There are a number of voices espousing hate using social media platforms such as Twitter. Though many of those voices are robots or bots, far too many are real. Such as in the case of the Islamophobic Twitter troll Amy Mekelburg.
In late May, Huffington Post journalist Luke O’Brien published an investigative profile piece on the person behind the Twitter account @AmyMek that regularly regurgitated anti-Muslim venom. The account @AmyMek as of early June had 231,000 followers that sources have reported include Sean Hannity, Roseanne Barr and the personal account of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. According to Huffington Post, she has received several endorsements from President Donald Trump and Michael Flynn.
The most recent posts of @AmyMek target the Democratic National Committee head as supporting Hamas, advocating doing away with the country’s law enforcement agencies. She has used Twitter to question the real meaning behind Muslims’ observance of public prayer with a video of a “brave” French journalist saying that the Muslims’ public prayer is a form of take over. Such rhetoric is manipulative, extreme and poisoning. Mekelburg in a tweet accuses Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, leadership of promoting the takeover of the U.S. government. The objective – to stoke fear of Islam and incite violence towards Muslims.
Outside of Twitter, Mekelburg created an organization dedicated to protecting American communities from her perception of a “jihadi” infiltration. The organization’s web site according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, “allowed visitors to report “accomplices” supposedly “complicit in the advancement of Sharia in the U.S.” The SPLC and Huffington Post have noted the criteria for being added to the list was shallow. Names were added of city council members and newspapers along with individuals endorsing or donating to Muslim Americans entering the political arena.
Mekelburg has a direct relationship with a known Islamophobe Chris Gaubtz who has proclaimed his expertise on “Muslim insurgency” and who is a former partner of another well-known Islamophobe John Guandolo of the organization Understanding the Threat. Mekelburg enjoys support from Pamela Geller whom the SPLC notes as “currently one of the most flamboyant anti-Muslim activists in the United States, with “broad-brush denunciations of Islam””. Mediamatters.org wrote “anti-Muslim troll Pamela Geller has presented her as merely a “patriot who tweets”. According to various sources, some of Mekelburg’s success has been linked to Anni Cyrus, who produces The Glazov Gang, an Islamophobic talk show.
Sources are reporting her Twitter account has since been removed. Her posts can still be read via a Google search. The organization’s Facebook page and the website are still accessible.
The rise in hate crimes against Muslims and people of color is directly linked to people like Amy Mekelburg and her cohorts in hate, hiding behind the nefarious agenda of making an already great country “great again”.
By Hajjah Anisa A. Sabur