Middle East

Trump lawyer calls Islam a ‘great country’ while defending Muslim ban

The majority of Supreme Court justices appeared convinced on Wednesday of the legality of the travel ban (Reuters)

Donald Trumps lawyer has called Islam “one of the great countries of the world” while defending the US president's ban on Muslim immigration, sparking ridicule on social media sites.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco on Wednesday told a Supreme Court hearing on the US president's ban that Islam was "one of the great countries of the world".

The court heard oral arguments in Trump versus Hawaii, the case against the president's executive order banning entry for nationals of several countries, most of which are Muslim-majority states.

"He has made crystal clear that Muslims in this country are great Americans, and there are many, many Muslim countries who love this country," Francisco said in closing remarks.

"And he has praised Islam as one of the great countries of the world."

Light blue-touch paper, step back, cue Twitter fireworks.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco closed today's SCOTUS case on the #MuslimBan case by arguing that Trump "has praised Islam as one of the great countries of the world."

HELP this is actually real pic.twitter.com/w9QMWTpzpI

— Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani (@AdrienneMahsa) April 25, 2018

found it hard not to laugh out loud inside the U.S. Supreme Court during the #NoMuslimBanEver arguments when in closing the government attorney noted that President Trump loves Muslims and Islam is a great country. You try to make sense of that nonsense…

— Zahra Billoo (@ZahraBilloo) April 25, 2018

The United States Supreme Court is currently debating Trumps Muslim ban.

The government attorney arguing in defense of the ban just closed by saying “Islam is a great country.”

Were doomed.

— Jeremy McLellan (@JeremyMcLellan) April 25, 2018

Following Trumps announcement of his “Muslim ban” around this time last year, the country witnessed a wave of Islamophobia.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that 2017 was one of the worst years for Muslims in America, with attacks on community members increasing by 44 percent from the year before.

Since then, the so-called Muslim ban has morphed into several versions, with many states' supreme courts weighing in on the legality of Trump's executive order, which for now targets Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela.

A statement published on Trumps campaign website on 7 December 2015, which has since been removed, called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", until he could "figure out what the hell was going on".

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as the vice chairman of Trumps transition team, told Fox: “When he first announced in, he said 'Muslim ban'."

"He called me up. He said 'put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally'."

These remarks were not the only controversial comments Trump has made about Muslims.

He also said in an interview with CNN: “I think Islam hates us.”

In the interview, Trump drew very little distinction between the religion and terrorism.

"It's very hard to define. It's very hard to separate. Because you don't know who's who.”

Protesters rally outside DHS office in Chicago against Trump ban (AFP)

Seeking to prove that Trump is not in fact intolerant of Muslims, Francisco had meant to say that Islam was one of the worlds “greatest faiths”, the solicitor generals office told Business Insider.

Francisco had intended to reference Trumps speech in Saudi Arabia last May, in which he described Islam as such. But Franciscos slip of the tongue was not met kindly.

In closing argument before the SUPREME COURT regarding the Muslim Ban Solicitor General Noel Francisco stated that Trump believes “Islam is one of the greatest countries in the world.”
Islam isnt a country. America is though. Lets keep it great by getting rid of these idiots.

— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) April 26, 2018

Trumps rhetoric surrounding Islam has been one of the main causes for opposition. The hashtag NoMuslimBanEver kicked off on Twitter as arguments were made before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In 2017, there were 3.45 million Muslims in the US, making up about 1.1 percent of the total US population, a report published by the Pew Research Centre found.

The report attributed the group's predicted growth to immigration and high fertility rates. Currently, 75 percent of Muslims in the US are immigrants or second-generation Americans, according to the data.

As the Muslim population – estimated to more than double to 8.1 million in 2050 – continues to grow, questions of how members of other communities perceive and interact with them have become more pressing.

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