Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – One of the “very fine people” Trump praised at the Charlottesville riot by Nazis and Klansmen rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters (i.e. ordinary people) and killed Heather Heyer on August 12, 2017.
Trump appears to be angling for one of his Volk to do the same thing to Minnesota congresswomen Ilhan Omar. Aaron Rupar at Vox explains.
On September 13, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held its Annual Legislative Conference (ALC).
In the course of which there was some dancing, and Ilhan Omar joined in.
An Omar fan posted to Twitter video of Omar dancing
— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) September 14, 2019
A weirdo conspiracy theorist who was recently even cut off in an interview on Fox Cable News for distasteful jokes about Asians, Terrence K. Williams, tweeted the footage out with an allegation that Omar was “partying” on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Williams ridiculed Omar for having said that on 9/11 “some people did something,” a typical right wing smear.
Omar had given a speech in which she pointed out that Muslim-Americans are not responsible for the 9/11 attacks, saying “Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
English is not her first language (she was a refugee child from Somalia who spent four years in a camp in Kenya before her family came to the United States). What she clearly meant to say was that al-Qaeda, which planned and executed 9/11, comprises a small group of people, and that the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, a quarter of humankind, cannot all be blamed for it, and that more especially Muslim-Americans, 1% of the US population, must not have their constitutional rights withdrawn because of what that small group of people did.
Trump then retweeted Terrence Williams, which shows you once again Trump’s quality, with further derogatory comments about the Congresswoman.
This is from a CBC event we hosted this weekend to celebrate black women in Congress.
The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk.
What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation? https://t.co/XdkRVrU7mZ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 18, 2019
Omar was subjected to a heightened level of online death threats after Trump’s lying tweet. Pressed about whether he regretted his falsehood, he replied, “No, not at all.”
This incident interests me because it underlines the contradictions and ignorance of American right wing hatred of Muslims.
The first thing to point out is that al-Qaeda represents an extremist, radical cult that is fundamentalist and puritan.
Al-Qaeda women do not appear in public and do not dance.
The witty Sam Seder called Ilhan Omar’s propensity for breaking into dance in public as “Shakira Law” rather than, as her right wing attackers, allege, sharia law.
Rep. Omar is far more representative of the 900 million Muslim women in the world than the burka and niqab-wearing minority seen in the Gulf or Afghanistan.
So trying to use a video of Ilhan Omar dancing in blue jeans to suggest that she is al-Qaeda is like alleging Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s skimpy costume in “Wonder Woman” proves that she is an ultra-Orthodox Frumke Haredi.
Embed from Getty Images
Israeli actress Gal Gadot arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Embed from Getty Images
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman and her daughter, known in Israel as “Neshot Ha Shalim” or “Frumka” — who cover themselves completely in a burqa-like head-to-toe black cloth, walk in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim of Jerusalem on September 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
I do not know to what branch of Islam Omar belongs, but it isn’t fundamentalist in character. Many Somali-Americans have a broad-minded Sufi outlook.
So there is a profound contradiction at the core of far-right American Islamophobia, since they keep alleging that Muslims “danced” on 9/11 or in commemoration of this. Trump has repeatedly lied about Muslim-Americans doing this. But the tiny number of al-Qaeda types don’t dance. Ever.
And, of course, the entire meme is intended to smear all Muslims, including those in Congress, as terrorists and al-Qaeda. This is like saying all Republicans are Nazis. Of course, both in the 1930s and today, some Republicans have been Nazis. But most are perfectly nice people, even if a bit hard-hearted. It is actually dangerous in today’s Egypt, where some 90 million Muslims live, to look as though you might tend toward any kind of fundamentalism. Even men in beards have been bothered. Muslims are the biggest victims of al-Qaeda and other such extremists, who represent a vanishingly small proportion among them, just as there aren’t all that many Nazis in the United States (despite their current prominence, which is attributable to Trump and Breitbart).