South Dakota group slams President Trump's retweets as 'Islamophobic propaganda'

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - South Dakota Voices for Peace is speaking out, calling Trump's retweets "Islamophobic propaganda".
The organization is condemning Trump's actions calling it a reckless use of Twitter that could incite violence and further tensions across the country and here at home.

“Personally it was just astonishing that the President of our country would be retweeting posts from someone who has been convicted of harassing Muslims in great Brittan,” South Dakota Voices for Peace Executive director Taneeza Islam said. “It’s just been a series of mixed emotions whenever we see these types of tweets and the reckless use of Twitter.”

Taneeza Islam is Muslim and she heads a nonprofit with a mission to empower South Dakotans with accurate information to fight islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry.

“They're being fed this propaganda, and the messaging is working, and most people do fear Islam, and they fear Muslims,” she said.

She worries about what this could mean for Muslims across the country.

“It's really an incitement of violence from my perspective,” she said.

“Dehumanizing videos targeted towards one specific population, this comparison is overused, but I mean it’s not that different than what Goebbels did in Nazi Germany,” South Dakota Voices For Peace Policy and Communications Director Samantha Spawn said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump's retweets.

“It's about national security and national security threats,” she said.

Even though one of the videos has been debunked.

“Whether it's a real video the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about,” Sanders said.

“By making that statement she really cemented the fact that, that was directly propaganda with the intent of inciting fear,” Spawn said.

The group says Islamophobia can be found in South Dakota

“Since January we have seen 24 islamophobic events, which are speakers, and movies, and documentaries, that are being shown across the state,” Islam said.

And the organization is also working against anti-Muslimism and anti-immigrant legislation.

“We've seen in our own state, our state House this last legislative session, one bill and two resolutions aimed at denigrating the Muslim and immigrant refugee populations,” Spawn said.

Members of South Dakota Voices for Peace plan to be in Pierre during the 2018 legislative session to speak out against any anti-Muslim legislation that could be brought forward.
According to the FBI’s latest crime statistics report, anti-Muslim crime increased 19% from 2015 to 2016.