Politics

Trump’s Anti-Muslim Campaign Is Helping Fuel White Supremacist Recruitment

CREDIT: AP Photo/John Locher

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally, in Las Vegas.

As Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is commanding national attention for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the country, the Ku Klux Klan is reportedly handing out recruitment fliers in Alabama encouraging people to “fight the spread of Islam in our country.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, is calling on public officials to repudiate the KKK’s recruitment efforts and its anti-Muslim fliers. Ibrahim Hooper, the group’s spokesperson, told ThinkProgress that Trump’s recent Islamophobic rhetoric is putting Muslims across the country on high-alert.

“Trump’s statement has really given tacit permission to that minority of bigots out there to go after Muslims,” he said. “The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim hate is the problem, and Donald Trump has really brought it to the mainstream.”

Over the weekend, these fliers, distrubuted by the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, appeared in Decatur, Guntersville, and Cullman, Alabama:

This flier was distributed in Alabama over the weekend.

This flier was distributed in Alabama over the weekend.

CREDIT: CAIR

The phone number included on the flier directs callers to a voicemail recording that makes reference to both the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks. “Look at the Muslim attack that just happened in California,” it says. “Wake up Christian America. The terrorists are being let in by our own government who have betrayed you to destroy our religion.”

The KKK distributed other fliers to porches and cars in Alabama in September, before the recent attacks became rallying calls for Republican politicians to block the spread of “radical Islamic terrorism.” Those recruitment materials told people to “help save our race,” but made no mention of Islam.

Hooper said that the recent terrorist attacks have added to the anti-Muslim rhetoric that CAIR is observing across the country.

“The real trigger was the Paris terrorist attack, and then the San Bernardino and now Trump,” he said. “I see it as a continuum pushing anti-Muslim hate in our society.”

Politico reported Thursday that the KKK is also explicitly using Trump as a talking point in its recent outreach efforts. Don Black, the founder of white supremacist group Stormfront, told Politico that “Trump has helped drive a steady increase in traffic in recent months — including 30-40 percent spikes when the businessman makes news on immigration or Muslims,” according to the website.

Cullman, Alabama residents have reported finding KKK fliers like this one, packaged with candy.

Cullman, Alabama residents have reported finding KKK fliers like this one, packaged with candy.

CREDIT: AL.com

And Rachel Pendergraft, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas-based Knights Party, which considers itself the national standard-bearer for the KKK, told Politico that Trump has offered KKK members new recruitment opportunities. “Right now he is a major talking point. He is in the news a lot,” she said.

Trump’s call on Monday to stop the immigration and the entrance of Muslims to the United States is also driving conversations on white supremacist message boards. One discussion topic on Stormfront’s website on Thursday is titled “Trump is the greatest thing of all time.” Another discussion board says “They want Donald Trump banned from Britain yet welcome hordes of Muslims.”

Since Trump’s candidacy and the recent terrorists attacks in Paris, Muslim-Americans are experiencing an “unprecedented” spike in Islamophobia with Muslims all over the country falling victim to attacks on themselves and their houses of worship. ThinkProgress compiled a list of 33 incidents including violent attacks, threats, assaults, protests, and instances of vandalism that have been reported since the November 13 attack.

“The Muslim community is really in a state of fear and apprehension now,” Hooper said. “Not only for the present but what it means for the future of American Muslims.”