Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM’s weekly program “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean’s Report. Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
Does Trump really believe that "Islam hates us" and one in four Muslims are "very militant"?
Dean Obeidallah: How can he do business so enthusiastically in the Muslim world?
Wallace pushed back on Trump’s baseless claim, noting that the “best experts” say “that at most 100,000 people are fighting for jihadist causes.” Wallace added, “that’s less than a tiny fraction of 1 percent” of all Muslims.
But as we all know, silly things like facts won’t change Trump’s views. The GOP front-runner defiantly responded, “Why don’t you take a look at the Pew poll that came out very recently?!” which he claimed supports that 27% number.
Here’s the reality: Trump is lying. In fact, as Bernie Sanders so aptly put it on CNN Sunday about Trump, “this man cannot stop lying about anything.”
Bottom line: There’s no Pew poll that supports Trump’s claim. I bet Trump even knows that. After all, when Trump made that identical claim months ago, the nonpartisan Politifact made it clear that the Pew poll doesn’t support Trump’s assertion.
However there is a poll, as Politifact noted, that does allege that 27% of Muslims support violence. That poll, as Trump must also know, was discredited months ago by numerous media outlets for horribly faulty methodology. And just as bad, the person behind that outrageous poll was none other than Frank Gaffney.
Who is Gaffney? Gaffney has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as of one of “America’s most notorious Islamophobes.” In fact, Gaffney’s organization was recently added to the SPLC’s list of anti-Muslim hate groups.
And Gaffney, who has publicly praised the vile white supremacist leader and Trump supporter Jared Taylor, was dubbed by the Anti-Defamation League as a “key domestic ally” of the nation’s biggest anti-Muslim activists.” Consequently, citing a Gaffney poll about Muslims is like citing a Klan poll about Black Lives Matter.
Why does Trump continually gin up fear concerning Muslims?
It helps him win GOP voters. In Tuesday’s primary states, exit polls showed that nearly two-thirds of GOP voters were in favor of Trump’s call for a temporary ban on admitting Muslims to the United States. (This mirrors findings from earlier primary states.)
But let’s just assume that Trump believes that one in four Muslims around the world are violent jihadis, then why is it that Trump does business with so many Muslims?
For example, in 2014, Trump was in Dubai palling around with his Muslim business partner Hussain Sajwani, who Trump has publicly praised as a “good friend” and a “great man,” as they announced their multimillion dollar joint venture in the UAE. And just three months before Trump launched his presidential bid, Trump and Sajwani began selling luxurious mansions in this Dubai development that bear the Trump name and start at $1.76 million U.S. dollars and climb to 10 million a pop.
Then there’s Trump Towers in Istanbul, Turkey. It features more than 200 residences, which per Trump.com, will include “lavish finishes synonymous with the Trump name.” Turkey is a country of 80 million people with over 99% being Muslims.
Let’s not forget Trump’s Muslim buddies in Indonesia, a nation of over 200 million Muslims. Trump’s website boasts of being “honored to announce” this resort that brings “extraordinary luxury.” And just a month before Trump began his presidential campaign, his daughter announced they were looking at “multiple opportunities” to develop luxury hotels in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
So if Trump really believes as he has said that “Islam hates us” and one in four Muslims are “very militant,” how can he do business so enthusiastically in the Muslim world? By Trump’s estimates, hundreds if not thousands of the Muslims who are going to buy Trump mansions or work at one of Trump’s luxurious hotels must be a violent jihadi.
Does Trump vet these people, maybe asking questions like: Are you one of those “very militant” Muslims? Or does Trump lack any sense of right and wrong and will simply say whatever he thinks will help him? (Bing, bing, bing, I think we have a winner.) Trump will praise Muslims when it helps him make money and demonize Muslims when he thinks it will get him votes.
Will documenting Trump’s Muslim hypocrisy cause him to lose supporters? Of course not.
I’m Muslim American, and yet I now find myself rooting for Donald Trump to be the GOP presidential nominee. Here’s a little secret: Many other Muslim and Latino activists also are cheering for Trump to defeat Ted Cruz for the Republican nod – even if they won’t admit it publicly.
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