Essay: If Marjorie Taylor Greene Was a Muslim

If Marjorie Taylor Greene was a Muslim, she would be in Guantanamo Bay and in shackles. 

I know that there are neither U.S. citizens nor women held at that blight on the global conscience, but Greene is a reminder that while the U.S. has obsessively focused its “War on Terror” on brown Muslim men both outside and inside its borders, this white, blonde, Christian woman inside its Capitol is the face of terror at home.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks as President Donald Trump listens at a campaign rally in support of Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga., Jan. 4, 2021/BRYNN ANDERSON, AP via USA Today

In a country where Muslims, including children, are profiled and arrested for imaginary violence, no Muslim woman or man could, as Greene has, support executing prominent politicians and incite violence against others and still evade custody. 

But because she is white, evangelical, and a woman--a rich one at that--Greene is not in an orange jumpsuit locked up in a U.S. prison camp in Cuba. Instead, she is a member of the House of Representatives in the most powerful country in the world. 

The threshold for kicking off airplanes Muslims who have done absolutely nothing wrong is much lower than that for expelling dangerous lawmakers who incite violence.

Greene, who has backed insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, has yet to be kicked out of the House, where she rubs shoulders with the very lawmakers against whom she has incited violence. 

She has supported executing prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. As recently as September, she posted on her candidate Facebook page an image of herself holding a gun alongside images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib and incited violence against them. 

"We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart," her post's caption read. Facebook removed the photo, saying it violated the social network's policies.

The threshold for kicking off airplanes Muslims who have done absolutely nothing wrong is much lower than that for expelling dangerous lawmakers who incite violence. Muslims have been kicked off flights for texting in Arabic, making a flight attendant feel “unsafe” by talking with other passengers about the lack of food and water on the flight, using a phone, wearing a headscarf, sweating, using the word “Allah,” using the restroom and flushing twice, “staring” at a flight attendant, asking to switch seats, speaking “with a person of similar ethnicity in the gate area” and making “significant eye contact,” and discussing the safest place to sit.

And yet there in Congress is Greene, who has supported the far-right QAnon movement which the FBI labelled a domestic terror threat in 2019. She has called the Sandy Hook and Parkland school massacres false flag operations designed to destroy the Second Amendment. In social media posts, Greene liked comments about executing FBI agents who, in her eyes, were part of the "deep state" working against Trump. 

Greene was dangerous and vile long before she was elected but because much of her vileness was directed at Muslims, Black people, and Jews, Republicans shrugged and carried on being the craven shits they are, happy to throw their weight behind anyone who brings them votes. 

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After the September 11, 2001 attacks, special agents from the FBI went to my brother’s home in the Midwest demanding to know if he knew anyone who had celebrated the attacks.

I don’t know if special agents have visited Greene’s home. If they have, they need not ask if she knew anyone who celebrated the insurrection because we know that she herself has: she called it Republicans’ “1776 moment,” in a reference to the American revolution.

Compare the zeal with which the U.S. has profiled, pursued, entrapped and surveilled Muslims suspected of terrorism with the reluctance bordering on complicity that it reserves for investigating or taking seriously white domestic terror. Now imagine the authorities profiling, pursuing, entrapping, and surveilling white women, especially now that we know how eager they were to join an insurrection, including a female veteran who zealously carried out here what she was trained to do overseas. 

The very idea is laughable - profiling white women! Understand that I don't want anyone profiled or surveilled. I want you instead to see how much white womanhood gets away with.

White womanhood is privilege sweetened with an innocence and fragility that white women--liberal or conservative, Trump-voting or not--are adept at weaponizing. 

Greene was dangerous and vile long before she was elected but because much of her vileness was directed at Muslims, Black people, and Jews, Republicans shrugged and carried on being the craven shits they are, happy to throw their weight behind anyone who brings them votes. 

The especially graphic hate against Muslims along with her reference to Sharia is a reminder that in the U.S. saying Islamophobic shit is not censured but celebrated, and Islamophobia undergirds U.S. political discourse, especially that of Republicans. 

Who but a white candidate for Congress could say this about a marginalized community and still be considered viable?

"If you want Islam and Sharia law, you stay over there in the Middle East," Greene said in video unearthed by Politico in June 2020. "You stay there, and you go to Mecca and do all your thing. And, you know what, you can have a whole bunch of wives, or goats, or sheep, or whatever you want. You stay over there. But in America, see, we’ve made it this great, great country. We don’t want it messed up."

In other videos, she also made anti-Black and anti-Semitic rants. The especially graphic hate against Muslims along with her reference to Sharia is a reminder that in the U.S. saying Islamophobic shit is not censured but celebrated, and Islamophobia undergirds U.S. political discourse, especially that of Republicans. 

It is encouraged from the highest offices of government: according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, since 2010, 201 anti-Sharia law bills have been introduced in 43 states. In 2017 alone, 14 states introduced an anti-Sharia law bill, with Texas and Arkansas enacting the legislation. One of Trump’s first executive orders was the Muslim Ban, which President Joe Biden revoked.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is searched by U.S. Capitol Police on Jan. 12, 2021 after setting off the metal detector outside the doors to the House of Representatives Chamber, a new security measure put into place after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, in Washington. CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES via USA Today

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Greene has been called “a Donald Trump in Heels” and “the female version of Trump.” Republicans who should have done everything to ensure that she never ran for office in the first place, placated concerns about the danger of Congresswoman Greene with facile “I hope that she will grow and learn,” in office and, as they said about Trump, that the weight of her political duties would mature and moderate her. 

That is delusional and enabling. No such maturity or moderation visited white supremacist Steve King who the Republicans finally kicked out after years in Congress. 

It is imperative to recognize that Greene, like Trump, is not aberration. She is from Georgia, where 75 percent of white women voters chose a white man - Brian Kemp - against Stacey Abrams in her campaign for governor in 2018. Southern white women are the nexus of the GOP’s Southern Strategy’s reliance on race, gender, and religion to keep white people in that part of the U.S. resolutely Republican and increasingly right wing. 

White, blonde, Christian women--even the dangerous ideologues--are afforded the privilege of default and the audacity of innocence.

As Angie Maxwell, co-author of The Long Southern Strategy insists, voting patterns must be disaggregated by region and race because when they are, it is clear that white women do not overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Far from it: 78 percent of white women who call themselves southern voted for Trump in 2016,

White supremacist and increasingly evangelical patriarchy has an army of willing white women serving as its footsoldiers in the South.

The danger, always, is that someone as vile as Greene is normalized by the U.S. media. White, blonde, Christian women--even the dangerous ideologues--are afforded the privilege of default and the audacity of innocence.

In a feature on QAnon in October 2020, Elle magazine described her thus: “Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican nominee for Georgia’s 14th congressional district, is like a lot of white women you might encounter in the suburbs. She has long blonde hair and does CrossFit. She wears cute dangly earrings, tasteful blouses and sheath dresses you could get off the rack at Ann Taylor.”

Even as calls for her expulsion from Congress grow, Axios sees fit to create a false equivalence. On January 28, the publication included her among “The Mischief Makers”, who Axios says are “troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.” To compare a white supremacist like Greene to members of the Squad is outrageous and exactly the kind of lazy and ignorant journalism that diminishes the danger of Greene’s ideology and her calls to violence. It demonstrates the minimization of the threat that Greene poses and the asymmetry of her treatment by the media. 

To equivocate between Greene - antifeminist, white supremacist, Christian zealot, Islamophobe, anti-Semite, and conspiracy theorist - and Ilhan Omar and other members of the Squad, against whom Greene has incited violence, is the spineless “both sides“ fuckery that consistently refused and failed to call out Trump’s racism and fascism.

If Marjorie Taylor Greene was a Muslim, she would be have been led away in handcuffs on her way to a waterboarding. Instead, she is a white supremacist terrorist who sits at the heart of U.S. power. 

Fed up as I am with the consistent refusal to take seriously the danger of white women like Marjorie Taylor Greene, I suggest you forget the Bechdel Test and follow my If so-and-so was a Muslim Test, which holds up a mirror to the hypocrisy of U.S. media by cutting through the fuckery that white women are allowed to commit. 

For example:

If Amy Coney Barrett was a Muslim, her zealotry would have been pathologized, not earn her a lifetime post on the highest court in the land.

If the white suburban women who drive the QAnon movement were Muslim, they would have been surveilled and profiled. They certainly would have been visited by the FBI and asked if they knew anyone who celebrated the January 6 insurrection.

If the white women who stormed the Capitol were Muslim, they would have been called “fanatics” and “extremists,” and vilified for the violence they committed, not constantly remembered by loved ones as the best version of themselves.

And if Marjorie Taylor Greene was a Muslim, she would be have been led away in handcuffs on her way to a waterboarding. Instead, she is a white supremacist terrorist who sits at the heart of U.S. power. 

That speaks volumes, America. And the world is listening.

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Mona Eltahawy is a feminist author, commentator and disruptor of patriarchy. Her first book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution (2105) targeted patriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa and her second The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls (2019) took her disruption worldwide. Her commentary has appeared in media around the world and she makes video essays and writes a newsletter as FEMINIST GIANT.  

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