WASHINGTON – Though Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” unleashed a huge wave of Islamophobic attacks targeting Muslims, a new study has revealed that the same decision actually improved attitudes toward Muslim, as people viewed such bans as “un-American.”
“In the hours and days after the executive order was signed we also demonstrated that the information environment — which overwhelmingly focused on the ban above other news events and executive orders — painted the ban, to some degree, as inherently un-American,” the authors of the study published this week in the journal Political Behavior stated, Vox reported.
On Jan. 27, 2016, US President signed the first version of what was called the “Muslim ban,” banning immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries before a US judge suspended it on Feb. 3.
Another order, dubbed by activists as “Muslim ban 2.0,” was signed on March 6 and kept a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp called the ban a ploy to “turn … Islamophobia into the official guiding light of American immigration policy,” legitimizing and codifying the xenophobia and racism Trump had harnessed to win the presidency.
The ban has heralded a new wave of Islamophobic incidents in America, with anti-Islamic violence and hate speech in 2017 exceeding the year immediately following the 9/11 attacks, according to a report by the Council on American Islamic Relations.
According to political scientists Loren Collingwood, Nazita Lajevardi, and Kassra A.R. Oskooii of the University of California Riverside, Michigan State University, and the University of Delaware, respectively, the ban had an unexpected up-side.
The authors found that the national discourse about the Muslim ban, and a general sense from liberal and mainstream media, was that the policy was at odds with “American values.”
“Challenges to the ban were numerous, with protesters, media commentators, and elites repeatedly and openly critiquing it as fundamentally incompatible with core American values,” the authors wrote.
The paper’s authors described that in a media atmosphere focusing on what it means to be American, respondents generally found that “Americanness” meant inclusivity, not isolation.