On Friday, 49 people were killed in a terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand — the country’s worst mass killing since 1943. A suspect charged in the attack was reportedly an anti-Muslim zealot.
As news of the attack was unfolding, President Trump tweeted a link to Breitbart — a far-right “news” site. Breitbart has published vile anti-Muslim hatred, including calling Muslims “rapefugees,” mocking the notion of Islamophobia, and absurdly claiming that terrorist attacks are “an expression of mainstream Muslim values.” It’s a site where Muslim-hating white supremacists — like at least one of those who allegedly carried out the attack in Christchurch — would find writers who gave them rhetorical ammunition for their ideologies of hate. (Trump has since deleted the tweet.)
Trump is an Islamophobic bigot. As president, his words matter. He is using them to spread hatred. And deranged, unwell or evil people have allegedly been inspired by those words to target the very people that Trump targets in his speeches and his tweets. The charged suspect in New Zealand cited Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” (though he also said he rejected Trump as a policymaker and leader). [Continue reading…]