Jimmy Carter Blocked Iran’s Immigrants — Is Donald Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban The Same?

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has been controversial in many ways, but now the manner in which Carter handled Iran’s immigrants during the Iranian hostage crisis is being seen in a new light based upon the current plans of 2016 GOP hopeful Donald Trump. A week after the deadly San Bernardino shooting, Trump called for Muslim immigrants to be banned completely from entering the United States. Some have compared Trump to Adolf Hitler for suggesting this plan, but others on social media believe a comparison to Carter may be more appropriate.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, Jimmy Carter’s cancer has apparently responded to the treatment.

Trump has responded to the Hitler comparisons by claiming that his plan for temporarily banning Muslim immigrants is more like what former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did to the Germans, Italians, and Japanese during World War II. Trump even made his proposal during a Pearl Harbor Day rally and asked why he is looked down upon when former U.S. presidents have taken similar actions.

“Look at what F.D.R. did many years ago, and he’s one of the most respected presidents. This was a president that was highly respected by all,” Trump said. “If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”

The actions of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter against Iranian immigrants may also serve as a historical example. A book called “Iranians in Texas: Migration, Politics, and Ethnic Identity” explained what happened.

“The expulsion of Iranian diplomats and military trainees from the United States was one element of the four-part program announced by Carter for applying pressure on Iran. The other parts of the program included new trade sanctions against Iran, a freeze of all Iranian government assets in the United States, tighter restrictions on visa for Iranians desiring to come to the United States, and revocation of visas for Iranian who had already enter the country…. Under Carter’s new visa program, no Iranian was allowed to enter the United States except in the cases of major medical emergencies or political asylum. Because of Carter’s order, U.S. airlines in London began refusing to allow Iranians to board planes bound for the United States. The new visa program was partly a response to alleged fear of Iranian terrorists entering the United States.”

The obvious difference between Trump’s plan and Carter’s historical actions is that the Carter administration targeted nationality, not a professed religion or ideology. But the Carter administration also took those factors into account when determining whether or not Iranians were allowed to enter or stay in the United States.

A Washington Post report dated from 1980 said that the Carter would only revalidate visa issued to Iranians based upon “compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest requires.” In clarifying this statement, the Carter administration’s State Department said that “concern about religious or political persecution in Iran would be viewed as a valid humanitarian reason for revalidating the visas of those now being barred from the United States.”

It could be argued that this is a case of comparing apples to oranges, but it does show that a previous U.S. president has taken religion into account when determining whether or not a person may be allowed entry into the United States. The question is whether Trump is right to suggest that the United States should temporarily block the immigration of any who profess Islam.

Even if Trump’s plan were to be implemented by Congress, there’s also the issues related to the Islamic doctrine of Al-Taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie or deceive when they are under threat. The Quran allows Muslims to profess false friendship with non-Muslims, or even outwardly deny their faith as long as their intentions are worthy, so it could be argued that Islamic terrorist groups may deny their beliefs outwardly in order to gain legal entry into the United States.

Former US President Jimmy Carter

In any case, some American Muslims are not happy that their religious beliefs are being singled out, even if it is by President Barack Obama and not Donald Trump. Obama has said that Muslims should not be treated differently, but he also requested that Muslim leaders help “root out” those with ideology favoring ISIS, al-Qaeda, or other terrorist networks. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also echoed this request, but some Muslims like activist Linda Sarsour find this idea offensive.

“We would never ask any other faith community to stand up and condemn acts of violence committed by people within their groups,” she said, according to NPR. “The fact that this is only directed at the Muslim community is something that I personally can’t accept.”

Not everyone agrees. Bob Marro, chairman of the government relations committee at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia, says that his fellow Muslims do need to help in identifying those with terrorist-friendly ideology.

“We see these people close up,” he said. “If [we] see something a little bit out of character, maybe the time has now come to say something to somebody else.”

Do you think it is fair for the U.S. government to consider actions based upon the religion or ideology of individuals? What do you think about Donald Trump’s proposal in light of the history behind Jimmy Carter’s actions?

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]