Donald Trump will surely go down in history as the most anti-Arab and anti-Muslim American president ever, perhaps more than any Western political figure, writes prominent Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan.
It does not matter whether the Arabs/Muslims concerned are rich or poor, or if they are loyal allies of the US or opponents of its policies. Trump has adopted the phenomenon of Islamophobia wholesale and devoted all his country’s energies and capabilities to promoting it.
Having led a tripartite missile assault on Syria on a feeble pretext, he is now preparing to take two other steps that embody his anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.
On May 12 he is expected to renounce the international nuclear agreement with Iran. And on the 15th, he may perform the role of chief cheerleader at celebrations of the anniversary of the dispossession of the Palestinians, on the occasion of the relocation to occupied Jerusalem of the US embassy in Israel.
Both of these moves serve the purposes of Israeli aggression against the Arab and Muslim worlds, and were instigated by the Israeli government and its lobbies in the US and Europe.
Trump’s hatred is without limit. Last week, he publicly and humiliatingly served notice to the Arab Gulf states that he would withdraw military protection from them if they did not submit to his extortionist financial dictates and send troops to Syria. Now he has turned his poisoned arrows onto Morocco, a country that has long stood in the “moderate” camp and maintained close relations with the US and the West.
In one of his Twitter messages he declared his support for his country’s bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup Finals. This is unremarkable and there is no dispute about that. But, surprisingly and unexpectedly for the self-styled leader of the so-called Free World, he went on to threaten to punish any country that supports the rival Moroccan bid. He stated: “It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the US bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?”
Most countries of the world are committed to keeping politics out of sports and to combating any racist attitudes that can poison sporting events – especially in football, the world’s favourite sport. Many football players have been sanctioned for racist behaviour, but what can we say when the culprit is the President of the United States of America?
This is not only a complete violation of sporting ethics and an attempt to stifle fair competition, but a most brazen display of extortion and arrogance.
Morocco became the front-runner by legitimate means in the contest to host the World Cup tournament. It provided all the guarantees necessary to ensure its success, and garnered strong support from Third World countries – Arab and Muslim ones especially. It is a disgrace that the World Cup Finals have only been held in Africa once – in South Africa in 2010 – and it is high time the continent was given another chance.
Morocco’s bid deserves support, especially after the extortionist threats made by the US, and it is gratifying that the African Union has publicly come out in its support, as has France.
Arab and Islamic states would do well to emulate Algeria, which set aside all its political disputes with Morocco and announced it would support the country’s bid when a vote is held by FIFA on 13 June on the 2016 World Cup venue.
The right response to Trump’s racism and his hatred of Arabs and Muslims would be to ignore his threats and vote in favour of Morocco. Any state backing the US-led bid will effectively be endorsing and encouraging that hatred