Tennessee Newspaper Publishes ‘Horrific’ Full-Page Anti-Muslim Ad22 Jun 2020
A newspaper in Tennessee has apologised after its print edition ran with a ‘horrific’ full-page advertisement stoking hate against Muslims. The ad run by the Tennessean came from a pro-Trump religious fundamentalist group that dabbles in religious prophecies and conspiracy theories. Among the claims made was that “Islam” would launch a nuclear attack in the city of Nashville next month.
Although the newspaper has apologised and removed the advertisement, it could not explain why the ads from the group appeared on its print editions for multiple days.
“Dear Citizen of Nashville”
The eight-paragraph ad was launched under a photo collage of President Donald Trump, Pope Francis and burning American flags. In the ad, addressed to “Dear Citizen of Nashville”, the Ministry of Future for America claimed that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device” in Nashville on July 18th. The group also claimed that it was on a mission to “proclaim the final warning message” from the Bible. After commenting on a number of issues ranging from Russia to September 11, the ad claimed that Trump’s presidency was part of a biblical prophecy.
Among the Islamophobic claims made by the Tennessee paper was that “Islam” would strike the US again, triggering World War 3
The ad ran on the Sunday edition, but observers warned that another version, containing no references to Islam, had run earlier that week.
The organisation that launched the ad, Ministry of Future for America, is a Christian organisation sometimes referred to as a “doomsday cult”. Although the group is not explicitly far-right, end-of-days prophecies are a recurring element of Christian fundamentalists in the US who tend to also be close to white supremacist groups. The idea of a “second US civil war” or a new World War are recurring elements among the far-right as well. Such groups have viewed the coronavirus outbreak and the Black Lives Matter protests as opportunities to trigger a new war.
“It should have never been published”
The Tennessean has since issued a statement, apologising for the ad. “We strongly condemn the message and apologize to our readers. We are immediately investigating to determine how this could have happened,” said Kevin Gentzel, President of Marketing Solutions and Chief Revenue Officer for Gannett, parent company of the Tennessee-based paper.
The newspaper explained that it would look into what went wrong during the advertising process that allowed such an item to slip through and said that it would donate all proceeds from the ad to the American Muslim Advisory Council.
Numerous US Muslims have also warned that the ad amounts to incitement.