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The New Arab Staff

Joe Biden's 'Inshallah' clapback to Donald Trump divides the internet

Joe Biden and Trump went head-to-head [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 October, 2020

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Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden set the internet ablaze after he used a Muslim term after Trump talked about his tax returns.



Joe Biden used an Arabic expression commonly used by Muslims  in response to a question about when US President Donald Trump would release his taxes, and people on the internet had mixed feelings about it.

Some celebrated his use of the expression, while others condemned him for it.

During the clash, Biden pushed the US president about when he intended to release his tax returns - something which has been a hot topic for some time.

“When? Inshallah?” Biden questioned.

The term “Inshallah” means “If God wills it”. However, the use of the word is vague, and young Muslims often joke that when their parents respond with “Inshallah” to a question, it usually means “No.”

Internet users had been avidly watching the debate and Biden’s nod to Muslim vernacular did not go unnoticed.

"Yes, Joe Biden said 'Inshallah' during the #Debates2020 debate," tweeted political commentator Wajahat Ali. "It literally means 'God willing,' but it's often used to mean, 'Yeah, never going to happen.' Example: My wife: Will you finally pick up your socks? Me: Inshallah. No, saying inshallah doesn't make you Muslim."

Journalist Joyce Karam was similarly amused, writing: “Best moment of #Debate2020 /yelling fest, is Joe Biden dropping Arabic word ‘Inshallah’ (God willing).

“When Trump said ‘you’ll get to see’ his taxes, Biden: ‘when? Inshallah’(meaning never)”

“Did Biden just hit him with a ‘inshallah’ . Lmaoo That’s all I needed to hear!! Biden certified” American rapper Bas tweeted.

Others found Biden’s use of the term derogatory.

"It's so disheartening that the best thing the Biden campaign seems to be able to offer Muslim Americans in the midst of an uptick in islamophobic violence is an offhand, completely inappropriately applied 'inshallah' in the debate," tweeted political activist Meriam Masmoudi.

Biden’s question comes a week after a hefty New York Times article dropped and reported that Trump had paid no federal income tax in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000.

According to the US president, he had reported losing more money than he had made, with the publication citing 20 years of tax information it had found.

Catastrophic debate

US President Donald Trump drew outrage on Wednesday after he dodged an opportunity to condemn white supremacists, and instead dropped the name of a far-right militia group during the first presidential debate.

When asked if he was willing to reject racist and militia groups Trump deflected and said: "Proud Boys - stand back and stand by."

"But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa," he continued, referring to the far-left movement.

The Proud Boys, a far-right paramilitary group, then appeared to adopt the phrase, with one known social media account posting a logo that read "Stand Back, Stand By."

Outrage swiftly followed the president's words.

"At a time of peak far-right violence and growing racism... (Trump) gave another nod to white supremacists, who are already calling that a 'shoutout'", tweeted Rita Katz, director of SITE, a US watchdog of extremist groups.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called on Trump to explain or apologise.

"Trying to determine if this was an answer or an admission.

President Trump owes America an apology or an explanation. Now," Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a major civil rights organisation, has classified the Proud Boys as a hate group.

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