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Canvas Magazine Article

As if the global situation were not already alarming enough, President Trump has dramatically recast his country’s attitude to the Middle East and Muslim world. Julie Baumgardner looks at the complex identities, outlook and art of Middle Easterners in America.

In the United States right now there’s an uneasy chill in the air for Muslims, both American and foreign-born alike. Not only is the unconstitutional executive order’s so-called ‘travel ban’ to people from seven Muslim-majority MENA countries a thinly veiled agenda to restrict ‘Muslims’ but it is also challenging the very essence of what it means to be American. A campaign promise by the head of a new executive seemingly intent on tweeting his way through a slapdash playbook of ignorance, prejudice and alternative facts, President Trump’s recent actions have helped prompt the return of the almost medieval Orientalist view identified by Edward Said: “Not for nothing did Islam come to symbolise terror, devastation, the demonic, hordes of hated barbarians.” 

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