MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

ISLAMOPHOBIC ORGANIZATIONS: Fox News Channel

Fox News Channel

The Public Religion Research Institute included the following points about the Fox News Channel in a report published in September 2012:

  • “There is a strong correlation between trusting Fox News and negative views of Islam and Muslims. This pattern is evident even among conservative political and religious groups.”
  • “Among all Republicans, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say that Islam is at odds with American values. Among Republicans who most trust Fox News, more than 7-in-10 (72 percent) believe that Islam is at odds with American values.”
  • “Among Republicans who most trust other news sources, less than half (49 percent) say Islam is at odds with American values, making their attitudes roughly similar to the general population.”
  • “A similar effect can be seen in beliefs about American Muslims and the establishment of Shari’a law. Nearly 6-in-10 (58 percent) Republicans who most trust Fox News believe that American Muslims are trying to establish Shari’a law in the U.S. Again, the attitudes of Republicans who most trust other news sources look similar to the general population (33 percent and 30 percent respectively).”

When a YMCA and local police department in St. Paul, Minn. partnered to give young Muslim girls a once-a-week hour-long swim lesson during which the facility would be closed to men, Fox proclaimed, “Sharia law is now changing everything.”

On October 8, 2014, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren issued an on-air challenge, stating: “So here’s my offer. I will give any Muslim leader of national or international stature the platform right here ‘On the Record’ to condemn Islamic extremism and to make a call to arms of every Muslim leader of every mosque to do the same. Condemn Islamic extremism.”

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad accepted the challenge, but was declined an opportunity by the host to speak. According to a CAIR press release, “Van Susteren’s producers changed the terms of the challenge and ultimately dropped Awad’s appearance”.

CAIR produced a video to address Van Susteren’s challenge:

In 2012, Media Matters collected a number of examples of factually questionable assertions about Muslims made on Fox News. These included Brian Kilmeade claiming that all “terrorists are Muslims,” and a Fox News contributor saying, “The truth is that Muslims tend to be more violent than Christians.”

An incident that points to Fox News’ pattern of anti-Muslim bias was on the “Hannity and Colmes” program, where Sean Hannity appeared to encourage televangelist Pat Robertson’s attack and degradation of Islam and Prophet Muhammad. Robertson made comments about the Prophet such as “This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they’re carrying out Islam”. Hannity supported those remarks by responding with “Reverend, how widespread do you think that fanatical interpretation is?…Or do you think it’s the majority of Muslims?”

On a “Tucker Carlson” tonight show in 2017, Carlson alluded to how the “attitudes of faithful Muslims are not Western at all”, pointing to how Islam “tolerates a level of violence” that only does not observe in Judaism and Presbyterianism. This type of rhetoric furthers the Islamophobic notion that Islam and modernity are incompatible due to Islam being a regressive religion that is unwilling to evolve with the changing times.

Furthermore, Judge Jeanine Pirro pointed to how Rep. Ilhan Omar’s decision to wear a hijab is so she “won’t get molested”, and is reflective of her adherence to the Sharia law, which is antithetical to the United States Constitution. This notion furthers the stereotype that Sharia law does not tolerate religious pluralism and Muslims worldwide want Sharia law to supersede all other governmental laws of the land.

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