Trump surrogate talks of a Muslim registry

By John Ibbitson
The Globe and Mail | November 18, 2016

It can be a challenge to avoid panicking over Donald Trump’s plans for Muslims in America – especially when his surrogates invoke the Japanese internment as a precedent.

But Akbar Ahmed, an author and scholar at American University in Washington, D.C., and a leading authority on global Islam, is urging his compatriots to “take it easy. Chill out. Relax. This is still a great nation. Unless and until laws are actually passed, there is no reason to be worried.”

Something for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to cling to, despite Carl Higbie.

On Thursday, the Trump surrogate said on Fox News there would be legal precedent for placing Muslims in the United States on some kind of registry because “we did it during World War II with [the] Japanese.”

Mr. Higbie stressed that no one within the incoming Trump administration was thinking of Muslim internment camps. And Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, a non-profit that advocates for religious freedom and tolerance, maintained it would be unconstitutional for a government to require any American to register for anything purely on the basis of their religion.

. . .

At the least, it appears clear that a Trump administration will impose very strict conditions on Muslims entering the United States from countries with a history of Islamist terrorism or sectarian violence. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he believes one solution might be to revive a data base that existed from 2002 to 2011 – when it was suspended because it was deemed unnecessary – in which Muslim men from designated majority-Muslim countries who were in the United States on visas had to register and be interviewed.

“There are many concerns” about what this could mean for Muslim Canadians entering the United States, said Amira Elghawaby, who speaks for the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “But there are so many unknowns, here, so it is very difficult to get a handle” on what could be in store.

Even now, thanks to crossed signals between American and Canadian security organizations, and within Canada itself, people can find themselves unable to fly because they have mistakenly been placed on a Do Not Fly list. This could easily grow worse once Trump Republicans are in charge.

“Canadian Muslims are going to be looking for our government to … ensure that human rights are respected by a future Trump administration, that they will have our backs.” Ms. Elghawaby said.

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