On Monday, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” He also cited a dubious poll claiming 25% of Muslims believe killing Americans is justified.
A video statement reportedly issued by Anonymous on Wednesday warned Donald Trump of the group’s disapproval of his escalating rhetoric:
“Donald Trump, it has come to our attention that you want to ban all Muslims to enter [sic] the United States. This policy is going to have a huge impact,” it said. “This is what ISIS wants. The more Muslims feel sad, the more ISIS feels they can recruit them.“
On Wednesday, an apparent member of Anonymous tweeted that Trump Tower New York’s website was “nearly” down, posting a screenshot as evidence:
By Friday, Trump’s site displayed a notice that it was temporarily offline:
Though the site was back up and running in about an hour, the Anonymous action reflects the sentiment of growing numbers of people around the world. Domestically, Trump’s recent comments calling to bar Muslims from entering the United States were met with raucous praise from his supporters, but drew criticism from even the most unlikely corners of the political realm. Right-wing, hawkish politicians, including Senator Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, and former Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed Trump’s proposal.
“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in,” Cheney said. “I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.”
It is rare that Dick Cheney dismisses zealotry and Islamophobia, though it is unclear whether the Republican establishment actually reviles the proposed policy or is criticizing it in an attempt to downplay Trump’s escalating influence among voters, who are more afraid of terrorism now than at any other point since 9/11.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment that confirms people should not be blocked from entering the country based on their religion.
Further, a petition launched in the U.K. to ban Trump from entering their country grew to be the most popular petition ever launched on the government’s website. Some of Trump’s international business partners
in Islamic nations have also distanced themselves from the demagogue.
Trump’s statements have become increasingly extreme. As he told Yahoo Politics last month, “We’re going to have to do things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.” He has refused to rule out the idea of forcing Muslims to wear special identification, called for the families of alleged terrorists to be “taken out,” and suggested mosques should be heavily monitored. Trump’s most recent proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States is a predictable, if not terrifying progression. This week, Trump also suggested imposing the death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer, which has earned him the support of at least one police union.
In spite of his growing zealotry and subsequent mounting popularity, swaths of people oppose Trump’s rhetoric and denounce his blatant calls for discrimination. Many argue such reactionary policies may actually empower ISIS and other terrorist groups.
As the Anonymous statement to Trump warned, “The more the United States appears to be targeting Muslims, not just radical Muslims, you can be sure that ISIS will be putting that on their social media campaign. Donald Trump, think twice before you speak anything. You have been warned.”
Anonymous also declared Friday “ISIS Trolling Day,” and plans to “mock them for the idiots they are.”