Noted anti-Muslim commentator and activist Pamela Geller included a video in the February 11 edition of her newsletter, intended to prove that immigrants posed a dangerous threat. Unfortunately, the video appears to be a hoax.
The video, titled “Immigrants in Italy,” depicts a group of people battering an Italian police car with bats and sticks while others cheer on.
By including the video in her newsletter, Gellar, who has claimed that President Obama is radical Muslim who “wants jihad to win” and has ties to white supremacists and European right-wing extremist factions, was likely attempting to capitalize off of anti-immigrant fear in Italy just weeks before the country’s general election where immigration is anticipated to be a hot button issue.
As noted by Media Matters for America, the video is in actuality an amateur recording of the shooting of an Italian film called Mediterranea. The film focuses on two friends from Burkina Faso who “experience hostility after immigrating to Italy.” The video clearly shows the film’s camera crew and production crew can be seen walking into the scene at the end of the clip, prompting the actors to stop.
Geller is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.” She has described Obama as a “third worlder and a coward” who will “do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords,” in addition to spreading a conspiracy that he is the love child of Malcolm X.
“So if you’re a Muslim and some non-Muslim looked at you funny, just report it to any one of these groups of news organizations and it too will count as a hate crime,” Geller said. “This is nefarious. This makes Soviet Pravda and state-run media look like child’s play.”
Geller’s most recent anti-immigrant smear attempt comes just ahead of Italy’s March 4 elections, which have so far been plagued with white nationalist sentiment. As ThinkProgress previously reported, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the scandal-plagued Italian media tycoon who was convicted of tax fraud in 2012, has already pledged to deport 600,000 refugees from Italy, should his allies in the far-right Northern League and Brothers of Italy win a seat in the government. Berlusconi himself is barred from running for office again because of his conviction.
“Immigration has become an urgent question, because after years with a leftwing government, there are 600,000 migrants who don’t have the right to stay,” he said in a TV interview earlier in February. “We consider it to be an absolute priority to regain control over the situation.”