Not So Simple Truths
The genius of Trump’s attacks on Muslims is that they force responses that, though positive, are formulated by the terms he dictates. He is always in control of the conversation. Muslims are terrorists; no, they’re peace-loving. Muslims are unpatriotic; no, they serve in the army. Muslim women are oppressed; no, they’re empowered. For all the electric variety of Trump’s insinuations (and they are always insinuations, too obvious to miss and too subtle to condemn), they all ultimately orbit the same nucleus of xenophobic paranoia. The rebuttals are as shallow as the assertions; the caricature of the “foreign terrorist” is switched out for the caricature of the “pacifist assimilationist.” Both are labels as meaningless as they are crude, and the dichotomy that they construct drains a 1,400-year-old religion, and its followers, of all complexity.