Why Did Flynn Collude With Russia?

The news broke late last night: Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has resigned in shame after he was caught lying about conversations he had with a Russian official in late December.1

We’re glad that Michael Flynn is no longer in the administration. His anti-Muslim views—he sits on the board of the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group2 and has likened Islam to “a malignant cancer”3—come from the most extreme fringes of the Islamophobia industry, and it’s clear that he planned to pursue his role based on this radical ideology.

In fact, it’s likely that this deep-seated anti-Muslim hatred is what led him to collude with Russia on sanctions—and then lie about it.

On its face, the news of a high-ranking official lying about his collusion with Russia on sanctions is troubling. But what’s really concerning is the underlying reason why: according to Flynn himself, he sought to build an alliance with Russia because he wanted to fight a new “world war,” stating that “the common enemy that we have is radical Islam.”4

We know that the rhetoric around “radical Islam”—like the other racist dog-whistles used by this administration—is just a cover for attacking Muslims and Islam more broadly. The extreme anti-Muslim views adopted by Flynn come straight out of the playbook of notorious figures like Pamela Gellar and Frank Gaffney.

And sadly, Michael Flynn isn’t the only Trump adviser who’s been captured by this toxic ideology. Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pompeo—and Trump himself—all appear to be devotees of Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim hate.5

For Flynn, his Gaffney-inspired anti-Muslim hate—and the pursuit of this fever-dream of a civilizational clash with Islam—may have led him to this public betrayal that ended his decades-long career. For others in the administration, it could be what led them to push forward the disastrous and failing Muslim ban—and God only knows what other dangerous policies they still have in store.

Share the news of Flynn’s resignation—and his extreme anti-Muslim views—before the administration tries to spin its way out of this story with “alternative facts.”

Let’s hope that this administration can exorcise itself of all of its anti-Muslim hatred—before it’s too late for all of us.

 

Sources:

1. "Michael Flynn resigns as national security adviser" The Washington Post, Feb 14, 2017
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/michael-flynn-resigns-as-national-security-adviser/2017/02/13/0007c0a8-f26e-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html

2. "Trump's National Security Advisor's Twitter Account Shows Extent of Anti-Muslim Beliefs" Southern Poverty Law Center, Dec 20, 2016
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/12/20/trumps-national-security-advisors-twitter-account-shows-extent-anti-muslim-beliefs

3. "RWW News: Michael Flynn: Islam Is A 'Cancer,' 'Political Ideology' That 'Hides Behind' Religion'" YouTube Nov 18, 2016
4. "Trump’s National Security Pick Sees Ally in Fight Against Islamists: Russia" The New York Times, Jan 10, 2017 5. "Trump’s counter-jihad" Vox, Feb 13, 2017 http://www.vox.com/world/2017/2/13/14559822/trump-islam-muslims-islamophobia-sharia
Mohammad Khan
Mohammad Khan

Mohammad Khan is a campaigner and political organizer from Queens, NY. He’s currently the Campaign Director at MPower Change—the U.S.’s first digitally native grassroots Muslim organization—where he campaigns to organize Muslim communities and allies in the fight for justice for all people. His work focuses on transformative movement-based organizing and building the power of marginalized communities. Mohammad has worked across electoral, issue, and civic engagement campaigning and organizing in New York—from gubernatorial and City Council races to efforts including police reform, protecting public education, and exposing political corruption.

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