A Tennessee newspaper is under fire after running an ad by a radical Christian group that claims to hold evidence that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear bomb” over the city of Nashville.
Rabat – A major newspaper in the US state of Tennessee, the Tennessean, is launching an investigation into its own affairs after publishing an anti-Islam advertisement in both its online portal and print paper. The advertisement warned that Islam would soon detonate a nuclear bomb over the city of Nashville.
“Dear Citizen of Nashville, We are under conviction to not only tell you but to provide evidence that on July 18, 2020, Islam is going to detonate a nuclear bomb over Nashville, Tennesse,” the full-page advertisement published on June 21 began.
Complete with a photo of US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, the ad went on to claim that according to Bible prophecies, Trump is “the final President of the USA.” It also touted that Islam’s “role (Genesis 16:12) is to bring all men on the planet together to combat them.”
“Islam is the issue that pushes the world into a one-world government as the world attempts to address the escalating warfare brought by the Islamic religion. That war, which is the Third World War, begins in earnest when Islam strikes the US again, as on 9/11, but now with a nuclear weapon on July 18, 2020.”
On June 17 the paper published another ad that spouted similar claims about an impending attack, but did not mention Islam.
The Ministry of Future for America, a radical Christian organization, paid for the ads. On the association’s website, the group writes that their mission is to “proclaim the final warning message of Revelation 14 as identified by the prophecies of the Bible and the Spirit of the Prophecy.” It concludes its “About” section by stating, “We are the final generation” and linking viewers to a YouTube account with over 3,000 subscribers and nearly 300,000 views. embed tweet:
This morning, the Nashville @Tennessean — the largest newspaper in the state — published a full-page ad from a far-right client warning “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.” It’s accompanied by photos of Donald Trump and Pope Francis. pic.twitter.com/9vvUbteSIh
— Alex Martin Smith (@asmiff) June 21, 2020
The Tennessean’s leadership team and reporters denounce the ad, local community members say the damage is done
“Clearly there was a breakdown in the normal processes, which call for careful scrutiny of our advertising content,” said the Tennessean’s vice-president and editor, Michael Anastasi.
“The ad is horrific and is utterly indefensible in all circumstances. It is wrong, period, and should have never been published.”
Anastasi went on to express his disapproval of the ad and acknowledge the hurt that it caused members of the community and the paper’s own employees.
“It is inconsistent with everything the Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for.”
The newspaper has since pulled the ad from future editions of the paper saying that it violates the paper’s own editorial standards banning hate speech. The Tennessean has not released a statement revealing how much Future for America paid for the advertisements.
Meanwhile, Jeff Pippenger from the Ministry of Future for America told the New York Times, “I stand by all the content in the ad.” Pippenger said that the association expected a full refund from the Tennessean.
A number of reporters at the Tennessean took to Twitter to criticize the ad. Erik Bacharch, an American football beat reporter, wrote, “This is so severely irresponsible. I’ve got no idea how something like this gets approved — I have no inkling into the advertising process — but it’s absolutely unacceptable. My colleagues and I are seeking answers.”
Sabina Mohyuddin, executive director of the Tennessee-based American Muslim Advisory Council, expressed concern that the ad would promote acts of violence and encourage the already present anti-Islamic bullying and discrimination faced by the Muslim community in Tennessee.
“So when things like this come out, we live in greater fear. You’re talking about a nuclear attack,” she said. “You can apologize. You can pull the ad, but once this idea is in people’s minds and it falls further into their stereotypes, this just confirms their stereotypes. So, we can push back. They can remove the ad, but the harm to our community is already done. It’s hard to accept this happened, and it’s the second time this ad has run.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) shared a statement that urged the Tennessean to go beyond its investigation and “implement updated policies and training to ensure that this type of hate incident does not occur in the future.” The organization offered to facilitate the suggested training.