Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
My Response to Bill Clinton: On (My) Liberty and
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 9, 2016
Donald Trump wants to keep us out of the country altogether. But
Bill Clinton, former president and husband of a Democratic presidential
nominee, does not mind us staying, as long as we, Muslims, behave
Welcome to America where racial profiling is the
country’s most popular idea, and where citizenship is now conditioned on
This is what Clinton said at the Democratic
National Convention (DNC) on July 26: “If you’re a Muslim and
you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us
win and make a future together, we want you.”
If this is
America’s new social contract, I refuse to sign, and I think millions of
Muslims - and non-Muslims, for that matter - should refuse to endorse it,
Oddly, the Democrats were meant to juxtapose Republican
rhetoric - racist, anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-everyone else who does
not look or sound like them - with a more conciliatory language.
Yet this is the best that Bill Clinton could come up with.
But what if we, Muslims and others, entirely disagree with Clinton’s
definition of ‘terror’? And what if the ‘freedom’ he is offering us is
deceptive doublespeak? What if we want to take part in building an America
that has no space for corrupt politicians like him and his wife?
Does it follow that millions of us are simply not wanted in this country?
To leave and, regardless of who wins in November, to never come back?
The crowd roared when Clinton recited his denigrating conditions on Muslim
citizenship, and, notably, this is the more ‘progressive’ segment in
How is this going to help the already
charged situation, anyway?
According to the results of a
poll, a majority of Americans believe that Islam, more than any other
religion, encourages violence. Republicans are particularity anti-Muslim
(74 percent shared these views) but a sizable number of Democrats (41
percent) hold such
toxic ideas about Islam and its followers, as well.
can understand how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 contributed
to this massive misconception. But is it fair to forget that millions of
Muslims have perished in America’s seemingly endless wars, interventions
and foreign policy debacles, decades before that date?
Clinton’s own legacy has proven most deadly to Muslims. The Iraq
sanctions, which he sustained, in addition to his constant bombing of that
country, has caused
hundreds of thousands of Muslims to perish.
Yet, instead of
apologizing to Muslims, this conceited millionaire politician had the
audacity to condition the presence of American Muslims in their own
country on a laundry list of slogans.
Did Bill Clinton
know that the majority of victims of terrorism are, in fact, Muslims?
His speech writer should have at least checked on the US government's
own records. According to a 2011
report issued by the US government's National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC),
"Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over
the past five years."
In fact, with the advent of so-called ISIS
(which was spawned from al-Qaeda and which materialized in Iraq only after
the US invasion of that country in 2003) the percentage of Muslim victims
must be far higher.
As if American Muslims have not already
suffered tremendously. They have been victims of racial and religious
discrimination and violence for years. The media has been nothing but a
hate fest targeting them, their core values and loyalty to their own
country. Many of them are constantly being singled out as if they do not
belong or cannot be trusted.
This is not an issue of mere societal
perception based on media disinformation but is, in fact, cemented in US
law, starting with the ‘Secret
Evidence’ law in 1996, and the USA
Patriot Acts that followed.
The unfortunate fact is that
Muslims are victims of terrorism in more ways than one, including when
their countries are attacked and destroyed by western interventions (Iraq,
Libya, Syria); when they fall victim to revengeful, misguided violence
(Nearly one third
of Nice, France attack victims were Muslims); and when they are wholly
victimized and stereotyped by western media as the source of terror.
This sad, vicious cycle keeps on occurring every single day, and innocent
Muslims are paying the highest price for it. It is no surprise, then, that
many American Muslims were disheartened by
Bill Clinton’s disingenuous ‘counter offer’ for Muslims to stay in ‘his’
But the danger in Clinton’s discourse goes beyond
Muslims, into the kind of intellectual tyranny that was also espoused
by George W. Bush after September 11, 2001. “Either you are with us or
you are with the terrorists,” he had said.
Both Clinton and Bush
used the pronoun ‘us’ in their ultimatums. But since ‘they’ represents
powerful, rich families who command massive, unrelenting war machines, not
only Muslims but everyone else should be very concerned.
broader sense, these ultimatums do not only target Muslim Americans but
any independent thinking non-conformist as well.
“In this age, the
mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to
custom, is itself a service,” wrote influential philosopher John Stuart
Mill in ‘On Liberty’.
America’s political elites never cease
referencing old script of intellectual giants that influenced their
country but, in reality, they live by entirely different standards.
Clinton’s statement at the DNC was, in fact, a call for conformity, along
with an ominous subtext:
"If you’re a Muslim and you love America
and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a
And since the Democratic Convention had little
room for dissent or nonconformists, no one had the chance to respond to
Clinton’s statement, right there and then. Nonetheless, this is my
Dear Bill Clinton,
Yes, I am a
Muslim, but I don’t love the America you stand for and represent, but
an America that is both peaceful and
Yes, I love freedom, too, but not your
freedom which violates international law, continues to wage war at will,
to further increase the income disparity between rich and poor, to violate
the sanctity of an elected office and to wreak havoc upon an already
devastated, suffering world.
Yes, I hate terror, including the
terror that you have inflicted upon the world: your ‘clean war’ in Kosovo,
your ‘Operation Desert Fox’ in Iraq and Hillary’s war on Libya.
I stay, I have no intention of helping you build a future for the rich and
powerful at the expense of the poor and abandoned, but demolish your own
doing of a past and present that are rife with bloodletting abroad and
inequality at home.
If I leave, I will seek a world that does not
condition my being, my very liberty and right not to conform, on
ultimatums and blind loyalty to a system so corrupt that it is willingly
destroying itself for the sake of money and the fleeting illusion of
- Dr Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East
for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of
PalestineChronicle.com. His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second
Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter:
Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net
Share this article with your facebook friends