IMPACT: Laura Loomer is an American far-right activist who has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, PayPal, and other technology platforms for sharing hate speech targeting Muslims. She has described Islam as a “cancer on society,” and has promoted inflammatory and prejudicial conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims. Loomer is currently running for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 21st District.
In September 2014, while a student at Barry University in southern Florida, Laura Loomer alerted the far-right politics blog Gateway Pundit to the presence of an imam at a 9/11 commemoration event on the university’s campus. When questioned about her motivations, Loomer said, “We live in a Judeo-Christian country, and they let the imam open up the ceremony… He was literally chanting ‘Allahu Akbar.’ That’s not cool, because that’s what the terrorists were chanting.”
Following graduation, Loomer began working for Project Veritas, a far-right investigative media outlet that publishes undercover video and audio recordings. Project Veritas has been described as a “discredited rightwing attack organization” known for “outlandish, selectively edited undercover videos.” The project’s founder, James O’Keefe, has likewise been criticized as a “right-wing fraudster.” In a Project Veritas video published in November 2016, Loomer appears dressed in a black abaya and hijab and attempts to vote as former Hillary Clinton staffer Huma Abedin. The video is interspersed with separate footage of Loomer speaking with Alan Shulkin, Commissioner of the Board of Elections in New York City. In that footage, Shulkin and Loomer discuss how they think “Muslims can use burqas as a way to commit political fraud.” Shulkin also states that “[Muslims] detonate bombs in public schools, which we are using. That could disrupt the whole election.”
After the New York City truck bombing in November 2017 that killed eight and wounded dozens, Loomer published a series of anti-Muslim tweets. Loomer described herself as a “proud Islamophobe,” described Muslims as s*vages who “ruin everything,” and asked a Muslim journalist wearing hijab to “disavow” the attack. Loomer referred to Islam as “cancer” and stated, “We should never let another Muslim into the civilized world.” She also used the hashtag “#BanIslam” and proclaimed, “There’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. They’re ALL the same.” She further tweeted, “Someone needs to create a non-Islamic version of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver.” Loomer was consequently banned from both Uber and Lyft for breaking both platforms’ community guidelines regarding discrimination on the basis of religion.
After leaving Project Veritas in June 2017, Loomer joined Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian media organization with a history of targeting Muslims. Broadcasting from New York for the “March Against Sharia,” an anti-Sharia march organized by anti-Muslim ACT for America in 20 cities throughout the U.S. in June 2017, Loomer exclaimed that there is “no such thing as an Islamic feminist” and placed a niqab on the Fearless Girl statue in the city’s financial district. In another video for Rebel Media at the same anti-Sharia march, Loomer stated, “Sharia law is our enemy, and not just members of ISIS are practicing Sharia law.” Loomer proceeded to reference a study published by the anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy (CSP) that claims 51% of American Muslims want Sharia to be established in the United States. Loomer also argued with queer antifascist protestors about “what they do to queers in those Islamic countries,” interspersed with graphic videos of what appears to be Daesh murdering gay Muslims. During the video, video text references the growth of an “Islamic fifth column” in the United States, a conspiracy theory applied in this instance to Muslims as “a devious enemy secretly undermining the very nation in which they live.” Loomer’s references to the “fifth column” mirrors similar language used by the CSP.
From November 2018 to April 2019, Loomer serially targeted U.S. Member of Congress Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a Somali American Muslim woman, on social media and in-person. In November 2018, Loomer was banned permanently from Twitter after publishing tweets alleging that Rep. Omar was “anti-Jewish” and “pro-Sharia.” In August 2018, Loomer confronted Representatives Omar and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a Palestinian American Muslim woman, at a campaign event, stating, “She [Tlaib] needs to decide whether she’s an American or a Muslim first. Is she a Palestinian or is she an American first?” In April 2019, Loomer published an Instagram post accusing Omar of “only pushing for another 9/11” and cautioned her followers to fight against Omar to “prevent the establishment of a caliphate.” In a separate Instagram story published the same month, Loomer stated, “I just have to say that I truly hate Ilhan Omar.” During the course of the video, Loomer went on to describe Islam as a “cancer on society” and argued, “Muslims should not even be allowed to seek positions of political office in this country.” After numerous videos published by Loomer attracted controversy for violating Instagram and Facebook’s rules on dangerous individuals and the propagation of hate speech, Instagram and Facebook permanently banned Loomer in May 2019.
Loomer has ties with other far-right, anti-Muslim, and white nationalist activists. In a video published on Tarek Fatah’s Toronto Sun column in October 2018, Loomer joined an anti-Sharia protest with white nationalist Canadian political activist and failed Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy. Goldy is a self-described “Christian nationalist” who in 2017 publicly recited the 14 Words white supremacist slogan. Loomer has previously served as a writer for anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Geller Report. In February 2019, Loomer was banned from PayPal over her connections to The United West (TUW), a group whose stated mission is “defending and advancing Western Civilization against the kinetic and cultural onslaught of Shariah Islam.” Loomer has also solicited personal donations to a P.O. box address identical to that of TUW.
In August 2019, Loomer announced a 2020 U.S. congressional bid for a seat in Florida’s 21st District. In her “Make American Safe Again” campaign video, Loomer singled out Muslim members of Congress Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib, pledging to “expose, confront, and combat the anti-American radicals who are trying to make the blaming and hatred of America the norm.” Loomer additionally accused Rep. Omar of “support[ing] terrorists who want to kill Americans.” Although the race is currently in its early stages, as of October 2019, Loomer has raised more than $154,000 during the first two months of her campaign, $50,000 more than her Democratic challenger, Rep. Lois Frankel. As of October 2019, Loomer has been endorsed by anti-Muslim U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and Michelle Malkin. Malkin is a far-right columnist who has advocated the racial profiling and internment of Muslims for national security.
In March 2019, Loomer was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for attempting to approach reporters from The Daily Beast, CNN, and the Huffington Post to challenge their coverage of her deplatforming from social media sites and her representation as an anti-Muslim bigot in the American media. After being banned from CPAC, Loomer was interviewed by white nationalist Faith Goldy, where the two spoke about their shared past of “busting up…Jihadi conferences” in Toronto.
Loomer is a supporter of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. In January 2019, Loomer protested Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to the border wall by setting up an “illegal immigrant sanctuary” on the front lawn of Pelosi’s home in California, which Loomer referred to as “Casa de Nancy.” According to The Daily Beast, Loomer “tricked three men she described as undocumented immigrants into joining her, setting them up for an inevitable confrontation with police.” When the police did not arrest the men, one of Loomer’s associates yelled, “Catch and release.” Also in January 2019, Loomer was arrested for trespassing onto the front lawn of California Governor Gavin Newsom, dressed in a stereotypical Indigenous-Mexican poncho and sombrero. She described the stunt as a “fiesta” and stated that Governor Newsom “cares more about illegals than Americans.” On her website, Loomer and her staff have published multiple articles on against U.S. immigration, including coverage of her racist stunts at Rep. Pelosi’s home, and coverage of Fox News host Tucker Carlson describing Rep. Ilhan Omar on his show as “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
Updated October 30, 2019