He has previously said “I think Islam hates us”, promised to “take the oil” as reimbursement in Iraq and told his own son-in-law that “if you can’t produce Middle East peace, nobody can”. And, on Friday, he was sworn in as president of the most powerful country in the world.
What was the Middle East saying as Donald Trump, businessman and reality TV star, was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States?
Top of the agenda was inevitably Trump’s promise in his inauguration speech to “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism”. Some were reassured by the statement:
Others, perhaps remembering pledges to ban Muslims from the US and create a “Muslim registry”, expressed concern that anti-terror rhetoric might translate into outright Islamophobia:
خطاب ترامب كما كان متوقعا، لامريكا وهيبتها وللشعب وازدهاره، ولكن المؤسف عبارته (سنقضي على ارهاب الاسلام المتطرف)، ربط الاسلام بالارهاب!— د. حيدر اللواتي (@DrAl_Lawati) January 20, 2017
Trump’s speech was as expected. About America, its prestige, its people and their posterity. However, it is unfortunate that his expression (“eradicate radical Islamic terrorism”) links Islam to terrorism.
Added to that, just how the new president intended going about “eradicating radical Islamic terrorism”, and what that would mean for ordinary Middle Eastern Muslims, concerned many on Twitter:
#Trump uses the technical term #IslamicTerrorism. #Bush killed two million Iraqis and #Truman killed 200,000 in Japan with nuclear weapons, and neither of them used technical terms.
Some, meanwhile, were pleased with the new president...
...Even if only because they relished the prospect of what problems he might cause for America:
الخراب الذي سيحدثه ترامب في امريكا سيفوق كثيرا الخراب الذي سيحدثه في العالم اذا اكمل ولايته رئيسا!— بسام جعارة (@BassamJaara) 20 January 2017
The devastation Trump will cause in America will greatly exceed the devastation he will wreak on the world if he finishes his term as President!
The majority, however, were simply keen to milk the opportunity to mock and satirize the larger-than-life new “leader of the free world”:
اول فيديو مسرب— عابر سبيل (@shorbajie) 20 January 2017
من احتفالات ترامب خلف الكواليس لفوزه بالرئاسة.
First video leaked: behind the scenes of Trump’s celebrations of his presidential victory.
Arabs may be laughing now, but with plans to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, it is safe to say the Middle East policies of the Trump administration are a serious business.
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