While growing up, reading the adventures of Ali Baba provided steady stimuli for my imagination and a unique conduit to contemplate virtue, chivalry, and criterion to ascertain right from wrong. The story of Ali Baba and the forty thieves is still fresh in my mind as if I had just read it yesterday. Comparatively speaking, the current White House is akin to Ali Baba’s story with the forty thieves, in the sense that it currently serves as the den for the Islamophobes with the President himself acting as the “Islamophobe in-chief”. The comparison does not have to be precise to be valid since we can’t count a total of forty Islamophobes in the White House but nevertheless, the number should not distract us from the concentration of anti-Muslim bigotry within Trump’s Administration and especially with the arrival of two new members into the Islamophobic den. The recent addition of both John Bolton, as a National Security Advisor, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is nominated to head the State Department, proved that the White House is serving as an Islamophobe’s den.
On December 14th, 2016, “John Bolton’s Cozy Relationship With Anti-Muslim Hate Groups Should Disqualify Him From Public Service” was the spot-on and perceptive online headline of The Nation – the left-leaning publication, which opposed the possibility of Bolton’s inclusion in the new Trump Administration. Fast forward to March 2018, John Bolton has found his way into an important office at the White House, adding to the Islamophobes den’s membership and the cast of characters that made the anti-Muslim bigotry a ladder to slither-up into positions of power.
Trump’s presidency should be rightly called the Islamophobia administration with the White House serving as the den of the Islamophobes. In his presidential campaign, Trump promised to drain the swamps, but ended-up deepening and filling DC’s political gorges with bigotry, racism, and a steady stream of anti-Muslim venom. The current administration has created swamps of indecency, built walls of anti-immigrant ignorance, and promoted Islamophobic spokespersons that spew bigotry as well as conspiratorial arguments at every turn.
John Bolton is the latest figure to join the den of the Islamophobes in the White House in a long line of such personalities that have been given a new role in the Islamophobia Administration. The president himself has arrived at the White House riding on an Islamophobia float having been able to translate anti-Muslim bigotry and animus into votes at the ballot box. Islam is the Ali Baba of today, is chased and demonized so as to keep filling the thieves’ den with stolen gold, silver, and valuables while all-along diverting attention away from the real robbers. Islamophobia is a winning ticket and is tried and tested in the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, France, and other European countries with society’s problems dumped on the back of the Muslims and immigrants while those 40 or more thieves are running back and forth to their metaphorical or real den to stash away the wealth of the poor and made-poor populations across the globe.
Here, we have the successful formula: misinform the people, starve education, cut healthcare, disrupt elections with massive contributions, stash away funds in off-shore accounts, out-source jobs, destroy the environment, dig for oil in natural reserves, stoke racial tension, sharpen the cultural wars, rally around guns and patriotism, invade and pillage whole countries, free market thievery of the Southern Hemisphere, and pile on debt to unsuspecting and structurally made ignorant people, and then hoist the Muslim figure as the source of all the problems and the cause of undermining Western civilization itself. Not only this but extend the blame Islam type of Islamophobia in the form of anti-Islamist political engagements in Muslim majority countries, which has been utilized likewise as a winning strategy to counter the possibility of change in the Arab world. Islamophobia works and if you doubt it does I give you Trump and Brexit as exhibits A and B and can provide many more if needed!
This is the game plan for the Islamophobia industry that resides now in the White House with a President that is firmly committed to this worldview. Indeed, John Bolton has deep and direct links to the leadership of the Islamophobia industry. In 2010, Bolton wrote the foreword to a book authored by Pamela Geller and fervent anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer, “The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America”. The book is filled with racist and venomous insults and conspiratorial attacks on then President Obama. Throwing the book into the recycling bin would be an insult to the bin and would undermine the concept of recycling itself, for bigotry should not be given any breathing room even if it comes in a recycled form.
Furthermore, Bolton appeared at least twice on “Geller’s internet radio program “Atlas on the Air” and twice on her video blog”, as well as having interviews on Frank Gaffney’s radio show. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Gaffney as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes”. Geller’s Atlas Shrugs served for a period as a central clearing website for all types of Islamophobic content and often engages in explicit racist attacks on Muslims, President Obama, African Americans, and other communities of color. In the book, Geller addresses the already discredited notion of “creeping Sharia” which is one of the key concepts that fuses together many groups within the Islamophobia industry, and mentions that “On foreign policy, Europe is committing slow cultural and demographic suicide”.
Geller and Spencer gave credence to Trump’s “birther” movement, which erroneously maintained that: “Obama went to extraordinary measures to obfuscate his Muslim background. The more proof that bloggers like me produced, the more we were marginalized. So secretive was Obama that he refused to release his long-form birth certificate, his school records, his thesis, his passport on which he traveled as a teen… the list itself was a looming red flag”.
We have to say that Bolton’s forward is a direct indication of his agreement with the book’s content since no other evidence to the contrary exists. Keeping company and endorsing the writings and works of the Islamophobes means that one finds intellectual, ideological, and political affinity with them on their anti-Muslim bigotry, as well as the readiness to express sympathy with these views.
Eli Clifton of The Nation cites the SPLC’s report on Geller’s “assertions that President Obama is the ‘love child’ of Malcolm X and that he was ‘involved with a crack whore’”. According to the SPLC, Geller is “probably the best known – and the most unhinged – anti-Muslim ideologue in the United States”. Furthermore, Clifton points to Spencer maintaining that ‘Shariah enclaves’ and has predicted that they will grow across America; has referred to Barack Obama as ‘the first Muslim president’; has claimed that Islam ‘mandates warfare against unbelievers’ and has said that ‘traditional Islam is not moderate or peaceful’; and has even suggested that “the media may be getting money to depict Muslims in a positive light”.
The appointment of John Bolton as the National Security Advisor should be alarming to anyone concerned with domestic and international affairs. We must be reminded that Bolton is very much a hawk and comes from the depth of the neo-conservative movement. As a reminder, the neo-conservatives, who played a central role in George Bush’s first term in office, led the nation to the disastrous Iraq invasion and are the brain trust for the A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a blueprint to end the Oslo peace process and facilitate Israel annexing more Palestinian territories.
More alarming, John Bolton called for a preemptive strike against Iran, which has to be understood as a key strategic goal, not for the U.S. but certainly for the current right-wing led Israeli government. Bolton’s entry into the Islamophobe’s den at the White House means that the war with Iran is a matter of when not if, which would translate to another few million Arabs, Iranians and Muslims sacrificed on the altar of civilization mission and protection of Israel’s strategy. The Iran deal is dead and the Arab and Muslim worlds should prepare its young, its old, its men and women for another war. “Theirs is to do and die, theirs is not to ask why”, but I will say it is to keep the military industrial complex humming, protect Israel, create jobs in North America and prepare the grounds for the Trump’s election campaign in 2020. How does it feel to be a never-ending racialized wedge issue for an electoral and job creation strategy?