Oregon-based writer Brian Doyle examines, challenges and disputes the Islamophobia preached in the name of freedom by America and Australia’s politicians.

Question for all the people who think that America and Australia should ban Muslim immigrants, ban Muslim travelers, watch-list Muslim citizens, forbid the construction of mosques and accuse Muslim citizens of knowing beforehand the evil intentions of other people worldwide who happen to share their religion: what part of the following sentences do you not understand? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; The Commonwealth shall not make any law for … prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.

Is that not painfully clear? Are they not sentences that make the distinction between state and religion basic tenets of America and Australia?

Are they not sentences that mean that all religions are welcome and untrammeled? Sentences that mean any main street in America and Australia might feature a Catholic church, a Jewish temple, an Episcopalian church, a Baha’i church and a Buddhist prayer stupa? And isn’t that street utterly representative of America and Australia in their founding devotion to freedom of speech and assembly and belief?

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Photo credit: quinntheislander

But wait! say those who would ban Muslims. There are Muslims who call for the murder of Americans and Australians! Indeed there are, and last I looked our estimable intelligence services, military and criminal investigation personnel and government representatives were working intently to identify, arrest and flout such murderous thugs. But we should ban people of religions who call for murder! say those who would ban and repress innocent Muslims. Is that so? Did we ban and spy on Catholics, after Hitler, born Catholic, set his sights on murdering Americans on his way to enslaving the world? Did we ban and spy on Russian Orthodox people after Stalin set his sights on murdering Americans and Australians as he reached greedily for Europe? Did we ban and spy on Buddhist and Shinto believers when Japan set out to murder Americans as it sought to enslave Asia? No? Then why would we do such a thing now?

It is illegal to ban and spy on people of certain spiritual traditions. It is a flouting of our Constitutions. Those who support such ideas are either uninformed as to the laws and tenets of America and Australia, or they are willing and ready to flout the laws and tenets of America and Australia. These nations were founded on several basic principles, and I hope with all my heart that every American and Australian, of every faith tradition or none, will remember that, when it comes time to elect the men and women who will represent each and every citizen in national and international discourse and debate. To vote for someone who calls for the flouting of the Constitution seems to me like the most un-American and un-Australian vote possible; and to vote for, essentially, a war between the ancient religion of Islam and the West is to vote for exactly what the late and wholly unlamented thug Osama bin Laden wanted more than anything else in his brief and misspent life.

Here I ask a question directly of Senator Pauline Hanson in Australia and Mr Donald Trump in America. You two seriously want what Osama bin Laden wanted? Are you sure? That’s your ideological mate, one of the most murderous thugs of our time?

Brian Doyle

Poet and writer Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine, has contributed to Platform and Eureka Street, and is the author of many fiction and non-fiction works, including Thirsty for the Joy.