Donald Trump’s critics are still reacting, often violently, at the news that he has been elected the 45th President of the United States. Trump’s supporters seem to be rejoicing, sometimes to the point of gloating. Many have become bolder in expressing their opinions about immigration and the issue of Islamic terrorism. However, one such supporter has been calling for intolerance of Islam for many years now.
A rising star in the Alt Right movement, is Eric Allen Bell. Once a writer for Michael Moore and the Progressive blog, Daily Kos, Bell authored an article in 2012 called, The High Price of Telling the Truth About Islam”. Since that time he has appeared regularly on Fox News and numerous conservative radio programs. In early 2016 he became a very vocal supporter of Donald Trump, endorsing him in his article, “The Radical Truth about Moderate Islam”. Nearly all of Bell’s articles criticizing Islam have gone viral. So too have his videos, with titles such as, “Islam is Nazism with a God” and “Islamophobia or Islamo-reality?”
Bell’s words and ideas are provocative and offensive to many. He has been sharply criticized as Islamophobic by Media Matters and the Council on American Islamic Relations. Here is what Bell said about the candidacy of Donald Trump back in May of 2016, “The Islamic threat is the defining issue of our time. So I don’t care if Donald Trump seems un-presidential. Maybe he is redefining what presidential means. To me he is the right man at the right time”. Bell goes on to say, “The current strategy of the Islamist is this: Immigrate, Infiltrate, Caliphate. Donald Trump is the only candidate running for President of the United States who unapologetically has made his intensions clear to disrupt the Islamic agenda”.
Bell is often cited as being an influencer in what is referred to as the Counter Jihad Movement. Some describe that movement as being “Six Degrees of Frank Gaffney”. Gaffney heads up an organization called the Center for Security Policy. He has also just been named as a member of Trump’s transition team. There are rumors he will become his National Security Advisor. While making a documentary about construction of a mega mosque, in America’s Bible Belt, Bell interviewed Gaffney whom he now credits with being instrumental in his change in perspective, a change that lead to Bell becoming a radical voice in the anti-Islam movement and the emerging Alt Right.
Given the small difference in the number of votes between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, bloggers and those seen as being part of the echo chamber have enough influence to tilt the scales. And in the weeks and days leading up to the election, Bell reached out to his 76 thousand Facebook friends and called upon them to cast their vote for Trump, in order to stop Islam.
To get an idea of just how radical Bell’s rhetoric is, when it comes to attacking Islam, he referred to the Kaba, that is the sacred spot in which all Muslims face when praying, as “The Drain”. He even made a video called, “The Drain of Islam” in which he stated, “There is a dark spot and seen from the sky, it appears as a drain, with people circling around it in a brainwashed daze. This drain sucks away human potential. It speaks to what is good in a person and says, ‘Bow in this direction 5 times a day’ and then it sucks all of their goodness away. It speaks to what is bad in a person and says, ‘Now this is the way to be. Evil is good and good is evil’. The dark drain is heavily protected, not just by a military, but by a dark doctrine, which surrounds itself with a ring of ignorance, foolishness, corruption and censorship – both voluntary and involuntary.”
On the screen is footage of devout Muslims on a spiritual pilgrimage, circling the Kaba while Bell goes on to say, “The dark drain sucks in more souls every single day. It drains resources, it takes lives, it appeals to the darkest side of the human mind. The cowardly masses, who are not captured directly by the strong gravitational force of the drain, turn their heads away and try to pretend it is not there, that it does no harm. Some go so far as to tell themselves it is peaceful and beautiful and worthy of respect. Such is the power of evil.”
Figures within the Alt Right such as Milo Yianopolis have also been instrumental in mobilizing American youth toward supporting Donald Trump. But Eric Allen Bell is single-minded in his obsessive fixation with defeating Islam entirely. He has stated that “The Information Age will be the death of Islam” and that “The enemy of Islam is information. Spread this information. Spread it far and spread it wide and spread it like Napalm”. Napalm? Seriously?
Is this the kind of sentiment that Donald Trump seeks to feed? Like Trump, Bell seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth. He went onto Fox and Friends to discuss his article, “Why I Do Not Hate Muslims” while at the same time producing a video were he can be heard saying, “Islam is the enemy of free speech, of human rights and of Liberty. If you follow Islam, you are my enemy. I encourage you now to leave Islam and take your place among the civilized people of this world. But if you insist on remaining loyal to the brutal savagery of Islam, your enemies will grow faster than can be contained, by an Islamic lobbyist group or the media or any government agency. This is a zero sum game and the Civilized World will win.”
To cast the fasted growing faith in the world as “dangerous” is in itself a dangerous thing to do. What the world needs now is to unite, to look for our similarities rather than to provoke a fight over our differences. But with advisors such as Frank Gaffney and influencers such as Eric Allen Bell, is Donald Trump here to bring peace, or to settle a 1,400 year old score? After Trump won the election, Bell wrote “we have in Donald Trump a candidate who was willing to call Islam for what it is – to recognize that those who follow an ideology, that is spread through violence, must not be so easily welcomed into our nation”. Are these fighting words, reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s, or the sentiments of a patriot who simply wants to “Make America Great Again”? Trump can and should be judged by those who support him. And history, it seems, will judge him harshly.