By Lawrence Pintak, Brian J. Bowe and Jonathan Albright
When Donald Trump on Friday tweeted out-of-context clips from a speech by Ilhan Omar intercut with images of 9/11, it was part of a dangerous pattern of demonisation epitomised by his 2016 pronouncement, “Islam hates us.”

It takes just a few minutes on the right social media string to recognise that such inflammatory comments are raw meat for a sizeable and dangerous ethnocentric online community who consider Muslims sub-human.

We’ve spent the past several months reviewing more than 120,000 Twitter posts and Facebook comments involving Muslim candidates for the 2018 midterm elections.

All the showers in the world won’t make us feel clean again.

In our foray into the Facebook comments and Twitter posts tagging Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – the two Muslim women elected to Congress – and other Muslim candidates for office last autumn, we found a cabal of Islamophobes for whom Muslims were, quite literally, demons.

As one troll claimed: “Allah is Baal the moon God. A very evil, demonic creature who infests the world with his presence through Islam. One billion people are enslaved by this bloodletting creature of doom.”

Needless to say, this description cannot be found in any reputable religious studies textbook, but Allah and his band of demons is a meme frequently encountered in Islamophobic posts.

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By Lawrence Pintak

Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar. He is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and was founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). He was named a Fellow of the Society by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for "outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world. Pintak is a contributor to, The Daily Beast, and other outlets. Read his articles at His books include Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & The War of Ideas; Islam for Journalists (co-editor); The New Arab Journalist; and Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Follow him on Twitter @LPintak.