By Justin W.
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning any further entry in the US of individuals from seven different Muslim majority countries. The executive order was intended to protect the US from radical Islamic terrorism; however, this was a precipitated decision based on generalizations and prejudiced assumptions, mainly Islamophobia. The Oxford Dictionary defines Islamophobia as “dislike of or prejudices against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.” Since Trump began running for office, the word has been used quite often to justify specific laws and ideas. Individuals used it to justify hate and to encourage divisiveness. The executive order gave credence to Islamophobia because it justifies the fear not only of radical Islamic terrorists, but the entire Muslim community all around the world.
The term ‘Islamophobia” was first popularized in the report “Islamophobia: A Challenge to Us All” published by the Runnymede Trust in 1997. The report compared "open," or positive views, and "closed," or negative views of Islam. The report found that the following were the "closed" views that are most closely equated with Islamophobia:
1. “Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2. It is seen as separate and "other". It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3. It is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
4. It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilizations.
5. It is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
6. Criticisms made of "the West" by Muslims are rejected out of hand.
7. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.
9. It is seen that Muslims follow a 'violent prophet', Muhammad.”
The Runnymede Trust report also acknowledges that anti-Muslim attitudes were increasingly seen as respectable and this was even before the September 11th attacks.
In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, which were carried out by the Islamic terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda, the news media's interest in Islam and the Muslim community increased significantly. Within in the hours following the planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York City, the words "Muslim" and "terrorism" became inseparable in the news coverage. In the days that followed the tone in which the news media covered the attacks and their aftermath was filled with notes of hysteria, ill-informed and sometimes frenzied reporting and most scholars agree that there was a decline in journalistic standards when Muslims and Islam were concerned which exists still to this day.
In 2009, Dr. Fred Vultee released a report analyzing the way in which Fox News covered Islamic terrorism and Muslims in general. For his research, Vultee investigated foxnews.com from 2007 to 2009. According to his study:
“A visit any day to the website of the Fox News Channel is likely to offer yet another piece of a sinister puzzle: the looming threat of Islam to everything the West holds dear. There is an armed threat, of course, in Afghanistan and Iraq and possibly as near as the shopping mall. But there is also a cultural danger that menaces all of Europe, that stalks coffee shops and classrooms, that endangers individual children and entire health-care systems with its irreducible demands, that hates Barbie and Valentine's Day and even the Three Little Pigs. And even as the West watches, they have overtaken us as the world's largest religion.”
Furthermore, Vultee states, "The discourse Fox creates with its audience helps to set a foundation for polarized commentary and to legitimize support for a limitless war on the unknown."
Through discourse and the actions he has taken, President Trump has fanned the flame of Islamophobia and while he might want to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” he is forgetting one of the most essential aspects of this country. The United States of America was forged in a fiery furnace of freedom by foreigners and although it would be overly idealistic to let all of those in need enter the US, providing the opportunity to all is the true American creed. Many years ago, songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote a song that is more relevant than ever. He said about America that “This Land is Your Land, this land is my land. This land was made for you and me.”
 “Islamophobia | Definition of Islamophobia by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/islamophobia.
 Conway, Gordon. Islamophobia: a Challenge for Us All. Runnymede Trust, 1997.
 Vultee, Fred. “Jump Back Jack, Mohammeds Here.” Journalism Studies, vol. 10, no. 5, 2009, pp. 623–638., doi:10.1080/14616700902797333.
 Guthrie, Woody. “‘This Land Is Your Land.’” Woody Guthrie, woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/This_Land.htm.
Folkenflik, David. “NPR Ends Williams' Contract After Muslim Remarks.” NPR, NPR, 21 Oct. 2010, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130712737.
Rose, David. “Western Xenophobia, Islam And The Third World By Jon Kofas.” Guantanamo Bay Abuse Story- 'They Tied Me Up Like A Beast And Began Kicking Me' By David Rose, www.countercurrents.org/kofas230416.htm.
Said, Edward W. Covering Islam How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. Vintage Books, 2010.