ADL Says OK Sign Is Nazi, Mum About ISIS One-Finger Salute

Were they drunk? I began my last article that way, but that one involved Captain Morgan rum. That is, however, rapidly becoming an all-purpose question regarding the American Left today. In the latest absurdity from the daily more ridiculous Left, as Jim Treacher noted at PJ Media Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League has classified the OK sign as a racist hate symbol. They did not, however, classify the Islamic State (ISIS) one-finger salute as a hate symbol.

This is achingly, howlingly, hair-pullingly, wrist-slittingly ludicrous on both counts. Only one of these hand signals has ever been associated with hatred, and it isn’t the one the ADL put on its list. At the same time, millions of people have made both signs -- millions of people, who are not racist or hateful, or members of ISIS. There are millions of people who have made the OK sign, including many whom the ADL would never dare call racist, including Nancy Pelosi and, as Jim Treacher noted, Barack Obama.

How stupid, totalitarian, vicious, and absurd is the ADL’s classification of the OK sign as a hate symbol? We can answer that by considering its failure to add the ISIS salute to its list. Consider this: in the photo accompanying this article, Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, the principal of Maspeth High School in New York, is receiving a plaque; his school was named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. As he gets the plaque, he is clearly making the sign of allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), the upraised index finger, isn’t he?

Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, right, receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence of behalf of Maspeth High School.(Department of Education)

Needless to say, if I or anyone else were actually to claim that, the condemnations would rush in as quickly as Democrats to impeachment hearings. “Spencer, you racist, bigoted Islamophobe,” I’d be told. “Millions of people make that sign every day. It means ‘We’re Number One.’ That’s all Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir means. Just because he is a Muslim and raises one index finger doesn’t mean he is ISIS, you benighted, evil rabble-rouser.”

Of course. But if the ADL were consistent, it would classify the one-finger salute as a hate symbol, based on the use of it by the Islamic State. This signal has been known to be a sign of allegiance to the Islamic State for almost as long as there has been an Islamic State. It has been described as the group’s “ubiquitous hand signal.” If it were consistent, the ADL would expect Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir to know this and to care, and would brush aside his likely explanation that he was just saying his school was “number one.” It would excoriate him as energetically as it would a high school principal who made the Nazi stiff-arm salute and then claimed he was only making an ancient Roman salute.

If Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir were a non-Muslim, conservative, Trump-supporting school principal who made the OK sign as his school received the National Blue Ribbon School designation (which it probably wouldn’t get anyway, if he were known as a supporter of the president), would the ADL cut him any slack or would it smear him as a white supremacist? What do you think?

The ADL is not consistent. It classifies the OK sign as a racist symbol because it wants to smear conservatives who use it as white supremacists. Leftists who use it will be ignored. And it wouldn’t dream of classifying the upraised index finger as a hate symbol, because that would require it to charge some Muslims with allegiance to ISIS, including some who were entirely innocent. Nor would that classification fit the ADL’s narrative, that Muslims in the U.S. are wholly and solely innocent victims of “Islamophobia,” and that jihad terrorism is not nearly the terror threat that white supremacism is.

This entire episode is yet another illustration of how arbitrary, politically motivated and defamatory the “hate group” classifications of the ADL and its friend and ally, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), really are. No one should take them seriously. But instead of laughing them out of the room, Democrats in the House of Representatives are working to weaponize them against conservative groups, using the IRS as their hatchet men. Are they drunk?

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.