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3/9/16- 2016 Presidential Candidates Take on Issues and Muslims

by Abdallah Hajaj 

American Muslims face a precarious political situation due to an ongoing election marked by anti-Muslim rhetoric and Islamophobia. As with every election cycle, certain candidates  have been basing their campaigns on fear mongering, hate, and negative comments about Islam and Muslims. Who, then, should you support in the March presidential primary election, and eventual general election this November? We are pleased to share the Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Atlanta Muslim’s assessment of  the Presidential candidates’ general policy ideas and comments about American Muslims. Please take a moment to examine the information presented by this article.

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  • Donald Trump (Business Mogul)
  • Senator Ted Cruz (R- Texas)  
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
  • Ben Carson (Retired Neurosurgeon)
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)
  • Hillary Clinton (Former Secretary of State)  

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is a political enigma in the 2016 election. Throughout his history as a public figure he has switched party allegiances at least 5 times. In this election cycle, his comments about American Muslims have created further talking points amongst other political figures. His comments have been called “divisive” and not representative of conservatism, yet he has led the polls during the majority of the race.

General Policy Ideas

  • Immigration: Build a wall across the southern border and make Mexico pay for it.
  • Tax Reform:  Tax relief for middle class and anyone earning under $25,000 (single) and $50,000 (jointly), while also lowering the corporate tax rate to 15% (current tax rate is 35%).
  • Healthcare: Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a health savings account.
  • U.S.- China Trade Reform: Declare China a currency manipulator, force China to uphold intellectual property laws, put an end to China’s illegal export subsidies,  lower corporate tax rates, and address the federal debt and deficit.

 Comments about American Muslims:

  • Trump has called for a complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States until a proper vetting procedure can be put into place.
  • During an Q&A session, a reporter asked Donald Trump if “we might need to register Muslims in some type of database, or note their religion on their ID” to which Trump responded, “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.” To delve into the issue a little deeper to get some clarification, on This Week,host George Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Trump if he would “unequivocally now rule out a database on all Muslims as a result of the controversy surrounding the unclear remarks.” Trump responded with “No, not at all I want a database for the refugees […] And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases.”
  • Donald has said, “You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques, because a lot of talk is going on in the mosques” and called the NYPD surveillance program “great surveillance going on in and around the mosques of New York City” (a program that has “never generated a lead or triggered an investigation”).
  • In response to Ben Carson’s comments about “not advocating we put a Muslim in charge of this nation” Donald Trump responded that “if properly vetted – the proper people properly vetted – going through an election, I think that anybody that is able to win an election will be absolutely fine.” 

Senator Ted Cruz ( R- Texas)

Ted Cruz has a long background in politics, but has only been in the Senate since 2012. Cruz has worked as Solicitor General for the State of Texas and as director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. He has also served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice and also alongside the 2000 Bush campaign.  

General Policy Ideas

  • Immigration:  Build a wall that works, triple border security, and end President Obama’s amnesty program.
  • Tax Reform: Institute a flat tax of 10 percent on all ordinary income and replace corporate income tax with a 16 percent business transfer tax.
  • Healthcare:  Repeal Obamacare, grant individuals the ability ability to buy health care across state lines, and expand health savings accounts.
  • Religious Liberty: Instruct the Department of Justice, the IRS, as well as every other federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today.

 Comments about American Muslims:

  • In response to Mr. Trump’s proposal of a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until a proper vetting procedure could be put into place, Senator Cruz stated, “I disagree with that proposal.” However, Senator Cruz did later add during a Republican debate “I understand why Donald made thatproposal”.
  • On the issue of Syrian refugees being admitted to the United States, the Washington Post quoted Senator Cruz as stating, “We should accept Christians from Syria, and only Christians because […] there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.”
  • In response to Ben Carson’s comments regarding not putting a Muslim in charge of the U.S., Cruz replied that it would be unconstitutional to “prohibit someone from being president because of their religion.”

Click here to continue reading and for an assessment of other candidates.