By Umar Farooq
The owner of a Major League Baseball team faced criticism Tuesday after emails were leaked in which he said Muslims are the enemy and Islam is a cult.
Obtained and published by Splinter News, chains of emails revealed Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, 77, peddled Islamophobic rhetoric while also pushing conspiracies that former President Barack Obama is a Muslim and laughing at racially charged jokes.
"Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society. As you know, Islam cannot do that. Therefore we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society," Rickett said in an email sent in 2012. "Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims."
"I think Islam is a cult and not a religion. Christianity and Judaism are based on love whereas Islam is based on 'kill the infidel' a thing of evil," the businessman said in an email to his son, Pete, who is the current governor of Nebraska.
Ricketts forwarded another email which alleged Obama was actually a Muslim, and he had in his past worked as a drug mule to haul heroine to America.
Ricketts grew up in Nebraska, and made his fortune founding the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, which currently boasts client assets totaling nearly $1.3 trillion.
The Ricketts family went on to purchase a 95 percent stake in the Chicago Cubs for $700 million in 2009.
They also have a prominent name in conservative politics, with Ricketts' other son, Todd, being named finance chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign.
After the emails were leaked, the elder Ricketts released a statement apologizing.
"I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails. Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don't reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong," he said.
Islamophobic rhetoric has been pushed by influential Americans in recent years, and anti-Muslim hate crimes have been on the rise over the past few years.
Last year, Rep. Steve King of Iowa came under scrutiny after he said in an interview he did not want Muslims working in meat-packing facilities.
According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2017, attacks against Muslims in the U.S. in the last few years have surpassed levels reached in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.