The Hill's opinion piece attacking the film star for her alleged conversion to Islam shows just how mainstream Islamophobia has become
The Washington, DC-based newspaper and website The Hill self-identifies as “the premier source for policy and political coverage, reporting on every aspect of the business of Washington and the campaign trail... delivering solid, non-partisan and objective reporting".
While The Hill may have retracted Spencer’s most recent commentary, there’s clearly a burgeoning market for vitriolic drivel, one that will presumably expand exponentially during the upcoming administration
Indeed, only a very serious and objective publication would have recently opted to run an opinion piece by Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch, titled “Lindsay Lohan may have made her worst life choice yet".
Predictably, the disastrous choice involves Lohan’s alleged conversion to Islam, which Spencer argues she has undertaken with no regard for the fact that “so many converts to Islam end up as jihad terrorists” bent on committing “mass murder".
Listed examples include John Walker Lindh and Adam Gadahn - the latter killed in a US drone strike - who “discovered Islam through rap music and black grievance theater (neither were black, but both wished they were)".
In addition to the risk of turning to terrorism as compensation for black envy, it seems, conversion to Islam also entails numerous other hazards. Spencer poses the critical question of whether Lohan is “prepared to venture out in public with everything covered except her face and hands” - a requirement, as we all know, of every Muslim female in the world.
In short, it’s unclear whether The Hill’s editors were, in fact, conscious at the time Spencer’s rant was authorised for publication on 17 January. However, retroactive warning bells apparently went off, and the piece was subsequently removed, eliciting the complaint from Spencer that “the Left-fascists at The Hill have caved in to pressure from Leftist and Islamic supremacist neo-brownshirts.”
Mercifully, the full text of the “article” is still available at the Jihad Watch website.
Of course, giving Spencer a mainstream platform and then taking it away from him translates into an even bigger win for the man himself, since he now gets to screech about the Leftist-Muslim-Nazi conspiracy against freedom.
As part of his protracted stint as a caricature of Islamophobia, Spencer has authored several books, with titles ranging from The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran to The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS to The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran.
This last masterpiece contains such insights as that the Shia Islamic Republic is in cahoots with al-Qaeda and that the Iranians have infiltrated Spain through the prominent Spanish political party Podemos. Fittingly, the acknowledgements section of the book includes thanks to notorious Islamophobe Pamela Geller for her “valuable remarks".
A consistent theme throughout Spencer’s work is the notion that Barack Obama and his ilk, submitting to nefarious Muslim propaganda, mislead the global public into believing that Islam is a benign religion.
The ultimate goal of Spencer’s own propaganda, meanwhile, is a total perversion of the discourse whereby even institutionalised anti-Muslim discrimination in the US is cast as an overly permissible environment conducive to the establishment of a Leftist-Islamofascist caliphate.
The Obama theme resurfaces in Spencer’s short-lived piece for The Hill:
“What these converts to Islam [e.g. Lindsay Lohan] know about their new religion could have been taken from a President Barack Obama speech: that it is a noble, great religion, a religion of peace, and that those who raise concerns about jihad terrorism are racist, bigoted xenophobes.”
The drivel market
Never mind that, for all of Obama’s supposed submissiveness and dangerous peace-and-love approach to the Muslim world, the outgoing president was recently found to have dropped no fewer than 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 alone.
Apparently, it’s not only American converts to Islam who feel compelled to commit “mass murder”. Indeed, the US military has shown itself to be more than adept at such activity, including many an incident that would qualify as terrorism were the US subject to the same vocabulary it deploys against its enemies.
And what do you know - Spencer’s biography at the Jihad Watch website lists various contributions to the intellectual formation of America’s protectors:
“Spencer has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the US Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Justice Department’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and the US intelligence community. He has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the US State Department and the German Foreign Ministry.”
Also included in his bio are enough media and university appearances to make any reasonably principled person want to beat their head repeatedly against a wall.
So while The Hill may have retracted Spencer’s most recent commentary, there’s clearly a burgeoning market for vitriolic drivel, one that will presumably expand exponentially during the upcoming administration.
And hey, maybe there’s even a market for The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Lindsay Lohan.
- Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin magazine.
Photo: Lindsay Lohan visits "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on 6 March 2014 in New York City (AFP)
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.