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Spiritual Meditations ( 10 Nov 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The ‘Trumps’ Of the World

By Nawar Fakhry Ezzi

Nov 10, 2016

The “Trumps” of the world reveal themselves in all of their shapes, colors and sizes speaking in different tongues and raising different faith flags.

They live in packs with their own “kind” and believe that anybody who does not look like them, share their beliefs or lead the same way of life should be shunned and ostracized. Ironically, each group of them is exactly like the others whom they hate the most. Whether men or women, believers or atheists, bearded or shaven, veiled or half naked, white, black or any color in between, they all have the same hateful hearts along with closed ignorant minds. They are most commonly known as “bigots”.

God knows, we have our share of “Trumps” in our part of the world, so why does Donald Trump get the honor of representing all the racists in this article? First, he seems to have earned it because he has made it all the way to the Oval Office after verbalizing without any hesitation every racist remark that happened to cross his mind. Second, it is not really far-fetched to use his name to refer to people like him since one of the top ten words of the year 2016 in Collins dictionary is “Trumpism”, which refers to the “policies advocated by him, and controversial or outrageous statements attributed to him”. This is how ostentatious and indescribable his campaign was to the extent that only his own name would be suitable to describe it.

Finally, and more importantly, his campaign arguably caused much more damage than any other racist actions have by shattering decades of work toward tolerance and acceptance in the American community. Obviously, Trump did not create those racists who support him, but his presidential campaign provided a “legitimate” platform for bigots and hate groups bringing even the most timid racists out of the “closet”.

Many American “Trumps” have already translated their hatred into action through the reported sharp rise of hate crimes against Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, Jews and Asians. According to a study made by the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino, in 2015 hate crimes against Muslims and Middle Easterners or those who look like them was at its highest since the spike of hate crimes following the 9/11 attacks.

Scholars and hate crime experts argue that this is not only due to the recent terrorist attacks in the US and around the world by Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS), but it was also the result of the negative rhetoric mainly led by Donald Trump, which entices hate and fear. In some incidents, Trump was even quoted, as the attackers were unsurprisingly some of his supporters.

Correspondingly, 2015 also witnessed a 14 percent increase in the number of people joining white supremacist radical groups in the US, such as the Ku Klux Klan, according to a study made by the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to this study, this is alarming partly because white supremacists have killed more people in the US than Muslim terrorists have over the last 14 years.

These groups usually consist of angry, middle-class white people who are less educated and constitute most of Trump supporters. Although they are not the majority, their voice has been legitimized by Trump and as a result the America that many of us once knew and fell in love with will not be the same for a very long time.

The “Trumps” of the world are blinded by their insecurity, fear and ignorance thinking that living in isolation will keep them safe and protect their own way of life in a world where diversity and multiculturalism has become the norm. However, this is only making the world more dangerous and a darker place for everyone including themselves.

Peace and development occur when we believe in the goodness of human nature and try to understand it and appreciate it with all its diverse forms and backgrounds by seeking knowledge and initiating dialogue with the “other”, which can lead to the understanding and the acceptance necessary for harmonious coexistence.