I applaud Donald Trump’s suggestion to track American Muslims

Published: November 24, 2015

Listen, I know you’re swamped right now figuring out how to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. PHOTO: REUTERS

As an American Muslim, I’ve always wanted to stand out from the mainstream crowd, to be highlighted for my exotic religious identity, ethnic “brownness” and multi-syllable name that will never appear on a Disneyland key-chain.

That’s why I applaud Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that Muslims be given a special form of identification and his openness to the possibility of tracking American Muslims in a database.

“Some people are going to be upset,” says the GOP front-runner, showing a sensitive spirit and exquisite social media trolling skills.

Not I, Señor Trump, not I!

Listen, I know you’re swamped right now figuring out how to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. It’s time-consuming to find a way to deport nearly 11 million undocumented individuals, all the while scouring the Earth for the Excalibur hair gel that can finally slay that wild, golden mane on your glorious head.

You’re busy, I get it.

But like the annoying, nerdy high school student who volunteers for AP classes and is the first to raise his hand in class, I want to offer some proactive recommendations and questions — with your permission of course — for your special Muslim ID cards.

Do selfies count as official photos for the cards? Can we make duck faces? Use Instagram filters?

These are important questions that need to be answered, Mr Trump.

Your project needs to speak the language of the new generation. You need to appeal to both our civic duty and our narcissism. If this ID can’t be Snapchatted it might as well be a Polaroid — an archaic relic that will receive no traction with the millennials, like the presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee.

We should be able to customise our own IDs so we can be the protagonists of our surveillance state narrative. Therefore, I recommend Muslim emoji. You should consider hiring Apple. They just dropped a Makkah emoji in their latest iOS update. These emojis should reflect a colourful, digital palette, appropriate for the most diverse religious group in America. I recommend colours ranging from white to caramel-latte to mocha-brown to beyond-mocha.

Also, please consider adding a “facial hair” option for the emoji. For my Muslim ID, I’d prefer a brown, smiling emoji with a hipster beard. Ideally, I’d like to add a forehead scar, eye-patch and tear drop tattoo as well. I have to appear “hard” in case we ever get interned. Just thinking two steps ahead and being extra prepared is all.

Each Muslim ID can list our respective superpowers and weaknesses. Example: Wajahat Ali. Superpower: Eating large quantities of Biryani. Weakness: Removing turmeric stains from shirt collars.

If you adopt the superpower/weaknesses model, you can even do a cross-country promotional stump tour with the multiple superhero movies out this year. Why not sell your proposal along with dolls of Muslim SupermanBatman or Captain America?

You could also create a higher tier of Muslim ID cards — rare, shiny, platinum ones to reward good behaviour. These cards will be given to very few Muslims, such as myself, who are declared “moderate”. That would allow us to gamify this whole process, including by creating a checklist of all the appropriate trials Muslims will have to successfully complete to “earn” their rare, premium “moderate” status. Each action gets you points.

Here are some suggested ways to earn (or lose) points:

1. Publicly and repeatedly condemn violent acts done by violent extremists Muslims we’re never met in countries we’ve never visited. (100 points for each condemnation)

2. Convince President Obama to finally out himself as a closet Muslim. Thirty per cent of Americans are already onto him. (250 points)

3. Attempt to physically fight ISIS and al Qaeda, even if we have zero military training, combat experience or any specialised knowledge about law enforcement. (500 points). However, going to shooting ranges to hone our skills will automatically cause us to lose 1,000 points. Supporting gun rights and being critical of gun control will result in 250 bonus points.

4. Use the Bobby Jindal “Fair and Lovely” Instagram filter on all of our profile pics. (750 points)

5. Reject Syrian and Iraqi refugees because #AllLivesMatter. (850 points)

6. Never exercise our First Amendment rights to voice outrage, anger and disappointment at racism and double standards, because that of course would show Muslim rage. (12,500 points)

7. Support unnecessary anti-Shariah legislation across the country. (2,500 points)

8. Memorise every single lyric to every single Taylor Swift song ever. (Automatic 10,000 points)

We could “Hunger Games” this situation and host a “Last Moderate Muslim Standing” — an annual competition where 50 moderate Muslims are chosen, one from each state, to fight to the death until only one remains.

This proposal will most likely be endorsed by at least 31 governors who have promised to reject Syrian refugees. While it’s true none of the dozen or so refugees (out of about 785,000 who have come since September 11, 2001) arrested or removed from the United States due to terrorism concerns were Syrian, you can never be too safe, we understand.

That’s why it’s helpful that some of your fellow GOP presidential candidates have given these refugees colourful animal avatars, such as “rabid dogs” and “rattlesnakes”.

I wonder what’s the spirit animal of the Moderate Muslim? A camel is too subtle.

Mr Trump, although I agree with most of your very calm, rational, enlightened talking points and proposals, one recent statement needs a tweak. You said,

“We’re going to have to do things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

That’s not entirely accurate. Although your strategy is bold, creative, and what entrepreneurs applaud as “lateral thinking”, it’s a remake once starring my circumcised monotheistic cousins from another mother, the Jews. Indeed, during World War II, Nazi Germany ordered Jews to wear a special Yellow Badge, sewn on their outer garments, so the public would be able identify, shame and marginalise them. Yours is a great idea, though not entirely brand new.

Across the Atlantic, US President Franklin D Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 interning thousands of innocent Japanese, most of them US citizens, who were seen as a “Yellow Peril” and a “fifth column”. Americans felt safe even though no actionable intelligence resulted in the measure and the experience traumatised generations of Japanese Americans like actor George Takei. Still, you want people to feel safe, right? I see the mayor of Roanoke, Va, invoked the internment to justify his stance on refugees. Perhaps he could be your National Security adviser. Although the mayor has since retracted his statement and apologised, so maybe not.

It seems there are still a few things to hammer out about this special Muslim ID? Maybe we need to be in touch. How about I just give you my existing ID: #25538. Attorney, State Bar of California. Give me a call sometime. We can discuss the US Constitution, civil liberties, freedom and hair products.

This time you can help me, help you.

The post originally appeared here.

Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali

The author is a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, an award-winning playwright, an attorney and a former consultant for the State Department. He tweets as @WajahatAli (twitter.com/WajahatAli)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • A person

    Cute article Wajahat. You are right Donald and those that support his methods are too extreme. How dare they feel skittish about the Islamic community. After all with 2 billion in the world and roughly most consider over 20% radicalized, but I will go low and say 10% there are only 200 million who hate Western/secular society and only 600,000 in America. So what if we cannot tell the peaceful from the suicidal jihadists by looking at them. So what threat you with your faith and name that does not fit on a Disney key chain can live freely in both worlds.

    Maybe what the West should start doing is arming the militant Western groups to just kill at will Muslims and offer up a hollow, we all do not support these action they are but extremists and we are about peace in a scattered article every so often.

    Maybe just maybe you should write an article about Al Jazeera being a go between for Al Qaeda and others in the passed. This is not just some right wing theory but proven fact from intercepted wiki leaks cables. You know wiki leaks the liberals darling when it fits your agenda.

    Or maybe you can use your voice to organize a million Muslim march or marches across nations to show the “extremists” that they are not the voice of Islam.

    But I think we both know that will not happen.

    So continue the comical writing about knee jerk idiot politicians but remember behind this bozo are actual nervous people who are not being represented or heard and they as well do not deserve to be marginalized or have their feelings invalidated by someone like yourself.Recommend

  • A person

    Good to see you all practice censorship and suppress free speechRecommend

  • SRK

    Good article, however I didn’t t get the fair and lovely comment for Bobby Jindal – what does it mean ?Recommend

  • wb

    Fact of the matter is, the world has had enough of the “Muslim-problem”. “Muslim-problem” has hurt the entire world too much for 1400 years. I don’t think people are ready to take it anymore.

    And USA is leading this fight against “Muslim-problem”.

    Solution is, Muslims should work towards reform of both the religion and the people. Or else, expect tougher and tougher measures against Muslims in the years to come.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Pakistanis force Ahmadis to declare themselves as such and non-Muslim. But, are aghast if anyone else in the wold does that to them.

    Look at the irony: The Author himself must have signed documents which declares Ahmadis non-Muslims, basically depriving the right of millions of Ahmadis to call themselve Muslims and discriminating against them. But, out comes satire if a crazy nut in the Western world suggests the same to be done to people of his faith.

    Pakistanis are so funny.Recommend

  • Gullu

    Ahh, there, did not take long. For a hindu troll to make an appearance.
    It’s a given. They are everywhere. Hateful, toxic, loaded with
    poison. Meager lives. High point of the day is to leave a caustic. comment
    on ET. Other newspapers will not even allow this long a rant. Guess all kind
    of people inhabit this world. That includes sad, sorry faced, destitute Hindustanis who can read and write the Raj’s English. What keeps people
    like these going? Must be just a slim hope for one tenth of a nirvana…..?
    Since there is no Heaven in the Hinduism.

    ET moderators, this is a fair rebuttal, of a long confusing, bigoted
    pathetic diatribe supporting a racist Trump. We know you love Hindus
    And this is the Hindu section of ET. But truth is truth.Recommend

  • Jayman

    West cannot get away from profiling. It will happen – declared or undeclared. Then again, Trump is as subtle as a sledgehammer.Recommend

  • wb

    LOL. The only rant and utter garbage on this entire page here is from you!!!Recommend

  • Gullu

    Well,…see,..er,..Hindustan has a caste system. For the last 6000 years.
    Now THAT has be the most bigoted, racist, prejudiced, discriminatory
    classification in the World. Nothing compares to it. Besides, you can never,
    cannot UPGRADE yourself. You are born in it. You die in it. No escaping it.
    That translate into Govt. jobs, private jobs, schools, colleges, living areas.
    An untouchable cannot even eat in a restaurant. Not allowed. A doctor will
    not touch one. Or treat one. Caste System, alive and thriving in Hindustan.
    Then there are the Dalits….So are Hindustanis funny? No, not at all.
    As they say, ‘Physician, heal thyself’.Recommend

  • wb

    “Now THAT has be the most bigoted, racist, prejudiced, discriminatory
    classification in the World. Nothing compares to it.”

    There’s a system that’s worse than this. In this system, people kill each other, wage wars with each other, massacre each other and even commit genocides…

  • Parvez

    Put yourself in Trump’s shoes running for President………..would you ignore an opportunity as good as this to scores points ? …….you’d take the opportunity in a flash, remember you’re a ‘ brown ‘ American ( you said it ) and that’s how you became one.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Donald Tramp reminds me of the Hollywood western film depicting the good, the bad and the ugly. What was of great interest that all three in their roles were criminals.
    one gets the impresson that Donald Tramp is trying to ply the role of the good boss.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • A person

    “knee jerk idiot politician” and “bozo” yes that sounds like I support Trump. LOL

    But do tell us more in your tolerant and loving manner what you really think of Hindus.

    Thank you for replying in the manner in which you did. It speaks volumes to the mindset of many like yourself.Recommend

  • Gullu

    The Banarsi Mullah, tearing his hair out, shrilling, weeping,
    cussing, blaming all the gods and goddesses AND their
    avatars for making him a Hindu of the lower case…….karma.Recommend

  • Gullu

    Only Hindu trolls from Bangalaru, Poona, Nagpur, Mysore
    and Bombay slums are the enlightened ones.
    That’s when they are NOT standing in a two mile long toilet line.
    or using the cricket fields, parks, footpaths, alleys, neighbor’s
    roof or front stoop as a toilet.
    Ahh, secular India. No toilets for……..everyone.Recommend

  • Fair Reforms

    Who took this terrorist sympathiser to the white house?? CIA must carry out some personal check before any Muslims are allowed in. What sort of opinion this braindead consultant would have offered??Recommend

  • wb

    Hindu of the lower case? What is that? Like writing Hindu with lower letters?

    But you know that I still love you despite all the meaningless baby-sounds you make here. I do love you man. Recommend

  • wb

    I love you.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    He is entertainment.Recommend

  • Omar K Cheema

    sorry dude but the “white man-problem” takes the cake when it comes to hurting the world.
    They killed millions during colonization, they destroyed indigenous cultures, technologies and civilizations. Then they killed 70 million in World War 2, Millions more died during their Capitalism vs Communism conflict, in Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Afghanistan. Then the white man’s game to control Middle East resources resulted in the deaths of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan.Recommend