Trump’s Twitter Propaganda Threatens Muslim Community



Leopaltik1242 provided via Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Ilhan Omar was the subject of a video posted to President Trump’s official Twitter page, which spliced clips her of her speaking with clips of planes striking the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Mathya Clay, Copy Editor

President Donald Trump responded to comments made by Michigan Representative Ilhan Omar about Islamophobia with a video on his official Twitter account. I won’t show the video, but in the video was a clip of Omar saying “Some people, did something,” then the statement, “This is your something,” which was followed by clips of the twin towers being struck by planes on 9/11.

Trump took the clips of Omar from a speech she gave at an annual Council American-Islamic Relations event in California on March 23 about working against Islamophobia. As she was giving her speech, she spoke about 9/11. The “something” Omar was referring to was the attack on the twin towers, and the “people” were the terrorists,” but Trump is taking Omar’s quote very out of context, and many politicians took it and ran with it. In his video, Trump is sending the message that Muslims are hateful and insensitive to other cultures.

What a way to spread some familiar propaganda in the new ages.

Propaganda has been used throughout history and it is still used today. The way it’s been used has only become less apparent . Propaganda is a way to persuade people to follow your ideals by distorting the truth. Something as minor as a politician standing in front of an American flag can be propaganda because your image of that politician is changed by that flag. However, what Trump did was expose the U.S to propaganda in a particularly problematic way. By trying to shame Omar, he shamed an entire community.

Even though Trump’s intentions seemed to be to make Omar look bad, I’m sure he had to see the bigger picture: he made Muslims looks bad. He capitalizes off of making others look bad. His entire presidential campaign was about “making America great,” while at the same time, he spoke about building the wall between Mexico and America, telling Americans it was for the best. Not only has he been racist, he’s been sexist as well, making tons of offensive and public comments towards women.

After 9/11, the tension between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim community in America increased. People all over began to blame Muslims for what happened, labeling them dangerous and suspicious. Muslims since 9/11 have been criticized and oppressed, from being looked at as suspicious to being attacked on the streets. This Islamophobia is what Rep. Omar was speaking against, in the speech from which the clips were taken.

For Trump to put 9/11 clips next to a Muslim woman says ‘I blame you.’ When Trump said, ‘this is your something,’ he’s making it personal to her as a person, tying her and 9/11 together as if she had something to do with it, when the only connection between Omar and the terrorists is that they follow the same religion. Those comments endanger not only Omar but every Muslim in America. If Muslims were attacked after 9/11 what makes him think that people won’t start doing it again, after bringing up 9/11 and blaming Muslims?

Just as leaders like Hitler and Stalin lead through scapegoat propaganda, so too is Trump. Trump may not follow by the same actions as them such as being blatantly violent but he is following the same scapegoat propaganda. This isn’t the first instance in which he has tried to blow out a community by some discriminatory comments. Sometimes it has even lead to violence. When someone is in a leading position and throws around words, people will listen. Hitler was a dictator and all it took was words for him to convince hundreds to be anti-Semitic. Trump’s video will lead people to act on Islamophobia. It already has lead to people sending death threats to Omar. Who’s to say death threats is where people will stop when Trump is continuously instigating the situation?  

In school, I not only read, but was assigned to read, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, a great book with a great lesson about how powerful and strong words are. It taught that with an impressionable group of people and leaders strong opinion, a nation can be ruined. I’m in school learning that any little thing can set something terrible off if you give it enough fire. If we keep giving Trump’s words validation, we are going to start a new cycle of hate. Young and old people will learn it, then teach it to their kids, who’ll then teach it to theirs. When is it okay? What’s the line between being racist and being judgmental? So many people who call themselves respected people in the community, politicians, and etc. agreed with Trump’s concept of his video.  

Many of the largest news stations never talked about the video or openly spoke about their feelings towards it. It’s a problem that when a person of power comes out with controversial topics, it seems as if you must be brave to speak up on it. It shouldn’t take the bravest people to speak up against ignorance. We need to be more open about our opinions and not so afraid of speaking against people of power. If people continue to refuse to speak openly, we are forever going to be ignored and over-road by those higher-ups.