Islamic scholar Reza Aslan’s video to Paul Ryan on the Muslim ban and his immigrant roots.
Iranian-American Islamic scholar Reza Aslan posted a video slamming Paul Ryan for supporting Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims from seven countries. Aslan reminded Ryan of his Irish-Catholic roots, and demanded to give an explanation to the nation for going back on his earlier words against Trump’s bigoted ideas and supporting him now.
In the 5-minute video, Aslan draws a parallel between what Irish Catholics had to face in America when they fled Ireland because of a famine, to what refugees face today when they are trying to escape war. Aslan says that just as now, even back then the Irish Catholics thought that America is the perfect place for them to escape to. However, it was only when they reached the American shores that they realized how much Catholics – especially the Irish – were hated. American history is full of instances of oppression and persecution against Irish Catholics, who the Americans referred to as being “dirty,” “uneducated,” “illiterate” and “untrustworthy.”
A more powerful parallel he drew was between the general fear Americans harbored that Catholics could not be faithful to the Pope and the American president at the same time. Today, the same fears are felt towards Muslims, because Americans believe that Muslims cannot be true to Islam and be good American citizens at the same time.
— Jessica Rhoades (@Jess_Rhoades) January 31, 2017
Ryan himself comes from a family that descends from such an Irish immigrant couple. In the video, Aslan tells Ryan today too, immigrants are looking for a life of peace and means of survival when they try to enter America. He goes on to say that he has no right to support the ban on immigrants because that is how he himself had been born in America.
Paul Ryan was one of the strongest opponents of the Muslim ban once upon a time. However, when the President came out with his new policy banning seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S., he was among the first to voice his support. He said the President is right in making sure there’s a clear procedure that determines who enters the country and who doesn’t. He also openly spoke about his immigrant lineage, and often reflected upon the gradual acceptance of the Irish into American society as reflective of it being a land of opportunity.