The U.S president is going to deliver a 'pro-Islam' speech in Saudia Arabia. What could go wrong?
According to numerous sources, he plans to deliver a 'pro-Islam' speech there, this is reportedly part of the White House's plan to fight terrorism by building interfaith cooperation among Muslims, Christians and Jews.
This all sounds good until you remember how vocal Trump has been concerning his feelings towards Muslims and the religion in general.
During his presidential campaign, he announced his intentions to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Trump also made other comments throughout his campaign and after the election that many say fueled Islamophobia.
These comments have also reportedly contributed to a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in the country.
So, what could go wrong with this speech?
One, he could be patronising and end up insulting Muslims everywhere. During and after his campaign, Trump has proven that he is a true politician who has mastered the art of saying anything he thinks could please whoever he is talking to.
Then, he goes elsewhere and says the total opposite. Bearing this in mind, I think it's safe to say that the U.S president could definitely try making outrageous claims like 'No one loves Islam more than me,' and 'I have read the Qu'ran.'
The second issue is that the person who is drafting Trump's speech is also very anti-Islam. According to The Washington Post, top White House adviser, Stephen Miller, is one of the people in charge of the speech.
Miller was also part of the team that crafted and defended the administration’s Muslim ban. Before joining the White House, Elite Daily reports that he wrote an anti-Islam article while he was a student at Duke University.
In one article for the university’s newspaper, The Chronicle, he wrote, “Islamic terrorists…have declared a death sentence on every man, woman and child living in this country.”
However, National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who is also helping to write the speech, claims that it will be “an inspiring but direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and the president’s hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world.”
He also said that the speech will “unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization” and “demonstrate America’s commitment to our Muslim partners.”
If this is true, this speech could definitely alienate the president from his anti-Muslim supporters.
These people supported his anti-Muslim strategy during his campaign and after the elctions. So, giving a pro-Islam for whatever purpose could absolutely affect this group.
In light of all these potential issues, the president is being advised not to give the speech.
The downsides are enormous and the upsides are few,” said Will McCants, director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. “In order to thread that needle, he would have to demonstrate a level of nuance that we have not seen from him.”
“I would shy away from giving a talk like this in this country, much less in Riyadh,” he added.
“I don’t see President Trump as someone who’s going to walk away from that, “said John Espisito, director of the Bridge Initiative, a project at Georgetown University that studies Islamophobia. “He’s not someone who says ‘I got it wrong.'”
“With all of that baggage, it’s a pretty tough thing to go in and want to talk about Islam. There are going to be an awful lot of people who are going to see it as transparent and hypocritical."
One thing is for sure, Trump's speech is bound to be awkward, just like his first meeting with Pope Francis has the potential to be.