TS EXCLUSIVE! – A Socialist and a Muslim Talk About Islamophobia, Politics, and the KKK: An Interview by Amanda Riggle (Part II)

Editor’s Note: Visitors are invited to read Part I of this EXCLUSIVE TS INTERVIEW.

Amanda: Donald Trump has been quoted as saying the following things. I’d like to get your personal reaction to how each one of these makes you feel, as an American, a veteran, and as a practicing Muslim:

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Randy: Foolish. Foolishness. You’re going to shut down every Muslim entering the United States? And the thing is, his reasoning isn’t even just. Let’s say he does somehow make this happen, he stops a lot of Muslims coming into the United States, what about the American Muslim Citizens and what about the Muslims that have families here? I think he’s speaking out of his ass, quite frankly.

Amanda: “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” And later added that by thousands of people, he meant “thousands of Muslims.”

Randy: Were cheering? False. That doesn’t make any sense. So you’re telling me thousands of Muslims knew about 9/11? Yeah, sorry about that Trump, we forgot to tell you that we decided to get together in New Jersey and – no. It’s, that doesn’t make any sense. No. [Laughs] He’s a real life troll.

Amanda: “I think Islam hates us.”

Randy: Well, Islam can’t hate you because Islam is a religion like, Christianity doesn’t hate me. Judaism doesn’t hate me. And I’ll tell you right now, there’s going to be Muslims that hate Trump but they shouldn’t, I’ll tell you that right now. But no, Islam doesn’t hate anyone. It’s one of the most peaceful and accepting religions, ever. It doesn’t hate anyone. Trump is just ignorant. I can promise you the man hasn’t read a single book about Islam or listened to a single scholar.

Amanda: Not to be unfair, here’s some of Hillary’s history in the Middle East as secretary of state under the Obama administration. She’s been more careful about her rhetoric than Trump has (excerpts from CommonDreams.Org):

“In her previous role as secretary of state and U.S. senator, Clinton consistently advocated for disastrous U.S. military aggression against Muslim majority nations, from Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to Iraq. In addition, Clinton has made her “unbreakable bond” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—an enforcer of apartheid policies towards Palestinians—a centerpiece of her 2016 presidential campaign.”

Randy: Well, obviously she doesn’t care about Palestinians. She doesn’t care about the Muslims. I think one thing politicians, in general, are good at hyping themselves up and then when it’s time to live up to the hype, they’re nowhere to be found. There’s nothing there. The thing is that the U.S. has always had a relationship with Israel for quite some time now, but I think that, as far as Hillary Clinton goes – I don’t know too much about Hillary. I’m not going to sit here and lie, but from what I do know is that she likes to try to pull the Muslim card when it’s good for her. You can’t say you’re an advocate for Muslims if you’re in a close relationship with the Prime Minister of Israel, who’s obviously committing war crimes, getting U.S. help, and things like this. A lot of people don’t know this, but a lot of America’s weapons come out of Israel.

Amanda: How do you feel about this quote from Malcolm X, “You can’t have capitalism without racism?”

Randy: Very true. Because capitalism segregates. Capitalism is racist, and not always by color, though. Capitalism is a systematic form of oppression, and that’s the thing with racism. Racism can be on an individual level, but at the end of the day, you need a system to be racist. You need a system that is designed against every group of people, maybe not because of their color alone, it could be something else. It is designed to keep people down. And Malcolm is very true in that regard. Capitalism does not exist without racism.

Amanda: Do you think capitalism, by extension, contributes to Islamophobia because it is separating and segregating?

Randy: I’m not too sure about that, because I think that there’s a lot of Muslims out there that are very wealthy that don’t struggle with economic issues. Capitalism is involved in keeping Muslim countries down as far as oil production goes and in Afghanistan the minerals and natural resources and things that these countries hold. It’s relevant in that.

Amanda: Why were you at the park the day of the KKK rally?

Randy: The reason I went there that day was not to cause mayhem, was not to incite violence, and not to hurt anyone. I was there to show a presence against the KKK and to show that there are many people that aren’t afraid of them anymore. This isn’t the 60’s, this isn’t the 50’s where you could just do these things.

The KKK, they are a hate group. And the problem is that the U.S. doesn’t recognize them as a hate group, but they recognize the Black Panthers as a hate group. I don’t understand how you don’t recognize a group that has not only terrorized black people, but of people in color, in general, since its origins. And how the U.S. recognizes the Black Panthers, a group that fed children and formed to protect people, a job the police weren’t doing, as a terrorist group.

And, personally, I went out there because I wanted to laugh. I thought they were going to show up in their white hoods and they were going to have horses and burning crosses. This is what I pictured the KKK as – what history books show them as. But they showed up in their black outfits and strange looking badges. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t show up in their white hoods. The thing is that these days, they try to show themselves off as a political group.

Amanda: As white rights?

Randy: As White Lives Matter. And the thing is, nobody ever said that white lives didn’t matter. No one ever said that. All we ever said was that black lives matter. It’s not only black lives matter. It’s don’t forget that black lives matter as well. And they said they came out there to represent white lives matter. In American history, it’s very prominent that white lives matter. The world knows that white lives matter. We all know that white lives matter.

But what happened that day, happened very fast. I still hold to the fact that I, personally, didn’t hurt anybody. I think that one thing people have to understand is, if you teach hate, if you preach hate, if you live off hate, if your origins are hate, you will produce hate at the end of the day. And I’m not saying what happened out there was right, but what I’m saying is that it’s natural for people to be angry at these groups. If you go and preach a message of peace and say that we need to get along, you are going to get met with peace. But if you go out and say only white lives matter and Jews are this and Muslims are that and Christians are this and blacks are this and all the Mexicans are hogging up all the jobs, people are going to get mad! Like, what are you talking about?

Amanda: What was the rhetoric of the KKK that day?

Randy: Their rhetoric was the same thing they’ve been saying for years now. They’re a racist group, and as a racist group, they have racist slogans. Their signs were anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-black, etc. And there’s nothing wrong with being pro-white, or pro-Mexican, or pro-Brazilian, pro-black, pro-anything. But when you’re anti-something, that’s when the problem begins. I think people have this whole idea that they have the right to the freedom of speech, but there are exceptions and the problem is that sometimes these exceptions don’t get enforced.

Amanda: There were three stabbings and thirteen arrests that day.

Randy: Yes.

Amanda: Who was stabbed and who was arrested?

Randy: None of the KKK members were stabbed, but they were arrested. They claimed a couple of bodily injuries. I think one of them fell and was kicked. But, I think only one person went to the hospital that day and they were stabbed by a KKK member. So thirteen people, including the KKK members, were arrested that day and the three people were stabbed were out there protesting against the KKK by KKK members, and I was almost stabbed myself. That’s the infamous picture of me snatching the flagpole. The KKK member tried to stab me with the flagpole.

Amanda: Is there anything else about that day that you want to share? What are you being charged with?

Randy: I’ve been charged with assault and battery, two misdemeanors of assault and battery. I’m facing up to a max punishment of a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine, I believe. It’s my first offense. I’ve never been arrested before. I don’t have a record. I remember when I called my mother, about the incident, I told her that, you know, this isn’t me. I’m not a bad person. She said she knew. I’m not a bad person. I’m not someone that goes around looking for trouble. I’m not a violent person. If someone points a flagpole at you with a sharpened top, you’re going to react. The KKK really tries to play the victim, but where’s the justice for all the victims of the KKK? They stabbed three people that day.

Amanda: And there’s no charges against the KKK?

Randy: There’s no charges against any of them. The thing is, at the end of the day, I have my faith in Allah and I have my faith that if I have to go to jail, then Allah has decreed it for me to go to jail. I can’t do anything against that decree, but at the same time, I want to avoid jail. I don’t think anybody wants to go to jail.


Amanda Riggle

Amanda graduated with her BA in English Education, is finishing her MA in English Literature, and is entering into an English PhD program fall 2018. She studies Early Modern English Drama, Marxism, and Feminism. She is an editorial board member of The Socialist, one of the co-founders of the Inland Empire chapter of the Socialist Party USA, co-chair of the Socialist Party of California, and a member of the Socialist Party USA's National Committee.

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