Donald Trump says he will fight ISIS and all forms of Islamic extremism, but what he doesn’t understand is that one cannot bomb an ideology – certain individuals may die, but the fundamental idea lives on. The United States needs to elect a leader in 2016 that can utilize the United States military to contain ISIS in Iraq and Syria and can also take on the ideology of ISIS and prove it to be inferior to democracy. Trump will be unable to fulfil these criteria because his views are actually similar to those of ISIS. His worldview is more aligned with Islamic extremism than it is with the US Constitution.
Firstly, Islamic militant extremists believe in an ideology known as Islamic fundamentalism (or Wahhabism) which incorporates social, political, structural and religious ideals. The core teaching of Islamic fundamentalism is as follows, “Islam must have power in this world. It is the true religion—the religion of God—and its truth is manifest in its power. When Muslims believed, they were powerful. Their power has been lost in modern times because true Islam has been abandoned. But if Muslims now return to the original Islam, they can preserve and even restore their power.”
Therefore, Islamic fundamentalists believe themselves to be superior to others of different religious or geographical backgrounds. They want to create states based around core tenets of authoritarianism, expansionism, militarism and global imperialism. They also want the person, or people, in charge of governance to be Islamic and desire no political diversity – other ideologies and religions should not be represented. Most importantly, the unification of state, business, and religion found in Wahhabism is absolutely incompatible with modern civilization. One can only come to a single conclusion – the aims of Islamic fundamentalism have a unifying ideology – they are fascist in all but declared name.
Donald Trump’s politics are extremely nationalist – he constantly exploits patriotism for political purposes. He believes in American exceptionalism – a belief that Americans are inherently better and superior to other races and nationalities – this belief has been proven unjustified and plain wrong by foreign policy experts such as Noam Chomsky. Trump’s Presidential campaign hasn’t been based around meaningful policy – it has been about the systematic creation of a personality cult with dangerous consequences. A Trump Presidency wouldn’t be inclusive – opposition voices wouldn’t be tolerated – we already have witnessed that, African American protesters have been physically beaten for demonstrating at a Trump rally. Trump wouldn’t necessarily turn America into a fascist state, just as Bernie Sanders wouldn’t turn it into a socialist one, but Trump could be described as a neo-fascist and his presidency would steer America into an authoritarian era.
Donald Trump’s rhetoric is outspoken, divisive and brash – he has made it clear that if elected he is determined to take on ISIS and their allied forces. It is undoubtedly justifiable to want to defeat the Islamic State – they are a direct threat to US national security and their ideology is not compatible with modern democracy; if it spread it would have detrimental consequences. But the media have portrayed Trump as being ‘strong on Islamic extremism’ – and while this may be true – it is far too simplistic. Trump is not an ideological opponent of Islamic fundamentalism – he is a supporter of a similar type of society.
The ideological approaches of Trump and ISIS are quite similar, but the policies and actions of the two are even worse ;
The Islamic State wants to divide the population of the world into two categories – followers of strict Islamic doctrine and infidels who are opponents of Islam. That is why the demonization of average Muslims in the US and Europe is such a powerfully negative thing – it helps ISIS in recruitment efforts because it acts of a means of justification for their fundamentalist aims. It allows them to exploit the recruitment image of the holy war – the west against Islam. The separation of individuals on the basis of religious grounds is what fuels ISIS and their jihad – they are on a quest to defeat the West and enforce Sharia law.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner has demanded a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Trump has consciously attempted to portray this plan as temporary and necessary, however the plan is far more important than that, it is a major part of Trump’s policy. Trump wants to divide states, America, and the world on religious grounds. Choosing who is acceptable to enter the US and who isn’t is the very definition of discrimination – America is supposed to be based upon freedom of religion. Therefore, both Trump and ISIS want to divide the world up into religious categories; the hate fueled policies and rhetoric of both parties is fueling the determination of the other – it is a vicious cycle.
Women are viewed as second class citizens according to Islamic fundamentalist doctrine from the Quran and the Hadith. Cruel traditions exist such as forced marriages, honor killings, and female circumcision. Islamic fundamentalism advocates a traditional role for women and is extremely oppressive to them – it denies them many basic rights which it affords to men. Islamic fundamentalists have placed a large emphasis on denying women education as they understand that it could act as a means of empowerment and resistance.
In his 2006 book “Trump 101: The Way to Success” he writes that women are “essentially aesthetically-pleasing objects.” Just as Islamic fundamentalism refuses to adopt societal change, clings to the deep routed conservatism of the past and uses outspoken rhetoric on certain issues – such as the role of women – to convey their main issues with modern democracies – so does Trump. “The Donald” has tweeted that sexual assault in the military is ‘totally expected’, has remarked on live TV that women on “The Apprentice” need to rely on sex appeal to be successful and has even stated that comedian Rosie O’Donell was a “fat pig”.
Sure, it is obvious that Trump’s opinions on the role of women in modern society are far less radically conservative than those held by Islamic fundamentalists – but the point remains – that Trump’s views on women are more similar to those held by militants he vows to destroy than they are to the average American’s. The reason such views don’t hurt him is that his supporters aren’t politically informed, they don’t ideologically align themselves with Trump – they merely perceive him as tough, harsh and bold. The rapid improvements in the lives of women is one of society’s greatest achievements, both Trump and ISIS would willingly reverse these societal changes – because it doesn’t fit in with their fundamentalist ideology.
ISIS has recently released a list of what they describe to be “a global coalition” that is unified against the “moral and just” cause of Islam. Unsurprisingly, among those mentioned are the US, the UK, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, New Zealand and Canada. The list acted as clarification that Islamic fundamentalism was not compatible with any form of democratic structure because it is inherently oppressive and confrontational. ISIS leadership commented “America, you claim to have the greatest army history has known. You may have the numbers and weapons but your soldiers lack the will and resolve, still scarred from their defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq. They return dead or suicidal, with over 6,500 of them killing themselves each year”. They also commented on what they perceived to be the ineffective, interventionist nature of Western foreign policy. They didn’t just attack the policy of the West; they criticized and mocked the leaders to drive recruitment efforts.
“Our leaders are weak, they are stupid. We don’t win any more. We lose to Mexico, we lose to China”, remarked Donald Trump at a debate a couple of weeks ago. The harsh reality is that when it comes to international relations – Trump is nearly as divisive and vulgar as ISIS. He simply is not an efficient enough leader to unify the free world in the fight against ISIS – he has prioritized political point scoring by mocking world leaders over creating a unifying, coherent military strategy on how to combat ISIS. When it comes to how they view the world, Trump and Islamic fundamentalists think in parallel – it is a situation of “us against them.”
Donald Trump won’t save you from the Islamic state and the spread of religious fundamentalism – he will enable the continuation of ISIS’s success and implement his own form of authoritarian, theocratic systematic change within the United States. If Donald Trump was leader of the free world, it would burn down in flames along with the ideals of freedom, equality and democracy.