Critics of the Islamic community center and mosque proposed for lower Manhattan were outraged earlier this month when they learned that tween pop sensation Justin Bieber had weighed in on the mosque controversy, in an interview with, um, Tiger Beat. According to mosque opponents, Bieber told the influential foreign policy journal: "Muslims should be allowed to build a mosque anywhere they want. Coming from Canada, I’m not used to this level of intolerance, eh." And the "interview" didn't stop there.
Bieber reportedly went on to say that Muslims are "super cool," Christians are "lame-o-rama," and that the mosque will help "start a dialogue" with all religions about which Justin Bieber song is the most awesome. "I was like seven when September 11th went down, and frankly I’m surprised people are still going on about it," Bieber is quoted as saying. "Move on, already!"
We were as shocked as you to read this—not because of Bieber's provocative comments, but because we never miss an issue of Tiger Beat, and we don't recall reading this interview at all. And after an exhaustive search of our collection of back issues, we confirmed that this interview never happened, and is indeed a cheap satirical prank. Salon points us to the website celebjihad.com, which posted "excerpts" from the "interview." The website's proprietor tells Salon, "[T]he fact that some people take it seriously is hilariously depressing."
Welcome to The United States of Dumberica,
2010 2011. Andy Sullivan, a construction worker who's been at the forefront of the "Ground Zero mosque" resistance, says his eight-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son have been banned from attending Bieber concerts. "I informed them, 'Hey guys, guess what? Justin Bieber spoke out for the ground zero mosque," Sullivan tells Salon. "My little girl took down his poster and said she didn't want to have nothing to do with him any more. These are my kids, they're living this thing."
And a Facebook group has added Bieber to their list of "companies who support the Ground Zero Mosque." In the weeks since, Bieber—his career in ruins—has been spotted singing backup in a Bachman-Turner Overdrive cover band, gigging in shabby hotel lobbies across the rust belt. But the former pop star still begins each set, performed for a smattering of his last die hard fans, with a defiant shout of Allah Hu Akbar. Then it's all Takin' Care of Business.