Because the Muslim population is based in cities and relatively small, nativists have little contact with and are unlikely to focus on Muslims for long: "We are not the main target of xenophobia because there are bigger groups to be racist about."
I don’t think there is a Republican foreign policy or something that’s coherent in any real way. Biden’s withdrawal comes directly from Trump’s deal so this is a major legacy not just of Biden but of Trump, so I think that complicates the whole story.
It seemed early on that close American allies like Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E would be on the wrong side of this, as well as Israel — countries that were generally very reticent about democratic change in the Middle East. But there was quite a shift where, over time, the big winners, at least for now, from the aftermath of the Arab Spring are precisely those countries... One of the lessons of the Arab Spring unfortunately is that repression works. That the wall of fear can be rebuilt.
[Whether on Israel, Iran or a host of other issues] it’s not possible to go back to the way things once were. That would require altering some of what happened the past few years... [But having an experienced team full of] traditional foreign policy thinkers [could lead the administration to fall into familiar traps if they] apply traditional ideas to a changed world... In the past there was at least some bipartisan consensus on major foreign policy, and a group of elder statesmen that tended to be less partisan. That is no longer the case on the Republican side. [The principle that] America has this moral leadership role to play in the world [is] just not where the heart of the Republican Party is.
I don’t know what the right word is — censorship or repression or something else...But the basic point holds — a powerful regime that doesn’t have the same scruples as others is creating a culture of fear, and companies react with kowtowing.
The rise of Islamism, a highly politicized interpretation of Islam, since the 1970s only seemed to confirm the same view: that “Islam is resistant to secularization,” as Shadi Hamid, a prominent thinker on religion and politics, observed in his 2016 book, Islamic Exceptionalism.
At an even broader level, Islamic exceptionalism means questioning the conventional technocratic approach that sees problems both at home and abroad as products of material factors that can be addressed through targeted policy interventions. Things like poverty, underdevelopment, rural-urban migration, and so on all matter, but so do the things that can’t be measured.
Putting the context of [Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia] aside, the imagery is striking: Here is Donald Trump in the birthplace of Islam speaking to Muslim leaders from across the world, and the Koran is bring recited before he gives his address...That's at least somewhat positive in showing that he's going out of his way to address Muslim leaders in a way that's not overly antagonistic.