By Paul Bremmer
Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on all Muslim entry in the United States is getting enthusiastic support from a conservative icon, as legendary activist Phyllis Schlafly called for the grassroots to support his plan.
“I think it’s an excellent idea, and you know, after the big immigration push in the 1920s, we had something that everybody referred to as a pause, and that was a stoppage of all immigration for a number of years,” recalled Schlafly, a WND columnist and author of “Who Killed the American Family?”
In fact, Schlafly said she would support another temporary moratorium on all legal immigration.
“Recall what we did in the ’20s: call it a pause,” she declared.
Schlafly’s support echoes the enthusiastic reception Trump’s proposal has found among Republican primary voters. A recent poll found 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters favor Trump’s proposal.
Others are not crazy about Trump’s details, but say immigration is a problem.
In a National Review editorial, Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, called for “ideological screening” of all who want to enter the country. By that he means the U.S. should deny entry to those who believe in Islamic supremacy, whether or not they have committed violent acts in the past.
Krikorian also wrote the U.S. needs “to cut immigration overall, focusing on the categories most likely to cause problems.”
He proposed eliminating the visa lottery, limiting family immigration to the closest relatives, dramatically curbing refugee resettlement and reducing the number of foreign-student admissions.
But rather than taking all these targeted measures, he was asked, wouldn’t it be easier to simply ban all Muslims from the country, as Trump wants to do?
“I see the argument that it would be easier to do, but it really would have consequences politically inside the country and outside,” Krikorian told WND in an interview. “I hate to sound like these ninnies in the establishment, but it would send a message to Muslim Americans as well as Muslims abroad that Islam itself is a problem.
“Now, in some sense, Islam itself probably is a problem, but by distinguishing the political aspects of Islam from the purely religious ones, we are in a much stronger position politically to sustain that policy, to garner support from Muslims in the United States, and at least neutralize objections from our Muslim allies abroad.”
Krikorian said he is merely arguing over whether Trump’s idea is good policy; he does not believe legality is a question, and as WND has reported, several legal experts have said the ban would likely be constitutional.
But Krikorian said whether or not a person practices the Muslim faith should be of no concern to U.S. policymakers. For example, if a person prays five times a day to Mecca, that is nobody’s business because the United States guarantees freedom of religion.
“What this is about is whether you oppose the principles of the Constitution, because if you do, we don’t want you here,” Krikorian clarified.
So the U.S., he said, should not allow in any Muslim who rejects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the many other freedoms that are an integral part of American life.
“We have some of our own people who already do that,” Krikorian said, referring to Muslims who already live in the U.S. “We’re stuck with them; we’re not taking any more. That sends a message that’s much more politically palatable, much more morally defensible, and not necessarily any harder as a practical matter to implement.”
Krikorian draws a distinction between the religious aspect of Islam and the political aspect. He admitted most Muslims may not be able to separate the two aspects of their identity, but he asserted many Muslims in the West do not support Shariah law.
He may have a point. A 2011 Pew survey found 48 percent of Muslim Americans said Muslim leaders in the U.S. had not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists. Only 21 percent of Muslims said there was a great deal or fair amount of support for extremism in the Muslim American community.
And while recent Pew data say 64 percent of Muslim Americans consider religion “very important” to them, only 37 percent reported they look to religion most for guidance on matters of right and wrong, while almost as many (36 percent) said they look to common sense. Less than half (42 percent) said the Quran is the word of God and should be taken literally.