We’ll give this to him: David Barton is one of the most prolific propaganda artists around. If he’s not torturing facts himself, the religious right’s favorite phony historian is often promoting someone else who does.
We were reminded of this again after seeing one of the guests Barton has scheduled this week for his web/radio program WallBuilders Live. He’ll be talking to Kamal Saleem in a segment titled “From Terrorism to Truth in Christ.”
As we told you in a post last year, Saleem is a Lebanese-American and self-proclaimed Islamic-terrorist-turned-Christian. He claims to have known or worked with so many Middle Eastern bigwigs — like Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi — that a skeptical Kansas City Star columnist once referred to him as the “Forrest Gump of the Middle East.” Mother Jones magazine has also written about the many holes in Saleem’s claims to have been a radical Islamic terrorist who came to America to blow us all up but then discovered Jesus.
Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan has described Saleem as one of “trio of self-proclaimed ex-terrorists … making the rounds of the lecture circuit, charging thousands of dollars for their fantastical tales of life as murderous Muslim extremists.” Aslan explained how scholars and terrorism experts have discredited many of the claims made by Saleem and his anti-Muslim trio:
“(T)hese guys are not ex-terrorists at all but—wait for it—fundamentalist Christians posing as ex-terrorists. Their fervently anti-Islamic message, in which all Muslims are labeled as radicals, is a prelude to a testimony about how accepting Jesus into their hearts and becoming born again saved them from a life of terrorism.”
Sometimes we wonder whether Barton drinks his own Kool-Aid or just hopes his audience does.