An outright total ban on Muslim immigration isn’t enough for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric has correlated with an uptick in Islamophobic attacks around the country. Now, Trump also wants Muslim-Americans to monitor each other.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski, Trump claimed that “numerous people” knew what was going on prior to the deadly terror attack in San Bernardino, California by two self-identified Muslims that left 14 people dead and many more injured.
“Look, when you had those two horrible people blow away in California, 14 people and others… there were numerous people who knew what was going on, Mika,” Trump said. “Why weren’t these people reported? But there were numerous people. One thing, I think, that the Muslim population of this country has to do is they have to surveil their own people.”
Brzezinski pushed back, asking whether Trump had a “positive message” for the Muslim Americans who are “peaceful citizens of this country.”
Trump responded by saying that although he’s “all for” peaceful Muslims, he believes there is a “very severe problem” in the country that Muslim Americans are responsible for helping fix.
“They have to help us to solve this problem,” Trump said. “We do have a problem with radicalization within that community. They have to report it. They have to let us know about it. If they don’t, it’s just going to be a continuation.”
Unlike Christians, Muslim Americans are frequently expected to answer for the crimes that people commit in the name of their religion.
And in fact, Muslims are already working hard to counter extremism. About 40 percent — the “largest single source of initial information” — regarding terrorism plots involve tips from the Muslim-American community, a 2011 University of North Carolina (UNC) study found. In some of those cases, family members reported that suspects were missing overseas, or members of the Muslim-American community reported suspicious activities, or friends would call the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) because they saw violent postings.
“In some communities, Muslim Americans have been so concerned about extremists in their midst that they have turned in people who turned out to be undercover informants, including Craig Monteilh in Orange County, California, and Darren Griffin in Toledo, Ohio,” the UNC report found.
The fact is that Muslim Americans are united in countering violent global attacks, including turning teenagers away from joining the militant group ISIS. For instance, The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the largest mosque in the D.C. area, “holds internet-safety seminars and town hall meetings to deconstruct terrorist messages and defend families from the threat of radicalisation,” according to the Economist.
“There’s a lot that the Muslim community is already doing to combat the recruiters that are going through Facebook and Twitter and all these social media outlets,” Hidayah Martinez Jaka, one Muslim teen affiliated with ADAMS, told ThinkProgress.
And America already does a pretty thorough job surveilling Muslims. For years, the New York Police Department engaged in a blanket surveillance program to spy on and infiltrate Muslim student organizations and mosques to root out a “radicalization process” in places within 100 miles of New York, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The surveillance has resulted in lawsuits from Muslims, who claimed that they were illegally targeted based on their religious identity.