n what has become a disturbing an- nual ritual, the FBI recently released hate crime statistics for 2016. It was not good news, especially for Ameri- canMuslims. There were 6,121 reported hate crimes in 2016, a 6 percent increase over 2015. Anti-Muslim activity - which had al- ready risen significantly during 2015 - ac- counts for a good part of that growth, mushrooming by about 20 percent. Curiously, just as we are seeing significant growth in anti-Muslim activity, there is evi- dence that perceptions of Muslims in the U.S. are changing. A recent poll by the Arab American Institute suggests that more Amer- icans now have positive views of Muslims than they did just two years ago. This new poll would appear to be reason for optimism. If views of Muslims are im- proving, a reduction in hate crimes should be just around the corner, right? Not necessarily. In fact, viewing hate crimes statistics in light of improving perceptions of Muslims may obscure a deeper, more troubling reality of anti-Muslimhostility. By seeing hate crimes as a reflection of, well, hatred, the broader public lets itself off the hook, blam- ing anti-Muslim activity, including but not limited to hate crimes, on a shrinking num- ber of anti-Muslimbigots - a few bad apples emboldened perhaps by our president. History offers a more sober view. The kinds of anti-Muslim activity we see now reflect patterns that have persisted for decades - perhaps centuries - in U.S. public life. If we see hate crimes as just one part of a larger body of anti-Muslim activity, we can begin to discern three interlocking histories that have led us to this moment: a history of anti-Muslim sentiment, a history of racist im- migration laws and a history of intimidating people of color. Together, they can help us see connections between anti-Muslimhostil- ity and broader histories of violence and in- timidation that profoundly affect public life in the U.S. The first of these histories dates back to the earliest moments of national life. As Denise Spellberg shows in "Thomas Jeffer- son's Qur'an," it was unclear to those build- ing the foundations of the U.S. whether full rights of citizenship could - or should - ex- tend toMuslims. The towering figures of our country's founding mythologies were essen- tially asking whether Muslims could be fully American, an imaginative exercise to test the limits of religious toleration. They assumed this was a hypothetical question, either un- aware of or uninterested in the thousands of enslavedMuslims fromWest Africa living in the country at the time. For many, the answer was at least a tenta- tive yes - but for almost as many, the answer was a resounding no. Then as now, a good number of political leaders imagined the United States to be inherently white and Protestant. Of course, these questions around whether Muslims can be truly American were not limited to the days of the early republic. For much of the 20th century, they also fu- eled FBI infiltration and surveillance of African-AmericanMuslim communities like the Nation of Islam. As historian Sylvester Johnson shows, the FBI long considered African-AmericanMuslim groups - along with other African-American groups critical of racism in the U.S. - to be at best security threats, and at worst, enemies of the state. This fundamental suspicion of Muslims continues to show itself today in debates about whether they can serve in public office and the ongoing surveillance programs and widespread infiltration of Muslim communi- ties by law enforcement agencies. These ef- forts have, to date, yielded very little, if any, actionable information. The idea that Muslims - unless they can prove otherwise - pose a threat to the U.S. resonates so strongly because it also has ties to broader histories of highly racist policies regarding non-European immigrants and their families. U.S. history is replete with policies that re- flect the idea that non-European immigrants and their descendants pose a threat to the culture and security of the U.S. This is espe- cially true of policies targeting Asians, most notably the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans duringWorldWar II. Such exclusions relied heavily on the idea that these groups were nonwhite - a designation that often applies toMuslim immigrants as well, regardless of their country of origin. Immigration reform in 1965 opened the door tomany Muslims from South Asia and the Middle East. -S PECIAL T O T HE W ASHINGTON P OST News India Times December 22, 2017 2 Opinion I Published weekly, Founded in 1975.The views expressed on the opinion pages are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of News IndiaTimes. Copyright © 2017, News IndiaTimes News IndiaTimes (ISSN 0199-901X) is published every Friday by ParikhWorldwide Media LLC., I15West 30th Street, Suite 1206, NewYork, NY 10001. Periodicals postage paid at NewYork, N.Y., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address change to News IndiaTimes, 115West 30th Street, Suite 1206, NewYork, N.Y. 10001 Annual Subscription: United States: $28 Chairman & Publisher Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh Editor Ela Dutt Executive Editor Sujeet Rajan Reporter Ruchi Vaishnav Ahmedabad Bureau Chief Arun Shah Photographers Peter Ferreira, Deval Parikh Chief Operating Officer Ilyas Qureshi Executive Vice President Bhailal M. Patel Business Development Manager - U.S. JimGallentine Manager Business Development - Ahmedabad M.P. Singh Chauhan Senior Manager Advertising & Marketing Shahnaz Sheikh Advertising Manager Sonia Lalwani Advertising New York Shailu Desai Advertising Chicago Muslima Shethwala Syed Sheeraz Mahmood Consultant for Business Development Ahemdabad, India Digant Sompura Circulation Manager Hervender Singh Graphic Designer Ajita Kapoor Main Office Editorial & Corporate Headquarters 115 West 30th Street, Suite 1206 New York, NY 10001-4043 Tel. (212) 675-7515 Fax. (212) 675-7624 E-mails Website Chicago Office 2652 West Devon Avenue, Suite B Chicago, IL 60659 Tel. (773) 856-3345 California Office 650 Vermont Ave, Suite #46 Anaheim, CA 92805 Mumbai Office Nikita Ajay Pai Goregaon, West Mumbai Ahmedabad Office 303 Kashiparekh Complex C.G. Road, 29 Adarsh Society Ahmedabad 380009 Tel. 26446947 F ax. 26565596 Caleb Elfenbein Associate professor of history and religious studies at Grinnell College PositiveViewsOfMuslims InAmerica AreOnTheRise - But SoAreHateCrimes T he ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA is a critically important issue for the vi- tality of the American economy and, ultimately, for the security and prosperity of our people. Getting it right requires a clear understanding of the stakes. Thanks to NAFTA, the United States is one of the most competitive economies in the world - in a class with Germany and Singa- pore - and leaving China, Russia, and India behind. Thanks to NAFTA, the United States has experienced proportionately stronger economic growth and job creation than other major economies. And, thanks to NAFTA, the United States enjoys significant power to shape the rules and compete on global markets. If NAFTA is terminated or renegotiated to reduce market opportunities, the U.S. posi- tion as having the most competitive and thriving economy in the world will be jeop- ardized. Depending on the response from Canada, Mexico, and other trading partners, we would likely see growth stagnate, em- ployment decline in some sectors, and our global clout diminish. Those are the stakes. Yes, NAFTA can be strengthened, but fo- cusing on our trade balance is misguided. NAFTA was created in 1992 in a post-Cold War global economy. The United States used NAFTA to establish a set of basic principles that were designed to promote national prosperity by: eliminating tariffs and formal barriers to trade; mandating nondiscrimina- tory treatment of foreign and domestic goods and services; protecting patents and other intellectual property; enforcing legal and regulatory transparency; and standard- izing labor rights and environmental protec- tions. The approach established agreed-upon disciplines on government in- terference in the market and created a level playing field with clear and transparent rules. Recognizing that the American economy would not prosper if it tried to compete with less-skilled, low-wage competitors,Washing- ton opened markets with North American neighbors to make the United States more productive and more competitive. With this in mind, NAFTA was designed to foster the emergence of regional supply chains. Those supply chains, of course, have moved some highly labor-intensive seg- ments of manufacturing out of the United States. At the same time, those supply chains also create American jobs in the higher value-added segments of manufacturing: re- search, design, advanced manufacturing, marketing, and management. It is said that the United States has lost 700,000 jobs since 1993 due to NAFTA; maybe so, but total pri- vate sector employment in the United States increased by over 30 million jobs during that same period. In the first half of 2017 alone, the U.S. economy created nearly 1.1 million new jobs. In addition to driving job creation, these supply chains are the key to our global com- petitiveness. The GeorgeW. Bush Institute's North America Competitiveness Initiative has encouraged the NAFTA partners to strengthen our supply chains: better cooper- ation to ensure that our borders are secure and efficient; a regional approach to work- force development to enhance productivity and wages; a tripartite, public-private dia- logue on strategic manufacturing sectors that would produce more investment and stronger growth. We have to be realistic. The global econ- omy will not spontaneously organize itself to foster the prosperity and security of the United States. That will take American lead- ership focused on opening markets and cre- ating the conditions for our economy to grow and create jobs. Stepping back from NAFTA would reduce global competitive- ness, growth, and employment in all three countries, and do lasting harm to America's prosperity. This harmwould be magnified as China, the EU and other players act to tilt the global playing field in their favor. That's no way to put America first. - F OREIGN P OLICY AmericaNeedsNAFTAToWin By Matthew Rooney