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Muslim Americans Have Some Advice For Trump On His Islam Speech

By in Huffington Post on May 19, 2017

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

President Trump is making his first trip abroad with scheduled visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican. Each of these locations have important diplomatic implications for America’s standing in the world, as well as political relevance for Trump’s waning popularity in America. Whether intentionally or not, this trip has huge interfaith significance as Trump makes a pilgrimage (of sorts) to the centers of Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.

Trump’s international sojourn is making many nervous as it is one thing to provoke a nation state — say Mexico, with derogatory comments and threats — it is quite another to provoke a religion.

There are many ways Trump’s trip could go wrong: Pope Francis and Trump have exchanged barbs via Twitter; and while Trump enjoys a love fest with Netanyahu and Israel’s right, he has also (rightfully) criticized settlements in Palestine and (thankfully) refrained from moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.

But nothing reaches the level of potential disaster of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is scheduled to give a speech about Islam to the Muslim world. This would be fraught for any politician or religious leader. Pope Benedict attempted an address to the Muslim world in 2006 at the University of Regensburg in Germany, and… let’s just say… it was not well received. If the address of such a skilled theologian as Benedict resulted in riots and serious breaches between the Muslim and Catholic world, what might such an address by Trump produce?

The idea of a Trump speech to the Muslim world is made even worse by the consistent anti-Muslim message put forth by the Trump campaign during the 2016 campaign and the introduction of a ban on immigrants from Muslim countries in the first weeks of his presidency. One of the effects […]    

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