On Sunday, the White House issued well wishes to Muslims celebrating Eid-al-Fitr worldwide. In the message, President Obama stated that the holiday “reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.”
Predictably, this statement sent members of the organized Islamophobia movement into a frenzy.
“Obama crossed a red line this week,” anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller blogged, stirring up paranoia that the president’s statement is proof of the “Islamization of the American narrative.”
Over at his website Jihad Watch, Geller’s colleague Robert Spencer quipped, “You remember all those contributions by Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation, don’t you?”
He followed this by providing examples of historical U.S. events that Muslims weren’t present at such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution.
Bob FitzSimmonds, the treasurer of Virginia’s Republican Party, joined in the criticism, expressing his outrage on Facebook:
“It is one thing to be gracious on religious holidays, but this is pure nonsense,” he wrote. “Exactly what part of our nation’s fabric was woven by Muslims? What about Sikhs, Animists, and Jainists? Should we be thanking them too?”
ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel was also critical of Obama’s statement. She took to the group’s official Twitter account to call it “historically inaccurate” and suggest Obama get his “facts straight.” However according to Gabriel, the facts seem to be whatever bigoted statements her followers say on social media. This was evidenced after she retweeted, “The only contributions I can think of are not at all good. 9/11, WTC 93, Boston, Ft Hood, Underwear bomber, Lockerbie etc etc.”
Also in the Twittersphere, the anti-Muslim law firm American Freedom Law Center warned that President Obama had “issued a troubling statement praising Muslims around the world.”