Did Muslims recently claim that the national anthem is "oppressive" and a "forced assimilation" process? No, that's not true: The controversy stems from an old speech delivered by a spokesman for a pro-Islamic group. He spoke in Sydney, Australia, and was referring to the Australian national anthem.
The claim appeared as a headline (archived here), published by Washingtonetime.wixsite.com/post on June 12, 2020. It read:
BREAKING: Muslims claim that the national anthem is' oppressive' and a' forced assimilation ' process
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jul 20 18:00:32 2020 UTC)
The headline appeared alongside a stylized image of a group of men standing in front of what looks to be the Australian flag. There was no article to accompany it.
Many people who reacted to the post on Facebook clearly thought it was referencing the national anthem of the United States. Here's what some of them wrote:
These Muslims. Assuming they came into America legally. Are forgetting their oath. They must assimilate to American culture. If they want Muslim culture go back to where they came from. I'm sure they will accept them with open arms."
Leave America and you wont have to hear it. "it was Our Song" before you came here."
It's time we AMERICANS stop bowing to everyone else and stand up for OUR rights"
However, the headline was in reference to the national anthem of Australia. It stems from a November 2015 speech delivered by Uthman Badar, a spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir, a controversial pro-Islamic group. He spoke at a conference in Sydney, Australia.
In his speech, Badar said this, regarding the Australian national anthem:
This imposition of values is manifest in matters such as the insistence ... of senior government ministers that Muslim children sing the national anthem -- an anthem which reflects a particular, disputed view of history and celebrates particular ideological values ... If one does not agree with that view of history, or with those values that are being celebrated, why should they be forced to sing it?
Later, he added:
De-radicalization has come to mean making Muslims less Islamic, more Western, more secular, more submissive to secular, liberal political norms. It is nothing more than an agenda of forced assimilation, justified by exaggerated fears of a security threat.
You can watch his speech here:
This is not the first time that Badar's speech has been taken out of context and shared on social media. Similar stories appeared in 2017. PolitiFact, a fact-checking group run by the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, debunked those previous stories.