Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert has previously used his social media to promote anti-Islam messages. In September, Rapert suggested that all Muslims and anyone who supported the rights of Muslims — ‘Muslim sympathizers’ — should be ’rounded up.’ On Tuesday, Rapert doubled-down, sharing a series of videos that promote violence against Muslims. Some of these videos come from a man who goes by the alias Tommy Robinson and include verbal assaults on Muslims in a street, doxxing (providing personal information publicly for the purposes of harm) of individuals, and threats to find “these men” whom he says the government is hiding.
Senator Jason Rapert also included a video released by Isis, depicting the destruction of a Catholic church in the Philippines. When asked if he could state a purpose behind promoting these videos, and whether he is addressing crime on a more local level, Rapert ignored the questions from his constituents, instead going on to post a report by Todd Starnes that characterizes the right of Muslim children to pray during the school day as a “marginalization” of Christianity.
Though Senator Jason Rapert shared the anti-Islam videos without any commentary of his own, he did have something to add to the Starnes report, declaring it a show of liberal hypocrisy. Rapert further described Islam as the following.
“…a cult of death and violence against all non-Muslims.”
The offense outlined in the report Rapert shared is simply that a school is allowing Muslim children to use empty classrooms to pray during Ramadan, and notes that children of any faith are allowed to do so.
The videos included in Jason Rapert’s anti-Islam share-spree are more egregious, enough so that it’s necessary to link them here rather than embed and to give a content warning. The first one (not safe for work, includes violent language) can be found here (on Rapert’s social media) or here where it was originally posted in April.
The anti-Islam video shared on Jason Rapert’s social media, with very little context given, shows Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, who, in his videos, uses the alias Tommy Robinson, standing outside a court, and asserting that the individuals leaving are a “Muslim rape gang.” He then proceeds to shout at these individuals, chasing them down and asking if they are child rapists, calling them pedophiles, and generally verbally provoking them.
While there were 17 suspects arrested for the rapes Robinson describes, however, and they did appear in court on the day of his video, per Oxford Times, they did so by video uplink from Bicester Prison. Neither Robinson nor Jason Rapert explicitly claimed that the accused rapists (who will return to court to enter pleas next month) had been released into the public to endanger children, but the anti-Islam rhetoric and calling the individuals who walked away from the court rapists may give that impression to viewers.
In this video, Robinson focuses first on Abu Hareema, a man who has been questioned on terrorism connections. According to the London Evening Standard, Hareema was banned from using the internet to promote his beliefs, and freed on bail. In the anti-Islam video shared by Rapert, Robinson points out the home where he says that Hareema is living — essentially doxxing the man to the public.
He asserts the following.
“This man is one of 3,000 who are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Then, contradictorily, he declares that, despite its presence in the video, “Usually there’s no police car there,” and that there’s nothing to stop Hareema from attacking the children attending school a short distance away.
In fact, according to the Australian, if police were indeed monitoring Hareema for connections to terrorism, Robinson may have thwarted them, for after he released his video (and was banned from Twitter for a week for doxxing), Hareema fled his home.
Of further concern is Robinson’s promise in closing the video, that he will also expose addresses of any other Muslims if his viewers share the information with him. Several commenters on Jason Rapert’s page expressed concern that the Senator might be promoting doxxing of individuals based on religion alone.
Notably, this anti-Islam video opens with a focus on Hareema’s anti-gay views. Rapert himself has made renewed efforts in recent months to demand an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would forbid same-sex marriage, according to the Arkansas Blog.
The man whose videos Jason Rapert is sharing has controversies of his own. HuffPost UK reported in 2013 on Robinson’s connection to National Front. He says he wasn’t aware National Front was whites-only, though the party describes itself, among other things, as against “multiracialism.” Robinson has also been seen in speeches threatening “every single Muslim” with repercussions for a terror attack.
Aside from Robinson’s videos, Senator Jason Rapert’s anti-Muslim shares included an Isis propaganda video, which depicts the destruction of a Catholic church in the Phillippines.
The Catholic News Agency reported on this video on Monday, describing terror attacks by Isis in the country. These videos are typically expected to provoke broad anti-Islam responses, which in turn aid in radicalizing those who suffer as a result.
Senator Jason Rapert did not explain why he is promoting Isis propaganda videos, and when a constituent commented to ask if there was a reason for the anti-Islam videos, Rapert ignored the question.
Rapert did respond to one constituent who said Rapert was confusing Muslims and radical Muslims. By comparison, the commenter pointed out that Jason Rapert is a Baptist, but would not want to be judged by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church.
To that Rapert responded, telling the commenter his statement was ‘not proper’ and asserted that the Bible does not call for death of non-Christians. (Other commenters responded to point Jason Rapert to Deuteronomy 17, but Rapert did not respond to these.) By comparison, he said,
…the Koran teaches to kill all non-Muslims if they refuse to submit or convert. I am not accusing anyone, their own allegiance to the Koran tells us what they believe.
[Featured Image by Danny Johnston/AP Photo]