NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump circulated a fake image on Monday depicting congressional Democrats’ top-ranked leaders in traditional Muslim attire in front of the Iranian flag, drawing criticism that he was promoting Islamophobic tropes.
The manipulated photo retweeted by Trump showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Muslim garb with the caption: “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue #NancyPelosiFakeNews.” Trump, a Republican, had previously faulted Democrats for criticizing his administration’s targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, but his use of Muslim imagery as part of that effort drew pushback from Muslim American advocates.
“The image is a hodgepodge of anti-Muslim tropes and garb from many traditions including some that are frequently used to stereotype and attack Muslims,” Madihha Ahussain, special counsel at the nonprofit group Muslim Advocates, said in a statement. “It’s disappointing but not surprising that the president would use his massive Twitter platform to spread this kind of harmful, ignorant, anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of the Muslim American group Emgage Action — named for its mission to engage Muslim Americans — also criticized Trump’s decision to amplify the doctored photo of Pelosi and Schumer. “There’s no place for it, irrespective of political differences,” he said in an interview.
Schumer tweeted his own pushback to Trump, asking: “How low can you go?”
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