Muslim U.S. Veteran Falsely Linked to ISIS

Saadiq Long
Saadiq Long

Over at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald writes about Saadiq Long, an American military veteran, who was egregiously reported to be linked with ISIS:

A RIGHT-WING BLOG called “Pajamas Media” published an article on November 24 claiming that Saadiq Long, a Muslim American veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was arrested in Turkey for being an ISIS operative. Written by Patrick Poole, aprofessional anti-Muslim activist and close associate of Frank Gaffney, the article asserted that Long “finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison — arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell.” Its only claimed sources were anonymous: “U.S. and Turkish officials confirmed Long’s arrest to PJ Media, saying that he was arrested along with eight others operating along the Turkish-Syrian border. So far, no U.S. media outlet has reported on his arrest.”


Long’s purported arrest as an ISIS operative was then widely cited across the internet by Fox News as well as right-wing and even non-ideological news sites. Predictably, the story was uncritically hailed by the most virulent anti-Muslim polemicists: Pam GellerRobert Spencer, Ann Coulter, and Sam Harris. Worst of all, it was blasted as a major news story by network TV affiliates and other local media outlets in Oklahoma, where Long is from and where his family — including his sister and ailing mother — still reside.

But the story is entirely false: a fabrication. Neither Long nor his wife or daughter have been arrested on charges that he joined ISIS. He faces no criminal charges of any kind in Turkey.

Instead, he and his family are being detained at the Geri Gonderme Merkezi deportation center in Erzurum, Turkey, evidently because he was placed years ago by the U.S. on its no-fly list. And the U.S. Embassy in Ankara has been working continually with Long’s family to secure his release, and, if he chooses, his return to the U.S.

I suppose we can blame Donald Trump for this heightened sense of scrutiny on members of the Muslim community. And, of course, the actions of Sayed Farook and his wife in San Bernadino didn’t help to calm the fears of the perpetually color-aroused American of a certain racial persuasion and political affiliation.

However, when you believe in your heart of hearts that Barack Obama is himself a Kenyan-born Muslim, as enough people do. It’s easy to feed the frenzy by throwing any journalistic integrity to the side to report such an egregious story solely for the sake of page hit and online traffic. You know, you gotta get that ad revenue, son.