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Nationalism & Religion

Small wonder that President Trump’s counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, offered a strained defence of the President in a CNN interview on Sunday ~ “He does think it’s a threat.”

Editorial | New Delhi |

From Christchurch in New Zealand to Poway in California via the bedlam and butchery in Colombo, there has, since the middle of March, been a hideous rise in mayhem embedded in religious hatred.

It is hard not to wonder whether intolerance can and does afflict even the fountainheads of libertarian mores. The death of only one person and injuries to three others in a shootout at a synagogue in California does not lessen the enormity of last weekend’s tragedy.

It is the recurrent outrage across nations that matters most of all, without digression to a relative estimate of the death toll. The shooting in the town of Poway has happened exactly six months after a white supremacist shot dead eleven people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. That deadly attack on Jews in America’s history has now been followed up with impunity.

The latest outrage on the last day of the Jewish celebration of Passover, came less than a week after the terrorist attack by ISIS on Christian churches in Sri Lanka. If New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United States of America are held up as case-studies, it is painful to reflect that Muslims, Christians and Jews are the targeted victims of calculated malevolence.

If the US administration has now come under renewed scrutiny, it is primarily because double-think on the canker of white nationalism runs wild at the helm. Of course, Donald Trump has unequivocally condemned the shooting ~ “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community.

We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.” On the face of it, he has reacted as any responsible Head of State would; but the lack of consistency has astonished Americans when contextualised with his response in the immediate aftermath of the outrage in New Zealand last month.

Acutely aware that it was a hate-inspired shooting that killed 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, Mr Trump’s reaction was as facile as it was delusory ~ “I do not believe that white nationalism presents a growing threat”. The colour of nationalism is not the point at issue; it is the hatred inspired by religion that is a threat to civilization.

The clash of civilizations is for real. Small wonder that President Trump’s counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, offered a strained defence of the President in a CNN interview on Sunday ~ “He does think it’s a threat.” She has scarcely been able to dumb down the inconsistency depending, as it turns out, on the religion of the victims. In death, Lori Kaye, the woman killed, symbolises Trump’s record on white supremacy.

His policy on the emotive issue is being targeted by the contenders for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Not least the video released by Joe Biden in Charlottesville, Virginia, where in 2017 a white supremacist rally over Confederate monuments descended into widespread violence and the murder of the 32-year-old anti-extremism protester.