It’s just politics, a day at the office, for Republican propagandists like Michele Bachmann and Lucianne Goldberg, but the ridiculous lies they are spinning — especially their tale that Pres. Obama is a secret Muslim who directed the U.S. government to rig the election in Egypt — are having serious consequences on the ground:
The efforts of far-right loons to convince people that President Obama is a secret Muslim is finally working. But who would have guessed that secular Egyptians, scared of actual Muslim operatives, would be the easiest to convince?
Over the weekend, activists activists who threw tomatoes at Hillary Clinton’s motorcade in Alexandria while taunting “Monica! Monica!” made headlines around the world. But it turns out that the tomato-tossers and 1990s political history enthusiasts have also been following the right-wing attempts to paint President Obama as a “secret Muslim.” In the U.S. the conspiracy theory hasn’t spread much further than the web, talk radio, and the occasional protest sign, but it has adherents in Egypt who think Obama is spurring on the rise of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, despite his past support of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Time’s Abigail Hauslohner attended a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton and secular Egyptian activists, many of whom feared the Obama administration’s meddling. “One Egyptian-American Christian … even cited Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachman’s recent assertion that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda,” wrote Hauslohner. Newspaper editor and activist Youssef Sihom told her that the Obama administration “is blessing the rise of political Islam in Egypt.”
It didn’t stop there. Rumors have circulated that the Obama administration is giving the Muslim Brotherhood billions of dollars. Despite the best efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to combat such rumors via Twitter, as The New York Times’ Robert Mackey noted last night: