Daily Mail Promotes “Bin Laden Killed by Pork-Coated Bullet” Claim

From the Daily Mail:

Did a pork-coated bullet kill Bin Laden? Yes, says firm who claim its pig fat gun oil is bought by U.S. military personnel

Was Osama bin Laden shot with a bullet soaked in pork fat, denying him a place in paradise?

The makers of Silver Bullet Gun Oil claim it contains 13 per cent USDA liquefied pig fat thus making the product ‘a highly effective counter-Islamic terrorist force multiplier.’

…A promotional YouTube video for the oil shows a picture of Bin Laden and the claim: ‘Killed with a weapon using Silver Bullet Gun Oil’.

The “firm” claims to have made private sales of the gun oil to numerous US military personnel, but there is absolutely no evidence that its product was used in the Bin Laden operation or that the the producer knows anything more about the operation than the rest of us.

The Mail goes on to add that:

In Islam consumption of pork is forbidden, but the Quran also states that if one is forced to consume the meat then they are guiltless and therefore not disqualified from paradise.

The relevant verses are 2:173, 5:3,  6:145, and 16:115, all of which have variations on the phrase “whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring nor exceeding the limit, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”.

The people behind SBGO, by contrast, tell us that:

According to the Koran, Allah states, “Any of my followers contaminated by swine at the time of his death will be denied entry to my paradise forever, I HATE THE STENCH OF SWINE.”

No reference is given, and I can’t find anything even remotely along these lines in the Koran (or in any other Islamic source, for that matter). SBGO also makes much of General Pershing’s supposed use of pork products to spread terror among Muslim rebels in the Philippines, but Snopes points out that the story appears to be apocryphal. In short, there is no properly documented evidence of Muslim terrorists abandoning their ways or aborting a mission out of fear of porcine contamination, and there’s no reason why they would. The product is useless for its stated purpose.

However, the product does have other purposes (aside from raising money, of course): its existence helps to give the impression that US soldiers are involved in a war against Islam, and to spread the notion that the Islamic taboo against pork is an exceptionally absurd aspect of Islam. It’s also useful to suggest that a superstition, rather than any ethical principle, would be the only reason that Muslims might reject the notion of Bin Laden enjoying “a place in paradise”.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has further details:

The oil’s manufacturer goes by the nom de guerre, “Midnite Rider – Servant of Yahweh,” an Old Testament name for God, but his real identity is unknown.

…Hatewatch recently purchased several bottles of the gun oil to determine if the company was real. The gun oil arrived in a box postmarked from Courtland, Va., a town of about 1,300 people 50 miles southwest of Norfolk…

The Daily Mail article is currently being headlined at WorldNetDaily; the UK tabloid appears to be making increasing efforts to get traffic from right-wing American websites.

In late September 2001, WND ran a column by Paul Sperry which suggested dropping leaflets over Afghanistan warning that “that we’ve enlisted Afghani moles to contaminate their water supplies with pig’s blood”. WND editor Joseph Farah later announced that the column had been “satire”.

UPDATE: The Mail article was partly lifted from a Mother Jones blog post by Adam Weinstein of 31 May, which begins with:

Did a Navy SEAL kill Osama Bin Laden with a pork-coated bullet, thus denying him entrance to paradise? That’s the highly unlikely claim coming from a shady website selling gun lubricants that it guarantees to be “13% USDA liquefied pig fat.”

Compare with the Mail on 2 June:

Was Osama bin Laden shot with a bullet soaked in pork fat, denying him a place in paradise?

Yes, if one rather shady website, that peddles gun oil containing liquefied pig fat, is to be believed.

The Mail‘s plagiarist took out the “highly unlikely” part, and ignored most of Weinstein’s assessment:

At best, Silver Bullet Gun Oil seems like snake oil for Islamophobes. At worst, it’s putting forth an image of American soldiers as crusading anti-Muslim killers… Most Muslims, devout and secular, simply see pork as gross, and they don’t consider incidental (or forced) contact with porcine products to disqualify one from entrance to heaven.