For friends and family who loved him dearly, the death of Robert Harkin in early August was sudden and unexpected. But despite their sadness, they can take comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on. His sister Karen has taken over his Facebook page and honors her brother by continuing to share Islamophobic rhetoric in his memory.
They rarely chose to talk about politics while he was alive, but Karen has been able to reconnect with her brother since his death by discovering his fear and hatred of Islam. It’s been a steep learning curve, but in time she’s been able to understand so much about what he cared about most, and she now feels closer to him than ever. The threat Syrian refugees pose to our freedom, the politicians who willingly turn a blind eye to the rising threat of Islamic terrorism—all of the bigoted beliefs that made Robert who he was.
Since picking up the mantle of his Facebook account, Karen has committed to maintaining the xenophobia that exemplified her brother’s life. When Time magazine ran a story about a Muslim woman who felt unsafe in America, Karen understood right away that Robert would want to share the article with the comment “Maybe she’d feel more safe if she moved to Saudia Arabia where she can practice Sharia Law with the rest of them.” Sometimes a sister just knows.
For those who were close to Robert, seeing a backwards, misinformed post decrying the spread of radical Islam is like being with him again. His page is a place where those who knew him can come share a memory and talk about the spread of Sharia law—exactly what Robert would have wanted. Whenever she posts about the inherent violence in the Muslim faith, Karen takes comfort in knowing that with every like and share, her brother remains a vibrant part of peoples’ lives.
“In the wake of Robert’s death, I think everyone was just looking for a place to see hateful rhetoric,” says Karen, who remembers her brother by spending two to three hours per day scouring the internet for signs of a larger Islamic conspiracy. “I miss him every day. But as long as I continue to invite his Facebook friends to like a group whose mission is to block the construction of mosques in America, it’s like he’s still here.”
Wow, if only everyone had such a devoted sister! Wherever he is, Robert must be resting easy knowing his sister is there to share his hateful, paranoid beliefs with the world.