FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 29, 2017
CONTACT: TANEEZA ISLAM, SDVP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
SAMANTHA SPAWN, SDVP POLICY AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
SOUTH DAKOTA VOICES FOR PEACE CONDEMNS TRUMP’S RECKLESS USE OF TWITTER TO SPREAD DEHUMANIZING PROPAGANDA
November 29, 2017 Early this morning, President Trump retweeted a series of unverified dehumanizing videos targeting the Muslim community, without any added context. This marks another blow in a pattern of utilizing the platform of the leader of the free world to incite violence and further growing tensions in a divided nation. The FBI has reported that hate crimes are up by 4.6% in 2016, where 21.1% were religiously motivated and a quarter of those were perpetrated against those who identified as Muslim.
“Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to ‘ban all Muslims from entering the United States,’ by laying the groundwork with dangerous anti-Muslim propaganda,” said Communications and Policy Director Samantha Spawn. “By retweeting videos originating from the cult-right in the UK, Trump is working hard to import to America the same hatred that has been condemned across Europe. We’re seeing some preliminary repercussions of that here in South Dakota, and it’s our fear that the continued use of this rhetoric will escalate an already tenuous situation into a deadly one. How many more hate crimes do Muslims, immigrants, and refugees have to endure before Trump is able to accept responsibility for his reckless and racist agenda?”
Southern Poverty Law Center identifies five hate groups in South Dakota and one national organization with an active chapter in Rapid City, SD, ACT! for America. Four of these five hate groups are anti-immigrant and Islamophobic groups, and ACT! is classified as the largest of such groups. Since January 2017, South Dakota Voices for Peace has tracked 24 Islamophobic events taking place in South Dakota, and built a coalition to fight two Islamophobic resolutions in Pierre during the 2017 legislative session.
“This is a real threat to me, my family and over 7 million Muslims in the United States, including the millions of others who are not Muslims but are attacked because they don’t ‘look American’,” said Executive Director Taneeza Islam, a practicing Muslim who has received threats for the work she does providing accurate information about Islam, Muslims, immigrants and refugees in SD. “There has never been a genocide in human history that didn’t start with dehumanizing the targeted population. That is exactly what these videos depict. If you believe these videos, and there are millions of people who do, and many people in SD who do, you will surely believe that brown skinned people, with beards wearing long shirts, otherwise stereotypically categorized as Muslims, are inhuman.”
South Dakota Voices for Peace calls on our members of Congress, Senators Thune and Rounds, and Representative Noem to condemn President Trump’s reckless use of Twitter, spreading dehumanizing propaganda of unverified videos and assure Muslims in South Dakota they do not stand by the President on this tweet.
South Dakota Voices for Peace’s mission is to empower South Dakotans with accurate information about Islam, Muslims, immigrants, and refugees to fight Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry in order to nurture informed, inclusive, and civically engaged communities.