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‘Inshallah’ we’ll see your tax returns  – Middle East Monitor

During the first US presidential debate, former Vice President and current Democratic nominee Joe Biden responded to his opponent President Donald Trump’s vow to release his tax returns by asking “When? Inshallah?”

Although the Arabic phrase literally means “God willing” it is also popularly used in an informal way across the Middle East to denote something that is unlikely to happen.

The sarcastic remark was made after Trump, who has consistently refused to voluntarily release his income taxes, disputed recent reports that he has only paid $750 in federal income taxes back in 2016 and another $750 the following year, in which he took office. He has paid none in ten of the previous 15 years

However, in last night’s debate, Trump said he had “paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax”.

“You’ll get to see it,” he added.

The 90-minute debate in Cleveland Ohio was widely perceived as “chaotic” and included several jibes and insults traded between the candidates, both in their seventies. However, it was the unexpected use of “Inshallah” that caught the attention of many Arab and Muslim users on social media.

READ: The election of Biden: Anything new for the Palestinians?


While many users reacted with memes or shared their approval or appreciation, others were less impressed or felt it was an example of pandering to the Muslim or Arab vote, or that it was simply deprecatory.


It is not the first time Biden has said “Inshallah” in public. He has previously used the phrase at a campaign rally in New Hampshire in February, where he cast doubt on then-Democratic rival Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan to ensure universal government-funded healthcare.

READ: Why are America’s progressive Arab movements supporting Trump?

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