As the most important U.S. presidential election draws nigh, what—one must ask in light of the spate of terror attacks in France and elsewhere—are the two candidates' positions on Islam?
Most recently, President Trump summarized both what his and a Biden presidency would entail during a rally in Butler, Pa., on October 31:
To protect our security I suspended the entry of foreign refugees from terror afflicted nations. Biden has pledged a staggering 700 percent increase in refugees from the most violent terrorist hotspots anywhere on earth. If you don't mind, I'll end that. And that was the deal, the manifesto, that he agreed to with Bernie Sanders and AOC+3 [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and three other female "progressive" reps, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts]...
The Biden plan would overwhelm your communities ... and open the floodgates to radical Islamic terrorism. Call France; ask them how are they doing? You saw what's happening there, and what's happening is a disgrace.... So, if you don't mind, we'll take a pass, ok? You know I passed the ban, right, the ban, and everyone said "what a terrible thing," and we won at the Supreme Court, and now we keep people out who can't love our country, people that want to hurt people. We want them out and we will keep them out. We are keeping the terrorists and the jihadists ... the hell out of our country.
Trump certainly seems to "get it." His interest in "keep[ing] people out who can't love our country" echoes another important assertion he once made. Back in March 2016, during a CNN interview when Trump was a Republican presidential candidate, he said:
I think Islam hates us. There's something there that — there's a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There's an unbelievable hatred of us.
While these remarks were, as might be imagined, "triggering" to the Left, they also touched on a central truth: Islam does indeed teach Muslims to hate non-Muslims. According to the central doctrine of al-wal'a wa al-bara', or "loyalty and enmity"—which is well-grounded in the Koran and other Islamic scriptures, well sponsored by Islamic authorities, and well manifested all throughout Islamic history and contemporary affairs—Muslims must hate and oppose everyone who is not Muslim, including family members and their own wives.
Indeed, as if to settle the debate once and for all, a few months after Trump said "Islam hates us," the Islamic State published an article aptly titled "Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You":
We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son [Christ], you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you.
[ISIS then quotes the Koran:] "There has already been for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, 'Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone'" [Koran 60:4].
Furthermore, just as your disbelief is the primary reason we hate you, your disbelief is the primary reason we fight you, as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam, either by becoming Muslims, or by paying jizyah – for those afforded this option ["People of the Book"] – and living in humiliation under the rule of the Muslims [per Koran 9:29].
Biden stands by all the usual Democratic clichés about Islam.
What about ol' Joe? The Democratic presidential nominee is, as might be expected, standing by all the usual Democratic clichés: that Islam is inherently good and peaceful; that terrorists are "hijacking" the great faith for their own ends; and that more education, more "inclusion," and less "Islamophobia" are what will put an end to terrorism. Or, to quote from an October 15 New Arab report:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised on Wednesday that Muslim Americans would serve at "every level" of his administration.
In a video message to civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, Biden repeated his pledge to repeal the Trump administration's travel ban on his first day in office.
The former vice president added that he would push for legislation to fight a rise in hate crimes in the United States, according to media reports.
"As president, I'll work with you to rip the poison of hate from our society, honor your contributions and seek your ideas," Biden said in the video address.
"My administration will look like America, Muslim Americans serving at every level," he added.
Trump offers a serious approach that recognizes some of Islam's most problematic doctrines.
So, along with the countless other extreme differences between the current and the would-be presidents, Trump offers a serious approach that recognizes some of Islam's most problematic doctrines, while Biden offers the usual, feel-good bromides—the natural culmination of which can now be seen in France, which is slowly resembling a war zone.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum.