LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 15 February 2017

In her letter dated February 7 2017 (Trump trying to protect US citizens, Ms. Timmy Chan wrote “I do not think Mr. Trump’s executive order was aimed at being anti-Islamic. However, it was a recognition of the fact that most terrorist attacks in Europe have been carried out by people originally from Muslim-majority countries, and some refugees and failed asylum seekers from those countries”.

This is astoundingly false and most oft-repeated misinformation about a voiceless group of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants that are repeatedly belittled.

Even the New York Times reported in 2015 that since 9/11, almost twice as many people have died at the hands of white supremacists than by radical Muslims. Also, 96 percent of domestic terrorism in the U.S is committed by white men. The exact figure is disputed, but all statistics have it at more than 90 percent. These statistics reveal a vast difference between public perception and the number of actual cases in which Muslim extremists have claimed American lives.

Over the years, white Christians have walked into schools and churches and slaughtered children and religious study groups. Christian activists have bombed gay bars, shot or killed abortion staff and bombed their clinics but Baptists, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, atheists or whatever background the terrorist happened to identify himself with – will not be collectively quizzed to see whether they condemn terrorism.

Meanwhile, if the men in question are black or Muslims, the outcome tends to be very different.

Thanks to the reliably biased media coverage and media timidity when it comes to the under-reporting of violence perpetrated by right-wing white extremists, there exist a vast difference between false public perception and the number of actual cases in which Muslim extremists or black Americans have claimed lives.

Unfortunately, the irresponsible branding of politically expendable asylum seekers and refugees as potential jihadists has infected our collective psyche enough for us to feel threatened by the mere presence of Muslims among us, conflating Islam with terrorism and laying the brickwork for the ongoing social division.

Terrorists enter the U.S. via tourist and student visas and not by going through the arduous procedures involved in asylum seeking.

Most importantly, “we” collectively can’t afford to abandon asylum seeks, refugees and immigrants after being responsible for all the pillaging over the last thirty years, if not more.