Some civil rights supporters have become steadily more worried about the attitudes surfacing in the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks and the shooting in San Bernadino; conservative presidential nominee Donald Trump has elicited opinions fostering anti-Muslim efforts to block the entrance of Muslim individuals into the country and force all Muslims to post their names in a database. To the dismay of many, these controversial ideas are greeted with cheers by his supporters.
Perhaps even more worrying is the bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week. If it’s approved by the Senate and avoids a presidential veto, the bill will prevent the return to America of any dual American and Iranian, Syrian, and Iraqi citizens that traveled to their countries of non-American citizenship without a working visa. Trump will spew what he spews, but institutionalized anti-Muslim laws are another issue entirely.
Luckily, for every voice that speaks out in hate, there is another that attempts to remind the masses of the nuances of the problem; if the fact that there are non-violent Muslims can be considered a “nuance”.
One such voice is that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who last Wednesday shared a message of support to non-violent Muslims on Facebook and throughout the world.
“As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities,” he stated.
“Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone. If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.”
The post received well over one million likes, 195,000 shares, and 62,000 comments within 24 hours of its release.
“I have worked with many Muslims and… they have always treated me, a Christian, with respect. America is supposed to be a place where people of all faiths can live, prosper and not fear being attacked or mistreated,” wrote one commenter, David Singleton.
“I married into the Muslim community and everyone I know there are amazing people,” stated another.
Associate professor of sociology at the University of California Davis saw a lot of value in Zuckerberg’s words:
“[His post] will be a signal to other leaders that Trump is no longer an entertaining buffoon, but a serious danger to religious liberty and American values that must be confronted,” he explained. He drew a lot of meaning from Zuckerberg’s reference to his Jewish heritage, stating “Trump’s animus towards Islam resembles that of Americans in earlier times who vilified and discriminated against a variety of religious groups; Jews, Catholics, and evangelical Christians.”
This is not Zuckerberg’s first step into the arena of politics. He gave a statement earlier this month in which he claimed, “We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates,” and announced that he would be giving away the majority of his fortune.
Halfmann shed some light on this matter as well:
“Like most super rich people, Zuckerberg is now in the process of converting his billions into social and political power. I think we can expect him to publically join many more political debates in the future.”
Many welcome the advance of self-made tech billionaires like Zuckerberg and Mark Benioff into the political arena; after all, at least they made their fortunes by way of intelligence and creativity. Many rich-to-politician converts (like Donald Trump) were simply born into the ruling class, and are by now means fit to lead.