Why some Muslims voted for Trump, despite his anti-Islam rhetoric
Outgoing United States President Donald Trump has faced a lot of criticism as an anti-Muslim figure. Most famously, his travel ban in 2017 mainly targeted Muslim-majority nations. His tweets and speeches also frequently push the deep-seated perception that Islam is a threat to the US. However, a survey conducted by the Associated Press showed that 35% of Muslims voted for Trump.
The Guardian spoke to a few Muslims on why they voted for Trump. Dr. Khalid Khan—an internal medicine physician in Houston, Texas—said he believed Trump handled the coronavirus pandemic as best as he could. Notably, the pandemic has been among the biggest concerns for voters against Trump. The US is the worst-hit nation with 11.3 million cases and nearly 2.5 million deaths.
Dr. Khan said, "When you eat a dish, you might not like every ingredient. But you like the whole dish. We should take the good and leave the bad," as he compared the US president to a mediocre meal. He did, however, mention that Trump lacks in making people wear a mask, which has become a politically divisive subject in the US.
Dr. Khan's wife, Annette—a nurse and a white Christian convert to Islam—said, "He said some things that would be perceived as anti-Muslim. I believe it was out of ignorance." She added, "When he banned Muslims from coming into the country, he was referring to those who were already established by the Obama administration as being terrorist-harboring countries. Not all Muslim countries."
Salman Razzaqi, a Minnesota native who now lives in Houston, told the publication, "I wish 95% of people voted for Trump. He's the one who harmed Muslims the least." Razzaqi, a proud Indian-American Muslim, "They [Democrats] always start a war. [Obama] destroyed Libya. He destroyed Syria. He started a war in Sudan. He started a war in Yemen."
Razzaqi—who said he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020—added, "Last eight months, there was not one bombing in Iraq. There was not one drone attack in Pakistan in four years. Syria is much better now than it was four years ago. Libya was left alone." He further said, "[Trump] is an angel compared to Obama and Bush. We should be thankful to him."
The Obama administration had conducted 1,878 drone strikes mainly in the Middle East. However, it should also be noted that in 2019, the Trump administration repealed an Obama-era rule that mandated the release of data on drone strikes and resulting deaths.
Razzaqi said he liked Obama "a lot" initially, however, he "just started handing out money." Describing himself as a Democrat, Razzaqi said US Democrats are destroying American values of hard work by spoiling people. He said he views Trump as a "shrewd businessman" and the Democrats as too generous on welfare issues.
"Making money in America is not a problem. Increasing wealth is not a problem," Razzaqi said. "Running a country is a business." Acknowledging the Muslim ban, Razzaqi said, "[Trump's] got the biggest mouth. That's the biggest problem...If he had the etiquette, he would be remembered as the best President ever." On Trump's 2020 election fraud allegations, he added, "He should concede and walk away."