Donald Trump’s latest attack on Muslims - insulting the Gold Star parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004 - has divided the anti-Muslim movement, which is firmly in the pro-Trump camp.
Some in the movement who are much closer to the mainstream despite their overt bigotry, chastised Trump for his comments – first insulting the mother of army captain Humayun Khan for not speaking as she stood next to her husband who addressed the Democratic National Convention. Trump claimed it was because of Ghazla Khan’s faith that she did not speak. She addressed that in a piece in the Washington Post, saying that it is very difficult for her still, even after twelve years, to speak about her son and his death.
Her husband called Trump out during the speech, telling the crowd that Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one.” After Trump’s attacks on the Khan matriarch, the candidate went one step further, insinuating that Khizr Khan, the soldiers’ father, is a terrorist sympathizer.
Jim Hanson, one of the many talking heads at the anti-Muslim think tank and hate group Center for Security Policy (CSP), and a former Special Forces weapons sergeant , took issue with Trump’s comments on Twitter. Hanson suggested that Trump should have responded with an attack on Hillary who, Hanson claims, “wants to allow the very #Jihadists who killed his son to come here.” Others noted Trump should have used Khizr Khan’s speech to pivot and ask what have the Clintons sacrificed for this country.
As to be expected, others in the anti-Muslim world, however, couldn’t resist the temptation to try and tie the Khan family to two if its favorite all-encompassing enemies: Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Robert Spencer, co-founder of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop the Islamization of America (SOIA), wrote a piece for his blog Jihad Watch on August 2 claiming Khizr Khan and the Clintons “have extensive ties to the Saudis.” Spencer ended his piece by saying that Trump had every right to answer his “attacks,” and “should have been even stronger in his responses.”
Spencer’s boss, David Horowitz, head of the hate group David Horowitz Freedom Center, echoed Spencer’s piece on Twitter, retweeting a letter from Gold Star families lambasting Trump for his attacks on the Khan family and adding the comment “How easy it is for a Saudi agent & his liberal accomplices to manipulate good people.”
The falsehood about a Muslim Brotherhood connection to the Khan family was concocted by father and son duo Walid and Theodore Shoebat, respectively, two of the most virulent anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT activists on the circuit today.
In a piece posted on the website of the hate group Shoebat Foundation, both men claim Khizr Khan is a “Muslim Brotherhood agent, working to bring Muslims into the United States.” The Shoebats went on to question the accuracy of the tale of Humayun Khan’s death, and also discussed “the other side of the coin” – that is, Muslim soldiers who “infiltrated” the U.S. military.
Pamela Geller, an anti-Muslim colleague of Robert Spencer’s, also chimed in, suggesting that there are “real questions” surrounding Humayun Khan’s death. In an earlier post she wrote, “The pity is, these Muslim parents were not decrying the Islamic texts and teachings behind this bloody war and the reason why their son went to war. Instead, they attacked … Trump.”