Presidential elections are coming in The United States so debates, arguments and discussions are taking place right at the core of the American society. Although topics are diverse, the religious issue, maybe curiously, seems to be the hottest one yet. It might have been Donald Trump who brought it out in the first place, but he is not the only one who is talking about it. Indeed, the country is facing a historic moment given the fact that its central position in the international system is shaking and some ancient ideas based on racism and xenophobia are certainly coming back. In fact, the USA is not just the only country where this kind of ideas are resurging; other countries such as France, Germany and England are incubating emerging political parties which think that immigration and certain religious groups are the main cause of their economic power decrease and social convulsions.
It would not be an amazing scientific discovery if we say that the fact of the World Trade Centre blowing up almost live on TV was the beginning of the xenophobia’s return, but what is interesting is that it has come back in the particular way of islamophobia, which is just another branch of the classical racism but a little more sophisticated. The point is that many politicians believe they can take advantage of the hate which all governments post 11-S have been creating against certain religious groups, or more specifically, against Muslim people, including the American Muslims. However, blaming local minorities or “evil foreigners” for the ills of a country is an old story and a perverse mechanism used by many governments throughout history, especially in The United States.
It is curious to realize that main Western countries are often criticizing the religious radicalization around the world and more precisely in the Middle East but without considering if they are not their own countries which are being victims of this phenomenon. Of course, religious radical groups do exist around the world and the Middle East is no exception. Currently, many revolutionary political processes in that area are being led by radical Islamic factions, but we must go deeper and wonder why it works in that way. Have not religious institutions been the only ones which have historically preserved some essential features of these peoples in spite of the fairly recent processes of colonization? Is it not quite logical that these young societies develop their social projects through the only institutions which have not been taken away from them?
Radicalization is an issue which deserves repudiation at all levels and the religious one is no exception, even if it shows itself in a hidden way. A country like the United States, which has had more than two hundred years to develop their own social and political institutions based on democratic principles, should not fall in the trap of xenophobia. The American people do not even deserve to waste time going backwards; they need to discuss the way in which they can solve the most serious problem they have: how will they manage to build an integrated society beyond all kinds of racial discrimination or religious prejudice. Banning the entrance of Muslims through the borders, kicking out those who are currently living there, prohibiting the use of the hijab or the Niqab, wishing not to have a Muslim president or building a wall as Israel did, will not neither make the economy grow nor will it get them the world’s leadership back.