Three countries which have had elections (Referendum in the case of Britain) where a major factor in their leaders taking power was the issue of Islam. These three countries will form an alliance. You may hate their leaders, call them fascists, anti-liberal, Islamophobic.
Brexit was enough about Muslim migration from Syria, via Turkey into the UK, to swing the vote for exit. Face it, Farage telling you open borders means non-EU Turkey flooded with Syrian Muslims will through a deal with Germany let them into the UK. That was the story. Not the only story. But in a close vote, you only need a small margin.
Trump – well he clearly said he would ban all Muslims coming to America. But what is interesting is the case of India. And therein lies some hope for liberals taking fright. You see PM Modi we were told executed a genocide of Muslims in Gujarat and would do the same in India as PM. Yet, there he is visiting the Middle East with warm welcomes from leaders of many an Islamic Monarchy.
Similarly, Trump hails Saudi Arabia a close friend. Some of these things get missed in the shrill shouts of panic. To understand Trump, look more closely at Narendra Modi. You see it is not a hatred of Islam. They in one sense could not care less about Islam or anything else. It is not that they will quote chapter and verse from the Koran and pick passages, good or bad.
Rather, the point is anything, religion or Communism as it was in the 1960s for America, or Capitalism as it was in 1960s India, that challenges the idea of an allegiance to a diverse nation that they detest.
It is their need to have a proof of allegiance. An allegiance to country above religion. Or rather an association of country and religion – America is Christian in origin, despite separation of Church and State and India is Hindustan despite separation of Mandir and State. They do want a primacy. They want a primacy based on the two main criteria demanded by even the simplest notions of justice – what came first, and how many of us are there.
So the argument is Islam should not challenge the established order in either country because it is both a minority and also a late-comer. The fundamentalist in Islam challenges this notion of course. But to the Trump and Modi voter, so does the Bourka wearer. Well not yet, but it is a logical progression of the argument.
To the horrified liberal, all are equal, and rules based on majority is totalitarianism, not democracy, and rules based on time means immigrants are not equal.
But they too are taking their argument to a logical conclusion which needs some finessing. The Modi and Trump supporter (and they are not the same I know) are not saying immigrants are not equal or that only the majority counts (Trump didn’t get a majority anyway of the popular vote), they are saying ‘the pendulum has swung too far – real or perceived. Who speaks for the down-trodden Christian American and the billion Hindus?’ Now you have your answer who.
When you see so many Jews, Liberals, Christians, Hindus all standing by a billion Muslims, the support itself makes the claims of the supporters of a new Nazi era lose credibility.
As usual in politics, Trump will not, as Modi has proved, be either Satan or Saint.
Alpesh B Patel