“Worried Utah Muslims on Trump’s win: We thought Mormons had our backs”

“Worried Utah Muslims on Trump’s win: We thought Mormons had our backs” November 11, 2016


Khadeeja Mosque in WVC
The Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City (photo from the CRC Construction website)


I was disappointed when Utah failed to make a stronger statement on election day — though the statement may actually have been stronger than some have realized; see this — but I was deeply saddened to see the headline of an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:




I understand the concerns of many of Utah’s Muslims.  As the saying goes (but I really mean it), I feel their pain.  Donald Trump’s statements about Islam and minorities are among the (very) many reasons that I opposed him.  But I think that Utah Muslims are misinterpreting Mr. Trump’s victory here in my adopted state.


I’m convinced that Mr. Trump didn’t win the election.  Instead, in my judgment, the Clintons lost it.  And I believe this to have been even more clearly true in Utah than it was nationally.


Here’s a worthwhile little piece from a libertarian perspective:


“Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash”


The Trump victory was also, as this more mainstream conservative author points out, a repudiation of certain elements of President Obama’s tenure:


“Not Just a Rejection of Washington, a Rejection of Obama’s Washington”


Is Donald Trump a less than ideal vehicle for defeating the Clintons and liberal hubris?  Yes.  Yes!  A thousand times Yes.  (My opposition to him has been as visible and as consistent as I’m capable of making it.)


Like me, National Review’s Kevin Williamson was a member, from the start, of the “Never Trump” movement.  But I agree completely with his take on the results of the 2016 presidential campaign:


“RIP Clinton, Inc.:  A shadow is lifted”


I’m depressed that Donald Trump won.  I’m not happy that he’ll soon be our president.  However, I’m delighted that Hillary Clinton lost.


I’ve spoken with many Latter-day Saints and many Utahns about the election, both before and after 8 November.  And I think I know my people.  In my judgment, the proportion of those who voted for Mr. Trump who can also be described as serious, committed Trumpists is very, very small.  My sense is that the vast majority of those in Utah who voted for Mr. Trump did so in order to thwart the ambitions of Hillary Clinton, and did so while holding their noses.  And even of those who affirmatively supported Mr. Trump, by far most in Utah (and, also by far, probably most nationally) supported him not because they hate Mexicans and Muslims and other minorities but because they were worried about global trade, uncontrolled immigration, rising healthcare costs, and similar issues.  (I don’t think that Donald Trump represents anything remotely like the optimal solution to those problems, but that’s irrelevant to my point here.)  Many elements of the so-called “alt-right” are genuinely appalling and repulsive, but I don’t think that the “alt-right” was a crucial element in Mr. Trump’s victory and I’m absolutely certain that it played, at most, a negligible role here in Utah.  Utah and Mormon revulsion at the religious and ethnic bigotry that has swirled around Trumpism was genuine, not feigned, and I know of no reason to believe that it’s no longer felt.  Those Latter-day Saints who voted for him did so despite, not because of, his targeting of religious and other minorities.


The bottom line?  My point here is that Utah’s law-abiding, peaceful Muslim community needn’t be afraid that their Mormon neighbors won’t have their backs, let alone that the community in which they live hates them.


And I’ll repeat the public pledge that I made in a post yesterday:  I will publicly oppose actual religious bigotry anywhere I see it.  And if measures are proposed or actions undertaken that I judge to violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom, that are unjust or oppressive, or that seem to reflect intolerance and hate, I’ll be there arm in arm with my Muslim brothers and sisters and with whoever else might be a target of such measures.  For whatever it’s worth, that’s a promise.


And I hope that my fellow Latter-day Saints will go out of their way to affirm their friendship and support for any and all minority ethnic and religious groups in their neighborhoods, including Muslims, who live peacefully, contribute to their communities, and obey the laws.  I intend to do so.  And this statement is merely a beginning.



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