Wednesday, December 16, 2015

State Department ‘Anti-ISIS Recruitment’ Twitter Endorses Islamophobe Nutter

Peter Van Buren,

image from article

So, at the cost of who-knows-how-many of your tax dollars, the State Department, in between deep-sixing Hillary’s old emails, has been fighting ISIS, with The Twitter thingie. 
See, someone determined that if ISIS could use social media to radicalize young people, with a powerful and persuasive message, well, the old, sad white people at the State Department could convince them that ISIS was bad. Plus, it’s social media, which is some sort of newfangled thing all the kids like! After no doubt many late nights, State came up with the clever name of “Think Again, Turn Away,” for its anti-ISIS social media campaign.
The slogan itself sounds far too much like the 1980s’ hilariously failed anti-drug campaign, “Just Say No.” But this is even funnier.
See, the social media war for hearts and minds over at State just took another body blow by promoting an anti-Islam advocate as a “human rights hero.” In fact, in honor of #HumanRightsDay, “Think Again Turn Away” Twittered and Facebooked out the message of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The Problem
The problem?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (pictured) speaks loudly, publicly and often about her belief that Islam is an inherently violent “cult of death.” She supports the proposed ban of face veils in France, and of mosques’ minarets in Switzerland. In 2007, she called for the west to destroy Islam using military force.
This is kinda the wrong signal to send to young people already tuned in to ISIS’ message that the west is indeed at war with Islam itself, and seeks to kill Muslims and occupy their lands. Ali’s message, and the State Department’s endorsement and amplification of it, does little more than confirm many young Muslims’ fears. It does not support the better narrative that the problem is not Islam, and that it is OK to be a Muslim, as long as you are a nice Muslim to the rest of us.
It is, in social media terms, a massive “boner” of a gaffe.

How Could They Have Known?
Now, how could the State Department have known about Ali’s views? All those Muslim names sound alike, right?
Maybe by checking Wikipedia, which says:
Ayaan has been a vocal critic of Islam. In 2004, she collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission, the English rendering of the word “Islam”, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The documentary sparked controversy, which resulted in death threats against the two and the eventual assassination of Van Gogh later that year by a Dutch Muslim. In a 2007 interview, she described Islam as an “enemy” that needs to be defeated before peace can be achieved.
Or maybe State could have “Googled” Ali, where they would have found articles with headlines like “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is dangerous: Why we must reject her hateful worldview.”
Or maybe by watching Fox; Ali is a darling of the right wing haters.

It’s Not About Her
Look, I know Ali has a tragic life story, and that she was tortured by radical Islamists. The people State’s anti-ISIS messages are aimed at are already predisposed to accepting radical Islam’s violence. Many seek it out, and to them it forms a part of ISIS’ appeal.
In the end of the day, this is not about Ali, it is about the pointlessness of the State Department social media campaign. A known Islamophobe won’t convince angry Muslims of anything.

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