President-elect Donald Trump's plans for a Muslim ban or registry are still on the table, he suggested Wednesday afternoon, implying that the deadly attacks this week in Turkey and Berlin validated such discriminatory policies.
Speaking to reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida he said that "what's going on is terrible. Terrible terrible."
Trump was asked by a reporter: "Has it caused you to rethink or reevaluate your plans to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration in the United States?" He responded: "You've known my plans all along and I've been proven to be right. 100 percent correct."
"[Reactions like Trump's are] precisely what ISIS’s leadership wants: to generate anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe that can, in turn, be used to generate anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East and North Africa." —Tania Ildefonso Ocampos, Middle East analyst
Trump had on Monday blamed both attacks on radical Islamic terrorism, which Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) criticized, saying that it was a premature conclusion and that "it appears that the attack in Turkey on the Russian ambassador wasn't a religious attack but was a political one, revenge for what's going on in Aleppo."
In September on the campaign trail, Trump similarly followed the bombing in Manhattan by saying that "we've been letting people in by their thousands and thousands and I've been saying you've got to stop it." He also said that the policing tactics of Israeli forces including profiling were a model to follow.
Last December, the Trump campaign said in a statement that he "is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," and has said that his White House "would certainly implement" a Muslim database.
Despite Trump's predictable response to the assassination of Russia's ambassador in Turkey and the attack in Berlin, Tania Ildefonso Ocampos, a Spanish political analyst who specializes in Middle East policy, argued this week that such reactions actually play into the hands of groups like the Islamic State (or ISIS).
Citing its own publications, Ocampos points out that ISIS actually wants violence in Europe and elsewhere to generate anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment. Through such attacks, Ocampos writes, "the group aims to capitalize on European anxiety and provoke EU member states to put even more restrictions on the number of refugees taken in from the region with the ultimate goal of generating an anti-Western sentiment among the Muslim ummah."
Reactions like Trump's, she continues, are "precisely what IS's leadership wants: to generate anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe that can, in turn, be used to generate anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East and North Africa."
So it's not only morally wrong, Ocampos argues, but strategically counter-productive.
"We must challenge [ISIS's] intentions: we must remember that the vast majority of refugees fleeing the region do not pose a security threat. They are desperate human beings risking their lives to escape violence and economic hardship in their respective war-torn countries—as we would do if we were them."
And concludes, "Let us not make this threat bigger than it is."