President Donald Trump returned to Twitter campaign themes when a crude terrorist bomb partially exploded aboard a commuter tube train in London Friday morning. Mr. Trump pointed his finger at his old nemesis, Islam, and made the frightening case of even restricting the internet as a way of combating the terrorist evil.
“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” he tweeted. “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” He then tweeted, ”the travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”
That travel ban is, of course, against Muslims and has nothing to do with the security of the country. It’s merely “symbolic politics,” as Benjamin Wittes pointed out back when the president’s original ban was put into place. And the most outrageous of all the tweets included this line: “The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”
The “they” to which he refers are so-called “Islamic terrorists,” a phrase that is intended to be inflammatory and misleading, because it shifts reality to something that’s much easier to espouse in the practice of human manipulation. It’s one of those plausible falsities born of extremist interpretations of current events that are in regular use by right-wing puppet masters. Evangelical Christians, especially, are the intended targets.
Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post was the first to “report” that ISIS had taken responsibility for the attack, which helped reinforce the narrative that Mr. Trump was trying to peddle, namely that we good Christian people of the earth (and especially the U.S.) are involved in a religious war against Islam. According to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, “It is inevitable that so-called Islamic State or Daesh will reach in and try and claim responsibility. We have no evidence to suggest that yet.”
By painting terrorist acts as “Islamic,” certain conservatives ping the religious zeal of their right-wing Christian followers, so who among them cares if it’s truthful or not? Barack Obama knew it wasn’t truthful, which is why he never used the term. He wasn’t trying to be politically correct, as Mr. Trump suggests. Mr. Obama knew the dangers of this falsity. The right, however, not only doesn’t care but actually furthers the false witness for political gain. Christians have a special interest in believing the falsity, because it pings deeply held convictions about Israel and Biblical prophecy, and in so believing, they’ve become duplicitous in furthering the meme themselves.
A new study from the Baylor Religion Survey, “American Values, Mental Health, and Using Technology in the Age of Trump” reveals precisely how important this narrative is to followers of the president.
The religiosity of Trump supporters is closely tied to feelings of animosity towards Muslims. Seventy four percent of Americans who feel threatened by Islam [as measured by agreeing that Muslims a) have inferior values to Americans, b) want to limit Americans’ freedom, and c) endanger Americans’ physical safety] and 81 percent of Americans who fear Middle Eastern refugees voted for Trump.
American Christian identity and anti-Islam fears combine in Christian nationalism. Christian nationalism reflects a series of beliefs about the origins and purpose of the United States. In general, it is a faith that God has a uniquely Christian purpose for America.
A big part of that “Christian purpose” is to play a role in the fulfillment of prophecy that leads to the return to earth of Jesus Christ, who will then rule for a thousand wonderful years (for Christians). This has led to an unyielding intransigence when it comes to support of the nation of Israel, and this is where the discussion gets very tricky. We’ve made it so, because any suggestion that speaks against the Zionist practices of the Israeli government is automatically rejected as bias against Jews, also known as anti-Semitism. And anything presented under the antisemite banner is generally and automatically set aside as not fit for human consumption, due to events during World War II’s Holocaust. As illogical as it sounds, any speech against Israel is rejected due to the automatically-assigned motive of hatred towards the Jews. This narrative has taken many years to bake into the culture of the West ― whether truthful or not ― and strikes at the very heart of anti-Muslim sentiment promulgated by conservatives.
Islamophobia that is born of one’s presumed spiritual connection with the nation of Israel isn’t so much a phobia as it is an extremist religious statement about the return of Jesus Christ to earth. This is among the most unreported and under-investigated media matters in the world today, and its consequences for people in the Middle East and beyond are far-reaching and profound.
Israel’s right to exist is undergirded by American Evangelical Christianity’s steadfast belief that its rebirth in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust was Biblical prophecy fulfilled. This is not to be confused with the political advantages for U.S. business interests given Israel’s strategic placement in the region that forms the backbone of the petroleum industry. It’s one thing to support Israel politically, but it’s quite another when one’s religious zeal is applied. If we think Jesus is coming back soon, we’re going to behave in such a way that nothing else (really) matters. In so doing, however, we open the door for mischief, because sincere people have been acting on this same belief for two thousand years! What’s alleged to be different today is that Israel - as a nation - is back and fully functioning on the land that God gave them, according to certain interpretations of the Bible. This is a requirement of prophecy before Jesus is to return, and thus, 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy that hadn’t been in place before during those other two thousand years. It’s what gives a unique energy to contemporary end times’ believers, which would be all right, I suppose, if it didn’t extend to political motives and actions, too. After all, if this is what you believe, then what’s wrong with helping it along a little, right? Conservative leaders count on this in their ability to communicate an Islamophobic narrative to their followers. It’s a trap, because its logic is utterly false.
Islam is provable as a religion of non-violence, if one is willing to discuss the matter with Muslims and not with those who have self-centered gain as the basis for their analysis. We’re free to despise terrorism, but attempts to connect that hatred to Islam serve only the ends of those who need that connection for selfish motives, and that includes the politics of Israel. Narrative control (hasbara) is the highest of priorities for Zionists, which is why the truth of what happens daily in the West Bank and Gaza is very rarely believed much less reported. The U.S. gives Israel $10 million every day, 365 days a year. Think about that. In so doing, we supply tacit approval to an Apartheid state and crimes including extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, the majority of whom happen to be Muslim. Only a fool would exclaim (with his bare face hanging out) that Israel didn’t gain from Islamophobia in the U.S. Every terrorist event throughout the world gives right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the opportunity to express ― while gripping his breast ― solidarity as one who understands, without so much as a breath of Israeli atrocities against those same Muslim people. It is manifest terror.
And yet, Donald Trump and his followers grab every opportunity, whether real or otherwise, to hammer away at contemporary terrorism as stemming from the religion of Islam. It’s cynical. It’s desperate. It’s purposeful.
It’s yet another historical sideshow from those who run the world on behalf of the haves.