In an effort to counter the xenophobic narrative of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, former U.S. President Bill Clinton attempted to call for unity behind Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in a speech he gave at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
But in one sentence, Clinton disparagingly divided Muslim Americans into two categories: those who hate terrorism and those who don't.
"If you're a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you," Clinton said.
While Clinton is attempting to send a message of unity, he instead made the troublesome presumption that Muslim Americans don't inherently love America and hate terror.
Clinton's remarks imply that in order for Muslim Americans to be regarded as a productive U.S. citizen, they must advocate against and combat terrorism. It also implies that those who disagree with the government's controversial counterterrorism policies don't hate terror and aren't wanted in the U.S.
Often, Muslim Americans aren't seen as a part of the fabric of this country, but rather only as a tool or an asset to fight terrorism. Hillary Clinton proved this to be the case when she made a remark about "terror-hating Muslims," perpetuating the deeply Islamophobic notion that Muslims inherently approve of terrorism.
"They [GOP] demonize and discriminate against hard-working, terror-hating Muslim Americans who we need in the fight against radicalization," the Democratic presidential nominee said at an April 26 campaign rally in Philadelphia.
When only .0002% of Americans have been killed by Muslims since Sept. 11, it doesn't make sense for Muslim Americans to be continuously linked to national conversations about terrorism.
It's time Clinton, and the rest of the Democratic Party, viewed them as part of their "us" narrative rather than just a tool for counterterrorism.