A little after nine this morning, Tarek Fatah, a Toronto columnist and radio host who has parlayed his own Islamic faith into a cottage industry getting away with saying appallingly racist things about Arabs and Muslims, took a shot at U.S. rapper Talib Kweli on Twitter.
It was the type of trolling Fatah is known for, interjecting himself into a conversation about Islam and using his own adherence to the religion to take pot shots at its followers. But the heated exchange that followed, and led Kweli to accuse Fatah of racism and white supremacy, is not something you see every day.
Kweli is a legendary rapper, but he’s become better known for his social conscience in recent years, raising $100,000 to help Ferguson protesters cover legal bills, and joining an anti-TPP concert tour this summer. Although Kweli is not Muslim, he often challenges how Muslims are portrayed, stereotyped and subjected to racist abuse on Twitter.
@TarekFatah seems like Muslims don't rock with you son.— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) August 22, 2016
He soon responded to Fatah’s trolling, and from there the whole thing quickly descended into a farce, at least on the part of Fatah, who unleashed a series of tweets that Kweli and others described as “racist” and “white supremacist,” starting with a tweet that called Kweli “boy.”
Muslims like u @TalebKweli who kiss Saudi ass with reverance & look up to their 'masters' don't rock with me, boy. https://t.co/ZEW4ufmb2l— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
There's no history of racial violence attached to "son." It's a term of endearment. Boy on the other hand... https://t.co/zZyemUmAsx— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) August 22, 2016
U better get it @TalibKweli: U don't ever call me "son". Understand? Now go read up on Darfur Genocide of Muslim Blacks while u minted cash.— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
Fatah soon descended into hurling invectives with clear racial overtones.
U can't get the goon out of the boy no matter how much bling he stuffs on his face or pockets. Go, yr Arab beckons. https://t.co/DYXR9Ht1QT— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
Slap that 'racist' label on bleeding heart, guilt-ridden White liberals, but spare me that drivel gangsta. Fuck off. https://t.co/VND232Wvrp— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
What else is a man who wears gold chain around neck, threatens ppl, boasts of having sons 4m women he doesn't know? https://t.co/FWre271f9x— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
Just ran into new type of Muslim tough guy--Black converts rapping 4 jihadi masters. Bling gangsta ran outta arguments so called me his son.— (((Tarek Fatah))) (@TarekFatah) August 22, 2016
This went on for hours. Then Kweli tweeted an excerpt from an opinion piece published by Ricochet in 2014 by two Afghan-Canadian women who had been branded “Taliban supporters,” “Jihadists” and “Islamists” by Fatah. The women sued, and Fatah’s employers at Sun Media settled out of court, releasing a statement acknowledging factual errors in the reporting. That statement concluded, “You have represented to us that neither of you are Taliban supporters, Islamists or Jihadis, and we accept your word on this.”
Fatah did not answer questions about that case, and soon after moved on to other topics.
The responses to Kweli’s tweets were also littered with racism, which Kweli attributed to Fatah’s tacit encouragement.
@TalibKweli What a faggot. This delusional spook thinks racists are worse than Islamists. Racists are reactionary to Islamist intolerance.— Enzo (@MK_Matrix) August 22, 2016
The last word goes to Bina Shah: