Elon Musk endorses old video of UAE FM warning West against Islamism

Elon Musk endorses old video of UAE FM warning West against Islamism
Billionaire Elon Musk has been slammed for reposting a 2019 video of Abdullah bin Zayed warning about Islamist "extremism" and "terrorism" coming out of Europe
3 min read
29 April, 2024
Elon Musk appeared to endorse an old video of the UAE’s foreign minister warning about 'extremism' among Muslims in Europe [Getty]

Elon Musk appeared to endorse an old video of the UAE’s foreign minister warning about the rise in extremism among Muslims in Europe.

The billionaire owner of social media platform X and the CEO of Tesla reshared the video, adding the comment "he knows what he’s talking about".

The video, which is dated April 2019, features Abdullah Bin Zayed and was posted by the right-wing, disinformaiton-prone Polish Visegrad24 news outlet.

"There will come a day where we will see far more radical extremists and terrorists coming out of Europe, because of a lack of decision making," the minister says in the video.

He adds that this will happen because of people "assuming they know the Middle East and Islam".

The minister then denounces this as "pure ignorance".

The UAE government is known for its strong opposition to political Islam, going to extreme lengths over the past decades to fight it across the Arab world, often by backing violent crackdowns and civil wars.

Musk’s praise for the video and the ministers’ comments has garnered widespread reactions from journalists, activists, and political commentators.

Anas Altikriti, founder of the UK-based Cordoba Foundation which says its mission is to “bridge the gap of understanding between the Muslim world and the West,” denounced the video and criticised Musk’s remarks as "absurd" adding that the comments "paint quite a murky and troubling picture".

He added that blaming mosques, Muslim organisations and community outreach projects where Muslim citizens of European countries engage politically or otherwise has been used as a "convenient target by European countries and governments who fail to sort out their own mess".

"Abdullah bin Zayed made the comment several years ago because authoritarian regimes such as the UAE know they can quell crackdowns on freedoms, rights and expression within their own dominion and reach, but they can’t do the same when it comes to Europe," he told The New Arab.

Live Story

"The way to quell any kind of attempt to expose the brutal and draconian regimes that rule over the UAE or most Arab countries, particularly the oil rich countries is to try to demonise them, and what best to use in terms of phrases then to call them terrorists and to allude to mosques and Muslim organisations," he added.

He also said that right-leaning commentators are likely to applaud and congratulate bin Zayed for his old comments "because it feeds into the right wing Islamophobic trends that run wild throughout European societies today as a result of failures of European governments on virtually every level".

Others were also critical of the video.

"I don’t think the people helping maintain the civil war in Sudan, who’ve sold out their own people to the West, and who support Zionist terrorism, are the people to be lecturing the world about extremism," a social media user responded, referring to the UAE's alleged support for Sudan's RSF militia and its controversial normalisation of ties with Israel.

"This video has been viewed more than a hundred million times and has been used by extremist and Zionist organisations," Nezam Mahdawi, a US based news correspondent said.

"When the talk that distorts Islam and Muslims comes from an Arab and a Muslim, it becomes an argument for all those who hate Islam, Arabs and Zionists as it reinforces their narrative," he added.

Live Story

There was however, support for Musk and the sentiment shared in the video from some social media users.

"The West should’ve listened to him," one responded.