A nominee appointed by President Donald Trump for an important migration position at the United Nations is causing skepticism among many people around the world, particularly for this individual’s demeaning comments about Muslims and climate change.
Ken Isaacs has been tapped by the Trump administration to become the next head of the International Organization for Migration, a UN-led organization with 169 members from around the globe.
Among other responsibilities, the group is charged with finding ways to “provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people,” according to its official website.
For decades, the IOM has allowed the U.S. to nominate the head of the organization. But Isaac’s nomination may result in him being the first nominee since the 1960s to not be approved by a two-thirds vote of the group.
Isaacs has made many disparaging comments on social media, specifically about Muslims, in the wake of terrorist events. Responding to a tweet that quoted a Catholic bishop, who insisted that a terrorist attack did not exemplify the tenets of Islam, Isaacs wrote a response tweet saying, “if you read the Quran you will know ‘this’ is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do.”
He’s also signified that he would prioritize Christian refugees over Muslim ones, a position that likely sits well with Trump and other administration officials.
Yet Isaacs may do well to “take the wood” out of his own eye, as Jesus commands adherents of Christianity to do. If he did that, he may realize that the Bible itself is loaded with violence and cruelty, by some measures at a rate much higher than the Quran instructs.
When asked about his social media posts, the State Department said that they were unaware of them. Isaacs' Twitter account then shifted to "private," restricting public access to his controversial tweets.
To be sure, Isaacs does have an impressive resume when it comes to helping refugees across the world. He was the head of the U.S. agency that helped lead efforts to assist individuals during the 2004 tsunami that hit many areas of the Indian Ocean, and when it was announced that he landed the nomination, he was in Bangladesh helping refugees there.
But in addition to his disconcerting views on Islam, Isaacs is also a climate change denier, having previously called the Paris climate accord a “joke.” That won’t sit well with many members of the organization he’s hoping to lead, which states on its website that international migration “is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change, with unprecedented impacts on lives and livelihoods.”
Anyone with a discerning eye can see that Isaacs' placement in this important position would be a grave mistake. His views stand against the mission of the IOM. And if some of his controversial ideas were implemented, they could even result in deaths of thousands of refugees, if not more.
The IOM deserves to have an individual leading it who recognizes the reality of climate change (and its effects on migration) as well as someone who treats individuals fairly, regardless of their religious leanings. Isaacs doesn’t fit either of those two criteria, and thus his nomination should be rejected.