The look on CNN anchor Fredericka Whitfield said it all, as she was being informed that President Donald Trump is “beloved” in much of the Muslim world.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a Muslim scholar and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, appeared on CNN to insist that the Trump administration is not Islamophobic, which was a common refrain from the left following the attack on two mosques in New Zealand that left at least 49 people dead — the deranged gunman said in a manifesto that he saw Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
“One thing the viewers should know, this president and this administration is often castigated as Islamophobic,” Ahmed said, “but I move in the Muslim word, in Egypt, in Oman, in Jordan, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where this president is beloved.”
And it’s not just President Trump who she said was held in high regard by Muslims, but the Republican Party as well.
“This president and the Republican Party going back to George Bush is very dearly held,” Ahmed added. “Today’s the anniversary of Halabja, the massacre of 180,000 Kurds at the hands of Saddam Hussein. That only changed because of a Republican president.
“So it is very important not to lose so much perspective that we start believing our entire government is Islamophobic. That is not the case.”
The New Zealand shooter put out a rambling 70-page manifesto that “drifted from one extreme ideology to another,” according to liberal USA Today. He said he aligned with the values of China and that he’s an “ecofascist” promoting “green nationalism.”
But much of the Trump-hating media jumped on a single, brief mention of Trump to lay the attack at the doorstep of the White House.
Ahmed did suggest Trump should do more to denounce “all forms of lethal bigotry,” to include white supremacy.
“I did see his very categorical condemnation of the events in New Zealand and that was gratifying,” she said. “And I also feel that he needs to do the same about white supremacy, not only the United States, but globally. There is nothing — the president has no responsibility if a fanatic mentions him in a manifesto. A fanatic could equally mention me. So I don’t think that is his responsibility. But yes, I would like to see President Trump condemn all forms of lethal bigotry.”
Social media users were convinced that Trump-hating CNN wasn’t expecting to hear this:
And a stunned CNN host can only say, “thank you”.
— Lisa (@YoungStreete) March 17, 2019
This is not something CNN wanted us to hear
— banshee (@ColemanBennett) March 17, 2019
Well…she’ll never be on CNN again.
— MJ Carty ?? (@carty_marty) March 18, 2019
Ah Oh – not what they wanted to hear and we’ll never see her again on CNN!
— Terry Micklos (@tailpipe72) March 17, 2019
— Mashaa (@manyeki) March 17, 2019
At the same time, there was an appreciation for a point of view coming from one who travels in the Muslim world and is willing to tell the truth.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
I remember reading a fairly credible article, as such articles go; about the abuses of Suddam AND his family at that time. This was before the U.S targeted him, some time after Desert Storm
If even a fraction of what I read was true, I can understand why people of Iraq love GBW
— Honorary American (@honoraryamerica) March 17, 2019
Thank you for speaking truth when so many are only saying what they think others want to hear. Blessings to you and yours.
— Trui (@Trui30764974) March 19, 2019
Very nice. I’m muslim and approve this message. Thank you Dr. Ahmed.
— کیا80 (@ms80ir) March 19, 2019
Thank you so much for saying this. It seems like all we hear are negative news all the time about @realDonalTtump . I know millions like myself appreciate it. Thank you
— LeRu Investments (@LeRuInvest) March 19, 2019
Great to hear the perspective of someone who actually lives in these places. So glad she spoke up
— Melissa (@tweetmelissa7) March 18, 2019
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