opinion

Rock Bottom, Again, For Now

Trump’s Wednesday Morning Anti-Muslim Retweets May Be His Worst Yet

The phrase ‘new low’ is very close to having lost all meaning in the Trump era, but his racist RT’s Wednesday morning really were a new kind of abominable.

Today Donald Trump incited violence against American Muslims. It’s that simple. There’s no need to be PC or measured when speaking of the actions of a vile bigot like Trump.

Early this morning Trump retweeted three tweets by one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious anti-Muslim activists—Jayda Fransen, a person convicted in 2016 of religiously motivated harassment by abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab who at the time was walking with her four children. Fransen is also the deputy leader of the far-right group “Britain First” that has held anti-Muslim rallies and stages “Christian patrols” in the streets of the United Kingdom where Fransen and her followers shout abuse at non-Christians.

Trump retweeted her tweets without making any effort to confirm their veracity. So, while Trump believes that outlets like CNN, NBC and The Washington Post are fake news, he believes that a person like Fransen is a credible source for info on Muslims. In fact, all three videos are absolute fact-free garbage designed to incite hate and violence against Muslims. The White House seemingly admits the videos are fake but in typical Trump cover up mode says it doesn't matter since the issues raised in the fake videos must be discussed.

The first was titled “Muslim migrants beating up a Dutch boy on crutches." However, that video has been debunked as neither involving a Muslim nor a migrant.

The second video, titled “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death," can’t be authenticated. But France 24 reports it was filmed in Alexandria, Egypt during riots in Egypt in 2013, in the wake of the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a military-backed coup.

But it’s the third video Trump shared that is truly an incitement to violence against Muslims. This video is titled "Muslim destroys statue of Virgin Mary" and depicts a Muslim man speaking in Arabic to camera as he destroys a statute of the Virgin Mary. This man is not described as a member of ISIS or an extremist. Rather he’s simply noted as a Muslim.

The clear goal of Fransen is to make viewers believe that all Muslims are waging a war on Christianity, and Trump was all too happy to get that message out there. In reality, the man in the video is not a mainstream Muslim. He tells us in Arabic that he’s in Syria and that there only God will be worshiped, not statues or prophets. It’s likely he’s in ISIS but it’s not clear by the video.

In fact, in Islam, the Virgin Mary is revered. As New York City-based Imam Shamsi Ali explained, there are two chapters of the Quran dedicated to the Virgin Mary that praise her as being "chosen above the women of all worlds.” That is why my cousin is named Mariam (Mary in Arabic) in honor the Virgin Mary.  

The message Trump is sending by sharing this video is that all Muslims, not ISIS, are coming to attack your church. It’s truly the mirror image of ISIS recruitment speech where young Muslims are told that the West is coming to destroy Islam.

This is far from the first time Trump has demonized Muslims. He declared during the campaign that “Islam hates us” and called for a complete shutdown on Muslims coming into America. Muslims.  And in response we have seen a bone chilling spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in America. As the FBI reported just weeks ago, hate crimes against Muslim jumped by 20 percent from 2015.  We have seen attacks on Muslim women wearing hijabs, bullying of Muslim American kids in school and attacks on our places of worship.

And this far from the first time Trump has intentionally retweeted vile extremists. During the campaign on several occasions Trump retweeted white supremacists including a person with the twitter name “@WhiteGenocideTM.”

The reaction to Trump’s retweets of Fransen’s garbage was met with swift criticism in the United Kingdom where they know her and her “Britain First” organization’s history of hate. Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, the British Member of Parliament murdered last year by a man who reportedly shouted "Britain First" as he attacked her, tweeted, "Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself."

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The Muslim Council of Britain slammed Trump stating at these tweets by him are "the clearest endorsement yet from the US President of the far-right and their vile anti-Muslim propaganda.”

And back in the United States, former  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated bluntly on CNN this morning that Trump sharing these videos can have all “kinds of ripple effects both in terms of perhaps inciting or encouraging anti-Muslim violence.”  

Trump did have his supporters though--this morning former Klan leader David Duke tweeted about the videos, Trump is “condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON'T. Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him!” Seems like Trump’s target audience is hearing his message.

In the time of Trump, we, Muslim Americans already feel that Trump is not on our side. In fact, Trump demonized us, a community of five to seven million American Muslims, to win the White House because it played to his bigoted base. But now Trump has done something far worse. As the 45th President of the United States, Trump is inciting violence against us—his own citizens -- simply because of our faith. Against the more than 5,000 Muslims who currently serve in our military, the more than 1,000 who serve in the New York Police Department, the countless others who are doctors, teachers, elected officials, cab drivers, lawyers, deli workers and who are our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

We are not going anywhere because we are Americans. In fact, we are far better Americans than Trump because we embrace the values that make this nation exceptional while Trump embraces hate, divineness and bigotry.