What is Bare Naked Islam?
Bare Naked Islam is an anti-Muslim Internet blog and online community that portrays Islam as “a totalitarian political cult-like ideology.” In 2014, The Progressive Magazine reported that Bare Naked Islam had received 51 million hits since its inception in 2008.
Bannered with the line “It isn’t Islamophobia / When they really are trying to kill you,” the blog Bare Naked Islam is run by New York-based ‘Bonni’ Benstock-Intall. It regularly features discussions to encourage violence against Muslims. In Bonni’s own words, the administrator “called for the banning of Islam and the closing of all mosques in the US.”
Bare Naked Islam publishes posts with the explicit intention of promoting anti-Muslim sentiment across the digital landscape. The blog has featured threats of violence targeting mosques, including comments like: “I want [Muslim] blood on my hands” and “Ban all mosques, blow up those that exist.”
Other posts propagated hateful messages concerning the plight of Afghan refugees worldwide. Bloggers on the website have spread false narratives as an attempt to shed suspicion on the integrity and character of innocent refugees, including alleging that “Afghans stand out among all Muslim refugees for committing the largest number of sexual assaults and rapes.”
In the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosques massacre in New Zealand, the community on Bare Naked Islam celebrated the shooter for carrying out the murders and called for more violent acts to follow. Some comments posted on Bare Naked Islam included: “A wonderful day in New Zealand today!” and “The Religion of perversion and hate is getting some payback for a change..I will sleep well tonight ..F*** Islam and its perverted followets.”
Numerous online hosting platforms have cut ties with Bare Naked Islam due to the blog’s proliferation of anti-Muslim hate. In 2017, PayPal suspended the site’s account. While not specifying the specific reason, PayPal affirmed to BuzzFeed News that the payment service did not “allow [its] services to be used for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance.”
In 2011, WordPress removed the blog from its hosting services for violating its content policy. WordPress said that “threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities” were found on articles and comments posted on “Bare Naked Islam” that urged attacks on and desecration of American and European mosques. WordPress denied allegations from Bare Naked Islam that CAIR was involved in the suspension of the blog on its platform, stating: “WordPress.com does not suspend blogs at the request of individuals or organizations, only for violations of our Terms of Service.”
Bare Naked Islam uses X (formerly known as Twitter) to spread its anti-Muslim hate. As of August 2023, the account has more than 16,000 followers.
Bare Naked Islam is popular on social media platforms that host right-wing extremist networks and white nationalist communities. The blog maintains a strong presence on Gab, a social media platform known for its far-right userbase, ranking as the fifth most shared link on Gab after YouTube, Twitter, JihadWatch, and Breitbart in 2019.
A group of Austrian academic researchers found that Bare Naked Islam shared a large online following with other far-right platforms, including Breitbart.com. In addition, the researchers found that posts from Bare Naked Islam were widely circulated on UK Islamophobic blogs and right-wing populist media.
In 2014, Bare Naked Islam collaborated with Florida Family Association and created an online form for Internet users to contact and boycott Home Depot after the company participated in cultural awareness training. Home Depot was encouraged in the training to adopt procedures aimed at better serving Muslim employees and customers, such as allowing Muslims two calendar days off work to celebrate Eid.
David Caton of Florida Family Association credited ‘Bonni’ from Bare Naked Islam for their support to get national companies to pull ads from TLC’s “All American Muslim” program in 2011. FFA’s campaign to have more companies pull their ads from “All American Muslim” would ultimately fail.
In 2013, Geoffrey Ryan, one of Bare Naked Islam’s commentators posting under the pseudonym ‘trinovante’, was arrested for launching “a smoke grenade into a mosque and threatened to kill Muslims.” Ryan shouted at the only Muslim occupant at the mosque: “I am here to kill you.”
Benstock-Intall called the arrest “very sad news” and expressed support for the attacker. In the post, which was later deleted, Intall wrote, “Feel free to post messages to him here and I will forward them. We do not condone this act of violence but we support the courageous counterjihad efforts of the EDL, Geoff Ryan and all the defenders of freedom against Islamization.”
In 2013, threats made on Bare Naked Islam against Muslims participants taking part in “Texas Muslim Capitol Day” in Austin prompted local law enforcement authorities to heighten its security presence at the event. Threats made on the website included: “A big bunch of muzzies all in one place eh?? Why not give em a warm Texas welcome… How do you Americans say? LOCK AND LOAD!” and “Call out the texas militia and kill or capture all participants. What in hell is going on in texas?”
In 2011, a Bare Naked Islam commenter threatened a mosque in Falls Church, VA, asserting: “I want [Muslim] blood on my hands.”
Sample of Comments on BareNakedIslam.com