Muslim Advocates condemns President Trump’s unsubstantiated, anti-Muslim tweet this morning highlighting a Washington Examiner article about an anonymous rancher in New Mexico who claims to have seen “prayer rugs” near the U.S.-Mexico border. In a statement issued today, Muslim Advocates’ Senior Staff Attorney Sirine Shebaya said:
This is yet another example of baseless, anti-Muslim fear-mongering from the White House. Unsubstantiated sightings of prayer rugs have been passed around right wing circles for years and have consistently lacked hard evidence. But more importantly, the president is using this idea to peddle dangerous and offensive anti-Muslim sentiments.
It’s clear that President Trump is desperately trying to justify his border wall and draw attention away from the shutdown and his legal scandals by resorting to lies, fear-mongering and debunked tall tales. This is not the first time this administration has stoked anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant fears for this purpose. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security also issued a ‘fact sheet’ that contained a number of misleading and false statements about terrorism, immigration and border security.
Of course, this isn’t just about politics. These hateful words have consequences. The president’s false, ugly smears inflict great harm on American Muslims and immigrants, stigmatizing them and perpetuating false narratives about them. It should be no surprise that the U.S. is experiencing a pandemic of hate crimes, including a historically high rate of anti-Muslim hate crimes. All Americans should reject the president’s transparent attempts to divide us and instead come together to embrace efforts to address the real problems facing our country.