In the days leading up to Christmas, terrorism has escalated around the globe.
From the assassination of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, to the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin killing 12 and injuring over 40 people. These incidents have only fueled the growing concern of security and the need to combat political Islam once and for all.
During Trump’s campaign, he made it clear that the inability to speak honestly and coherently about the enemy and its ideology (read: radical Islam) has repeatedly led to failure in terms of defeating ISIS. As a presidential candidate, Trump has suggested banning all Muslims from America, which has increased anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.
For better or worse, Trump will be taking office at a time when the United States and Europe are faced with the most complex terrorist threats the world has ever seen. As such, a delicate balance must be struck by Trump’s administration when dealing with the threat of radical Islam at home.
Trump’s proposal to tackle radical Islam is to “establish a Commission on Radical Islam in order to identify the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.” The Commission on Radical Islam, for some, is reminiscent of the Republican-led House Un-American Activities Committee (known as HUAC).
HUAC was established in 1938 to investigate Communist and fascist organizations which had become active during the Great Depression. The committee used subpoena power as a weapon and called citizens to testify in high-profile hearings before Congress. It comes as no surprise that HUAC contributed to the fear and distrust that existed during the anticommunist hysteria of the 1950s. The results produced by the committee were questionable, at best, in terms of revealing Communism hiding in the shadows of the American way of life.
Even though America is far removed from that point in history, Trump’s Commission on Radical Islam invokes a similar distrust and opens the door to allow conspiracy theorists and pseudo-experts to promote lies regarding Muslims in the United States and its government.
The troubling reality of a Red Scare resurgence within America has the potential to be very real. The creation of the Commission on Radical Islam would only further extend Trump’s campaign tactics of leveraging fear and frustration by Americans. These types of scare tactics, coupled with a Commission whose main goal is to identify the warning signs of radicalization and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization has the potential to lead to a McCarthyist witch hunt targeting Muslims who live within the United States.
However, this does not mean that America should continue to turn a blind eye to the ever-present threat of radical Islam at home and abroad. The threat is real and if Americans have learned anything from the terrorist attacks in Europe, the time to be vigilant is now. In previous administrations, including President George W. Bush’s and President Obama’s, they were cautious not to paint Muslims with broad strokes of the terrorism brush. In four years’ time, America will not be able to say the same thing about President Trump.
While Obama has refused to use the term “radical Islam,” it’s a sure-fire bet that Trump will not be as delicate and, if his campaign self is any indicator, he will be a lot more pugnacious. The probability of the commission coming to fruition is yet to be seen, but the resurgence of a new form of McCarthyism in America is a real likelihood.
Mary Anna Mancuso, Political Strategist and Founder of PoliticalHype.com. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.