In an interview with Muslim Press, Murtaza Hussain discussed Trump’s travel ban targeting 7 Muslim-majority countries.
“Many Americans went out into the streets to protest the order, despite being subject to years of negative propaganda about Muslims,” he said.
The full transcript of the interview is presented below:
Muslim Press: What’s your take on Trump’s Muslim ban and its impact on citizens of the countries on his list?
Murtaza Hussain: I think it is an attempt by the Trump administration to send a message of hostility to the people of those countries. One thing that we must note though is that many Americans went out into the streets to protest the order, despite being subject to years of negative propaganda about Muslims. I think that if this order is implemented it will generate fear of coming to America to work and study not just amongst the citizens of these seven countries, but among people around the world.
MP: A federal appeals court has refused to reinstate his ban. Do you think it’s a big loss to Trump administration?
Murtaza Hussain: As we see he is preparing to introduce a new version of the ban that one of his top advisers has already said is effectively the same as the original, with some legal tweaks. I don’t think it’s a fatal setback and in fact the real fight is still to come.
MP: Following the court’s decision, Trump tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” If he pursues the case, what, in your opinion, would be the outcome of this case?
Murtaza Hussain: It will be interesting to see whether he respects the opinion of the judiciary if it rules against him. He has shown great authoritarian tendencies so far and if he fails to abide by a ruling against him — very possible — then we will have a real constitutional crisis to face in the United States.
MP: What could human rights groups do against Trump’s discriminatory actions?
Murtaza Hussain: They must do what they are doing, which is to organize protests and legal actions against the ban while trying to help those individuals impacted as much as possible. Many people have been deeply harmed and will be in the future, but if even some can be saved through concerted effort that is worthwhile.
MP: What’s your assessment of the future of his populist movement and similar ones in Europe? Is Islamophobia on the rise?
Murtaza Hussain: Islamophobia is certainly on the rise as well as other forms of toxic and hateful bigotries. It is too early to say what ultimate trajectory this might all take, but I predict many years of heightened tension. If something like a terrorist attack happens, then we will perhaps be forced to confront extreme circumstances, in the form of government-led oppression of Muslims and other groups.
Murtaza Hussain is a journalist and political commentator now working for the Intercept. His work focuses on human rights, foreign policy, and cultural affairs. Murtaza’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon, and elsewhere.