Border rancher: “We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal.” Washington Examiner People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
Courtesy of The Daily Beast:
President Donald Trump claimed that Muslim prayer rugs are being found on the U.S.-Mexico border in a tweet Friday, dredging up a long-running, discredited right-wing internet rumor.
Citing a Washington Examiner story that ran on Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the identities of some people crossing the border would be a “big surprise.”
“Border rancher: ‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal.’ Washington Examiner,” Trump tweeted. “People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise.”
The Examiner story that Trump cited has stirred up the pro-Trump internet, getting picked up on sites like Jihad Watch and WorldNetDaily.
In the past, though, claims of border-region prayer rugs have been quickly disproven, and there’s no reason to believe the Examiner is more credible.
The Examiner article is based on only one source: an anonymous Arizona rancher who wouldn’t let the reporter use her name out of “fear of retaliation by cartels.”
The Examiner article does not offer any photographic evidence of the rugs, does not have any cooperating witnesses, and does not dig into whether the source even knows what a Muslim prayer rug looks like.
As the article points out there have been a few other stories like this, but when actual journalists tried to corroborate them they quickly fell apart.
This kind of story, of course, is useful in driving home the conspiracy theory that terrorists are coming across the border with Mexican immigrants.
Though to be honest, even if there were Muslim prayer rugs they would prove no such thing.
Just more fearmongering, which is exactly the kind of thing that Donald Trump feels deserves to be tweeted out to the masses.