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Al Fatihah For Donald Trump? – OpEd

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This longest-running reality TV episode of Televisualised America – the ritual called the US Presidential Race – presents an interesting challenge for candidates such as Donald Trump to understand what Islam is.

This roadshow of corporate power and old and new money is a chance for political-image makers to help Trump see Islam beyond his myopic, schizophrenic, and diabolic view of the religion of the people he will need votes from. He could see it as a philosophy of peace and revise his insistence that all Muslims are either terrorists or born-again suicide bombers.

I think if he is to be the next president of the United States and be christened as a War President ready to invade other countries and to profit from the country’s war-time industries, he should at least take a day off and read the most important chapter of the Quran: Al Fatihah or The Opening to understand the difference between what Muslims live by and what terrorists die for. It is not a difficult task nor require a US$255 million dollar a year salary to do it nor it is a Trump-Towering effort for a man who would be president.

It is as simple as understanding what Islam is and how not to get America’s far right to arm themselves and urge another crusade to establish America as a UFA – United Fascist America – cloaked in secrecy, paranoia, and always angry on Black Friday and endlessly waving semi-automatic assault rifles from Wal-Marts to Wall Street.

Not in any American backyard will this UFA emerge and become institutionalised and used to produce and enculturalise hate, especially towards Muslims who are as American as a falafel or roti canai with apple-filling served in a Muscle-Man-Cave Man Bar and Grill in Texas.

So, how must Americans educate Donald Trump? How must he be stopped from going around town urging that Muslims be thrown out the US of A or ID’ed, not be allowed to come into the country, or to call for the shutting down of all masjids?

Dangerously the Trump campaign is gaining momentum and gathering moss. Being a Presbyterian Christian and on the road to radicalizing himself and others Christians to become yet another genre of terrorists, Trump needs to slow down or be dumped. Will moderate Christians speak up against American Christian terrorism as well?

But I have a suggestion. It is somewhere in the line of a prayer for Owen Meany. But this one’s better – Al Fatihah for Trump. He needs to read that chapter and use it in his campaigns.

And then he needs to chill and think of what Islam is as a philosophy Wall Street money cannot buy.

‘Al Fatihah’

The quintessential and foundational chapter of the Quran, Al Fatihah, or The Opening offers this idea of mercy, peace, gratitude, and wisdom in choosing between Good and Evil. It introduces the reader to the idea that the path of righteousness or the ‘Siratul Mustaqim’ is the path of peace that will guide human beings in this journey through the bountiful and merciful world created by The Lord of the Universe.

This path is a challenging one, as we can see that even the world ‘Islam’ can be used to strike terror in others as well as create untold magnitude of destruction.

The emergence of the ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) or the Daesh (Darul Islamiyah) and the globalisation of terror is an example of how the word of Islam and the tawhidic message of peace can be misrepresented and be a guide to the path of “those cursed” as the last verse of the Al Fatihah reads.

Trump and his band of merry American wannabe-Christian-fundamentalist-terrorists must understand this. Trump must understand that this is also a message Jesus left for him – that peace and love are universal.

Jesus left another message for Trump: “You, Donald, cannot serve God and Money at the same time!”

Give peace and chance. Love is all we need, if John Lennon were to leave a phone message for Donald Trump.

Trump needs to read more on Islam. Especially the metaphysical view which can also be found in the way Buddhism views the self, reality, and existence. Buddhist ideas such as the self as non-existence and constantly evolving as the ‘being and becoming bodhisattva’ journeys towards ‘nibbbana or nirvana’, and constantly being aware of the impermanence of the self and the ephemerality of physical beings, and to live a principle of ‘non-attachment to this mechanistic and material world’, and finally to view that life is a process of samsara or the evolution towards liberation, perpetual happiness, and next to enter the realm of ‘being and nothingness’ – this view is where the similarity of Islam and core metaphysical teachings of existing cultural philosophies lie.

If Trump wants to be a president, and not wish to be a scum to be dumped, he will need to be more intelligent that just being able to make his next billion dollars, serving the Money God only.

Al Fatihah for President Donald Trump.

Dr. Azly Rahman

Dr. Azly Rahman

Dr. Azly Rahman is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books, namely Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present, Future (2009), Thesis on Cyberjaya: Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State (2012), The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity (2013), Dark Spring: Essays on the Ideological Roots of Malaysia's General Elections-13 (2013), a first Malay publication Kalimah Allah Milik Siapa?: Renungan dan Nukilan Tentang Malaysia di Era Pancaroba (2014), Controlled Chaos: Essays on Mahathirism, Multimedia Super Corridor and Malaysia's 'New Politics' (2014), and One Malaysia under God, Bipolar (2015). Five of the books are available here. He grew up in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and holds a doctorate in International Education Development from Columbia University in the City of New York, and Master's degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies communication, fiction and non-fiction writing. He is a member of the Columbia University chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. He currently teaches courses in Global Politics, Cross-Cultural Studies, and Sustainability, in the United States. Twitter @azlyrahman. More writings here.

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