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Calling Bullshit on the Internet's Islamophobic Memes

Words aren't necessarily true just because they're superimposed over an image.

by Mike Pearl
24 September 2015, 7:00pm

Earlier this month over at VICE UK, Philip Kleinfeld debunked a bunch of the internet's most potent disinformation about Syrian refugees. But it turns out you can use the quick and dirty superimposition of images and text we call "memes" to disparage Muslims in general, not just Syrians.

So when former pediatric neurosurgeon turned v chill presidential candidate Ben Carson told Meet the Press on Sunday, "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," and then claimed that as a result of his comments money was being donated to his campaign coffers "so fast, it's hard to even keep up with it," we started wondering what's happening over on Islamophobic Facebook. Short answer: the quick and dirty superimposition of images and text we call "memes" used to disparage Muslims in general.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS ARE INFILTRATING THE GOVERNMENT

Image via TheCommonSenseShow.com

This little fact sheet of sorts was created in conjunction with a report published by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a lobby group founded by discredited anti-islam pundit Steven Emerson. The article, by John Rossomando, is not in any way credible. It simply recites the claims of an admittedly unsourced, rumor-mongering Egyptian magazine story. There's no reason to assume there's a shred of truth to this.

Feminism Is Backsliding In Muslim Countries

Image via Facebook

As westerners, some of us assume all women who wear burqas or niqabs are "repressed." If you actually ask them about these outfits, some do call it "a kind of punishment," but others choose to wear them. Just the fact that they're worn doesn't mean women are disappearing.

There are about 49 "Lands of Islam," and that list includes countries where women have recently achieved a great deal. Gender equality is still a long way off in many of these places, but women recently surpassed men in terms of college enrollment in places like Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Meanwhile, women in Saudi Arabia are just now registering to vote for the first time in the lead-up to the 2015 election. Voting is a basic right to be sure, but the point is, it's an improvement.

The Muslim Conquest Was Worse Than the Crusades

The Crusades, a series of Christian war campaigns against Muslims during the middle ages, killed about three million people. But if that makes you feel bad, look at the image above and take solace in the fact that the concurrent Muslim Conquest was way worse, geographically speaking.

But in the long run, where seizing territory is concerned, Christianity wins. Nearly the entire New World—including North and South America—was settled by Christians, beginning with almost exclusively Christian aims that quickly turned bloody. A map of the whole world color-coded by religion tells a very different story than the highly shareable map above does.

But if you limit your comparison to a small 200-year window in the history of Islam and Christianity, yes, the Muslim Conquest covered more area than the Crusades.

Muslim Doctrine Is Unconstitutional

This is one of the rare anti-Islam graphics on Facebook that actually uses Impact, also known as "the meme font." Then it ruins its status as one of the dankest of memes by using some lame mystery font to invite people to fact check it.

I'll save you some time: Yes, the Hadith and Quran forbid free speech and freedom of religion. They're religious texts. That's what religious texts do; they tell you what not to say, and that you're not allowed to have other religions.

For comparison, two of the Ten Commandments are "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," and "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." That means the Bible forbids freedom of speech and freedom of religion, too. Also, the whole stonings for small crimes thing prescribed by Leviticus doesn't jibe too well with the eighth amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Only Muslims Hold Up Severed Heads

Yes, ISIS beheadings drew a lot of much-deserved disgust earlier this year, but posting something on Facebook implying that Islamic extremism holds some kind of monopoly on that particular method of execution is just plain stupid.

Beheadings by non-Muslims are happening on multiple continents. The ongoing strife in the Central African Republic, just to name one example, has involved local Christian militia members trying to quash Muslim uprisings that involved drafting child soldiers, so militia strategies as recently as last year included the beheading of children.

If you need an example you can actually see, look no further than Mexico, where you can watch (link is to a graphic beheading video) members of the Zetas drug cartel behead a member of a rival gang, and, yep, triumphantly hold up the head like a trophy.

Muslim Countries Aren't Taking in Refugees

The affluent Persian Gulf countries are catching shit here for not taking in any of the refugees fleeing the war in Syria. That's not because they're just dicks. Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia don't offer refugee status. They're chock full of Syrian people who fled the war, though. Saudi Arabia alone says it has taken in 2.5 million Syrians during the civil war, and the United Arab Emirates have taken in over 160,000 Syrians since 2012, according to The New York Times.

Ahmed the Clock Kid Is an Extremist

Above is an image that really is being passed around by right-wing bloggers in their diatribes against Ahmed the Clock Kid, and on Twitter. In case you haven't been following this story, Ahmed Mohamed is a 14-year-old kid in Irving, Texas who either (a) built a clock from scratch, and deserved an A+, or (b) made a clock out of existing clock parts to get a rise out of his overreacting teacher. He is not, as the above image would have you believe, a suicide bomber thirsting for the blood of innocent Americans.

Follow Mike Pearl on Twitter.

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