What are Muslim prayer rugs?

file-20190124-196228-1sikc3ySource: The Conversation

In a recent tweet, President Trump stated that ranchers have been finding prayer rugs scattered along the U.S.-Mexico border. Late last year, he tweeted that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” were mixed in with the caravan heading to the U.S.

My research indicates that Islamophobia often targets visible signs of Muslimness, such as modest clothing like headscarves, as well as prayer rituals and mosques. This time it is the prayer rug.

These fearmongering tweets bear an uncanny resemblance to a 2018 action film, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Its trailer shows a scene of a Muslim man praying and a row of prayer rugs at the border. In the movie, U.S. officials who find the rugs use them as “evidence” that Muslims are entering the U.S. illegally in order to expand the jurisdiction of the war on terror.

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