A new Swedish university study suggesting the ancient Vikings may have been Muslim has white supremacists hopping mad.
Researchers at Uppsala University announced its findings earlier this week, revealing that archaeologists had uncovered Viking funeral garments with the words “Allah” (the Muslim word for “God”) and “Ali” woven into them. The discovery has raised new questions about the influence of Islam at the time and whether some Vikings might have converted to the faith after encountering Muslims during their travels.
Viking imagery is often touted by white nationalists, as they embody the “racial purity” beliefs held by the racist groups. Neo-Nazi sites like The Daily Stormer also use Viking imagery and Norse myth to appeal to its racist readers, so it’s no surprise white nationalists were outraged at news that their mascots may have worshiped a “brown” god.
Reaction to the study was swift, with racist sympathizers writing the research off as malarkey and liberal onlookers relishing in their displeasure from the news. Some critics refuted researchers’ claims, saying the burial garbs were likely among the things the Vikings had plundered from people in the Middle East.
The title is misleading, the material might of came from the Middle East, but The Vikings were not Muslim 😂
— Ileata Kenley (@ileata) October 13, 2017
Viking raids a Middle Eastern trader & thinks this is cool cloth. Gets buried with it. Now Vikings are Muslim? https://t.co/QCIrar4ny2 🤡🌎
— RightTrak (@RightTrak) October 13, 2017
Bull article. The part about Muslim theological influences on Vikings was especially hilarius. Al-Valhallah…
— History Twerp (@History_Twerp) October 13, 2017
Speaking with BBC News, textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University said the garments likely came from from central Asia, Persia and China. Larsson added that the small geometric designs woven into the fabric weren’t Scandinavian patterns at all but rather ancient Arabic Kufic script.
“The possibility that some of those in the graves were Muslim cannot be completely ruled out,” she said. “We know from other Viking tomb excavations that some of the people buried in them originated from places like Persia, where Islam was very dominant.”
“However, it is more likely these findings show that Viking age burial customs were influenced by Islamic ideas such as eternal life in paradise after death,” Larsson added.
This isn’t the first time white nationalists have been outraged after finding out a historical figure they thought was white, wasn’t. Last year, white folk cried foul after the History Channel portrayed Hannibal of Carthage as a Black man in its documentary series. Many blasted the channel for its “historical revisionism.”