Trump retweets photoshopped Islamophobic image featuring leading Democrats Pelosi and Schumer14 Jan 2020
On Monday, US President Donald Trump retweeted a photoshopped image of congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer dressed in traditional Islamic clothing, standing in front of an Iranian flag. The tweet was captioned “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue. #NancyPelosiFakeNews.” A wave of criticism of President Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ from various groups and individuals across the US and on social media followed.
The original tweet was posted by an anonymous twitter account that has previously tweeted content promoting Trump and criticising Democrats and the Iranian government.
The tweet has aroused backlash, with many organisations in the US as well as social media users expressing outrage at Trump’s promotion of Islamophobic material. His retweet implies that he sees portraying his political opponents wearing Muslim attire as a form of insult to them.
Muslim social media personality Hend Army wrote: “Why the actual hell is president of the United States using the way I and millions of other Americans dress and the religious beliefs we hold as a slur. This absolutely must be condemned by congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
When questioned about it on Fox News, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham justified the president’s retweet, saying “I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans.”
The tweet also received condemnation from non-Muslim organisations, such as The Sikh Coalition, who tweeted: “Religious articles of faith are sacred to those who keep them, and they should never be used to demonise entire nations, cultures or religions.” It said that such offensive rhetoric “endangers communities including Muslims, Sikhs and others.”
Recent reports show that anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise in the US, and that since the start of Trump’s presidential campaign, the rise in anti-Muslim hate crime is highly correlated with his tweets about Islam.
Nihad Awad, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in response to the tweet: “President Trump has repeatedly targeted Islam and Muslims with bigoted rhetoric and Islamophobic appointments and policies such as the Muslim [travel] ban.” He added, “Americans of all faiths and backgrounds must speak out against this promotion of religious hatred by the occupant of the Oval Office. Such bigotry is not normal and must never become acceptable.”
Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League also demanded that an apology must be issued, condemning the tweet as “outrageous” and “repulsive anti-Muslim bigotry.”