POTUS Tweets Continue to Mistreat Muslims


Jayda Fransen has been notorious for tweeting anti-Muslim posts, but that does not give the Trump licence to retweet (Courtesy of Flickr).

By Faustino Galante

Jayda Fransen has been notorious for tweeting anti-Muslim posts, but that does not give the Trump license to retweet (Courtesy of Flickr).

On Sept. 20, 2017, First Lady Melania Trump established a new campaign against bullying at a United Nations luncheon. She specifically expressed her concern with cyberbullying, stating, “We must turn our focus right now to the. . . content [our children] are exposed to on a daily basis through social media—the bullying.”

The First Lady’s comments are ironic in many regards. From the onset of his campaign, her husband, President Donald J. Trump, has been publicly condemned for sending out offensive and extremely unpresidential tweets. It seems as though every day our president tweets something belligerent—utilizing sexism, racism and prejudice to create a divide in our country and cater to his alt-right voters.

However, this past Wednesday, Trump went over the line. The president retweeted a series of videos from the Twitter account of British politician and far-right activist Jayda Fransen. The videos each portrayed individuals of the Muslim faith performing different isolated and malicious acts.

Retweeting this material was very unpresidential of Donald Trump. Jayda Fransen is a known bigot with criminal convictions who has no business garnering respect from our nation’s president. These videos, moreover, were racist in the fact that they portrayed incidents which lack credibility, in order to render the Muslim faith in negative fashion. It is truly unclear what Trump’s motive for retweeting these videos was. It seems as though he reposted these videos to simply stir controversy.

Jayda Fransen, the original issuer of these anti-Islamic videos, is the epitome of far-right politics in Great Britain. She is the deputy leader of Britain’s far-right and nationalist political party Britain First. This party has been part of various wicked protests and actions against Muslims. In May of 2014, members of the extremist party invaded more than ten mosques in Bradford England while handing out Bibles and mocking the “false prophet Muhammad.” Fransen herself is known to be racist and has dealt with various past legal issues resulting from her bigoted tendencies. In 2016, she was arrested and convicted of religiously aggravated harassment against a Muslim mother wearing a hijab. In November of this year, Fransen was again arrested for religious harassment. Her case is currently set to be held on Dec.14.

The fact that the President of the United States has shown appreciation for such a woman is sickening. While Trump is known to be racially intolerant, he has truly stooped to a new low. In retweeting Fransen’s tweets, he is vindicating religious harassment and showing Americans that he believes it is appropriate for a politician to act like Fransen. The content from someone like Jayda Fransen should not be retweeted by our president. Instead of focusing on who published these videos, I will now turn to the content and credibility issues with the videos themselves. The videos retweeted by Trump depict three different scenes: a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy in crutches, a Muslim destroying the statue of Virgin Mary and an Islamist mob pushing a teenage boy off a roof.

It is important to note that these videos lack context. While their titles do indeed speculate what is being portrayed, one cannot explicitly decipher whether the individuals portrayed in the videos are truly Muslim and why they were acting the way that they were. Take the video of the Muslim migrant beating the Dutch boy for example. The video is very low in resolution and no signs, other than Fransen’s explanation, point to the fact that the culprit is Muslim. Furthermore, none of these videos are dated. These could have been filmed many years ago and taken out of context for the purposes of discriminating against Islam. Who is to say that the video of the Islamist mob was not taped during wartime?

These incidents are also isolated. If one were to take a video of the Ku Klux Klan performing wicked acts, it would be unfair to use it in an effort to make the Christian religion look evil. This would be an over-generalization which even Trump would claim to be erroneous. How then, is it fair for him to do the same to Islam?
It is unclear what Trump’s message or motive was in retweeting these videos. One could presume that he was working to relay to the American public that Islam is a malevolent religion whose members target the weak and remain intolerant of others. If Trump were to overtly make these comments, he would be committing an act of political suicide. Instead, he has used irrelevant and preposterous videos to further add to his offensive Twitter track record.

After taking a closer look at these tweets, it becomes evident how flawed our president is in nature. Anyone who has even an iota of respect for the office of the president would stray from being as reckless as Trump was last Wednesday. Hopefully, Americans will recognize how bigoted and irrational these series of retweets are. However, signs point to the fact that Americans will yet again let this blow over. We must stop appeasing our president and hold him more accountable for his actions.

Faustino Galante, FCRH ’20, is a psychology major Buffalo, New York.