Extreme
Vetting

Clinton calls Trump plan a “gift to ISIS”

Clinton calls Trump plan for Muslims ‘a gift to ISIS’

When asked at Sunday’s presidential debate about how to reach Muslim-Americans amid the country’s ongoing, 15-year war on terror, both candidates made their positions clear: Donald Trump described American Muslims as a potentially disloyal clique while Hillary Clinton described them as useful allies against the nation’s enemies.

Trump’s answer to the young Muslim woman who posed the question: “We can be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem … Muslims have to report the problems when they see them. If they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country.”

Trump’s remarks suggested that Muslims refrain from “reporting” terror-related “problems.” No one at the debate pointed out that it was Alioune Niasse, a Senegalese Muslim New Yorker, who notified city police about suspicious activity during an attempted Times Square bomb plot in 2010.

Clinton, meanwhile, emphasized acceptance of all Muslim-Americans, but she led with praise for Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan, a soldier who died serving in Iraq and whose family Trump notably attacked. And Clinton repeated the point that Muslims are great allies in killing “violent jihadist terrorists.”

“I intend to defeat ISIS, to do so in a coalition with majority-Muslim nations,” Clinton said, saying that Trump’s talk of banning Muslim immigrants and his squabbling with the Khan family alienated potential Muslim friends.

Trump went on the defensive: “First of all, Captain Kahn is an American hero and if I were president at this time, he would be alive today because unlike her, who voted for the war without knowing what she was doing, I would not have had our people in Iraq.”

That didn’t sit well with Clinton, but it went over even worse with her foreign policy spokesperson, Jesse Lehrich, who tweeted: “[H]ey, @realDonaldTrump – regarding your claim that Captain Khan would be alive if you were president: go fuck yourself.”

Lehrich soon followed up: “I want to apologize for the clearly inappropriate nature and language of this personal tweet. Sorry all.”

The question on Islamophobia soon mutated into a conversation about Syrian refugees, since the latest flavor of Islamophobia tends to focus on the idea of undesirable, “radical” Muslim immigrants from that country infiltrating America.

Debate moderator Martha Raddatz asked Trump about his widely discussed proposal last December to ban “all Muslims” from entering the United States. (The ban proposal is still on his website.)

“It’s called extreme vetting,” Trump said, getting snippy with the moderators. “We are going to areas like Syria. Where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands because of Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton wants to allow a 550 percent increase over Obama.”

Summing up his attitude on refugees and, in many cases, Muslim-Americans writ large, Trump said: “We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.”

Clinton claimed that Trump’s rhetoric on Islam is being used by extremist groups to recruit new followers. “This is a gift to ISIS and the terrorists,” she said.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Jesse Lehrich had deleted a tweet. He did not.

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