in the hands of groups like Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) and the Taliban, then we are just as responsible for their suffering as the extremists are for inflicting it. It is our moral responsibility to protect our fellow humans from the evils of discrimination, torture, and terror; the exaggerated fears of craven politicians looking for jumps in the poll must not distract us from that duty.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.