President Trump embarked on a worldwide campaign for “religious freedom” early in his presidency, but that means different things to different people: especially if you’re talking to someone of the Islamic faith. It’s obvious that when Trump says “religious freedom” he’s applying it only to the religion that most of his followers are a part of — Christianity. Meanwhile some people are saying that Islam isn’t even a religion at all.
What does that mean? Why are they saying it?
At first it was primarily political. People like Pat Buchanan and Austin Rose, known for their ultra-conservative beliefs, wanted to distance themselves from Democrats and increase Republican chances of winning office during each cycle. It turns out slamming Islam just happened to help them meet that end.
What they’re doing is important because of what would happen should the United States government go down the path to eliminating Islam’s status as a religion. Not only would there be worldwide outrage, but Muslims would no longer be protected by religious freedom laws — you know, those funny pieces of legislation that were originally written to ensure you could pray to whichever god you like.
From there, it’s a slippery slope to eliminating the status of other religions or making it illegal for someone to practice a faith outside of “traditional” American lines of thinking.
Most of the explosive feelings that come about because of Islam are based on myths. One such myth says that Islam is a monolith. That means it’s more of a political or social structure than a religious one. That’s why we see so many bans on Sharia law around the country.
Lawyer Asma T. Uddin said, “The movement behind this uses a lot of the same language: that Sharia or Islamic religious law is actually just a political tool to take over the U.S. The way I see it is that this is just another way to say Islam is not a religion. In terms of the policy ramifications and legal ramifications, you see this happening in all the different states that are attempting to limit Muslim religious arbitration.”
That might sound complicated to some people who don’t really understand the daily struggles the average Muslim living in the United States will have to go through. No one should be very surprised that practicers of Islam are much less likely to win a religious freedom-related case in court than any other religious group in the country. But that’s the reality for most Muslims.