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Mark Ruffalo criticised for 'Islamophobic' remarks

The American actor compared what he called 'extremist and perverse' policy proposals by a conservative think tank to Islamic law
US actor Mark Ruffalo arrives at the 96th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on 10 March 2024 (Valerie Macon/AFP)
Mark Ruffalo pictured in March (Valerie Macon/AFP)

American actor Mark Ruffalo has sparked outrage and accusations of perpetuating Islamophobic tropes after describing a collection of conservative policy proposals as the "Sharia Law of the 'Christian' crazy people".

"Project 2025 is not a game, it’s white Christian nationalism," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, referring to a policy agenda developed by American think tank The Heritage Foundation.

"It is the Sharia Law of the 'Christian' crazy people who aren’t Christian at all but want to control every aspect of your life through their narrow and exclusionary interpretation of Christ’s egalitarian, inclusive, and kindly teachings... Forced birth and forced religion. Trump’s American Taliban," the Hollywood star wrote.

Hundreds of social media users pushed back against Ruffalo's use of Islamic terms to describe extremism in the West.

Sharia, which translates to "the correct path" in Arabic, is the umbrella term for laws and rules that are based on Islamic principles and scripture.

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"White liberals will really not miss any opportunity to use Islam as the standard of what needs to be purged," said political comedian Aamer Rahman. "White Christian nationalism is the founding ideology of your whole country, what the fuck do Muslims and sharia have to do with it?"

Several X users noted the stigma surrounding the term sharia, with one writing: "The term has been propagandised to incite fear and hate against Muslims. This needs to stop. We have been demonised, dehumanised and persecuted enough."

"Mark Ruffalo using ‘sharia law’ the same discriminatory way white nationalists do whilst denouncing white nationalists," one user wrote.

"@MarkRuffalo did you know that, under Sharia, abortion is permissible for as few as 40 days, or even into the 2nd trimester, depending on interpretation?" commented another user under Ruffalo's post, in response to the actor's suggestion that anti-abortion laws in the US were comparable to Islamic law.

Project 2025, also known as the Presidential Transition Project, proposes policies and changes that would be implemented in the case that Donald Trump wins the 2024 presidential election.

The plan would see a reshaping of the federal government to align with principles advocated by conservative groups in the US, which critics have described as "dystopian" and "authoritarian".

Palestine activism

Many users expressed disappointment and criticism of the Hulk actor's decision to portray Islamic law in a negative light, given his long-standing activism and advocacy for the Palestinian cause.

"Liberals can't go a week without showing their Islamophobic neck veins - this is same Islamophobia used to justify the genocide of Palestinians right now," one user wrote, referencing Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and wounded tens of thousands.

Thousands more are missing, presumed to be dead under the rubble.

Ruffalo regularly posts in support of Palestinians and has even called for sanctions on Israel. He has called for a permanent ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza, now nearing its tenth month.

In February this year, the Hollywood A-lister was one of a number of celebrities who wore pins that represent “peace lilies and Artists for Ceasefire” at the Directors Guild of America Awards.

MEE has reached out to Ruffalo for comment.

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