Being a "white nationalist" doesn't mean having European ancestry in Linda Sarsour's world. Her group, MPower Change, joined the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Philadelphia chapter in charging that Raymond Ibrahim, an American Copt of Egyptian ancestry, whose people have been severely discriminated against under Islamic rule for centuries, is a "white nationalist."
The smear campaign is part of an effort to have the U.S. Army War College rescind a June 19 speaking invitation to Ibrahim.
"In a time of rising white nationalism, Islamophobia, and horrific violence stemming from these ideologies, the College is endorsing and fostering anti-Muslim hate within the military by inviting Ibrahim," MPower Change wrote in a petition on its website.
To classify Ibrahim in the same category as white supremacists who hate Muslims for being non-white is to show ignorance of the severe persecution and discrimination faced by the Coptic people under nearly 14 centuries of Islamic rule.
Copts face constant discrimination and persecution at the hands of their Muslim neighbors, a fact that colors the view of Islam held by Ibrahim and other Copts whose relatives face Jim Crow-style conditions in their homeland.
MPower Change argues that Ibrahim "advances an Orientalist and inaccurate view of Islam." Among other things, Ibrahim denounced Muhammad as a "false prophet" and a "liar," which is considered blasphemy under Islam. This "Orientalist" epithet stems from late Columbia University scholar Edward Said's book 1978 Orientalism, which asserts that Islam and the West belong to the same civilization and complains about the Christian rejection of Islam as a heresy.
Ibrahim's assertion that "Muslim hostility and terrorization of the West is not an aberration but a continuation of Islamic history" promotes prejudice against Islam and Muslims, MPower Change complains.
But Muslim sources such as Islamweb.net acknowledge that Islamic threats of violence against majority Christian lands date back to Muhammad. It notes that Muhammad sent an emissary to the Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius calling on him to give up his Christianity for Islam or "pay him taxes in return for him allowing you to remain upon your faith; or, to prepare for war against him." Muslim armies invaded the empire, defeating Heraclius' forces in the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 A.D. after Muhammad's death. It paved the way for the Islamic conquest of the rest of the Middle East.
It's not the first time CAIR and its allies have tried to silence voices it doesn't like. In 2017, it failed to stop IPT Fellow Patrick Dunleavy from teaching an Air Force course on prison radicalization. Similar allegations cast Dunleavy as an "Islamophobe."
This attack on Ibrahim should meet the same fate.