Fox News and other conservatives are busy attacking Attorney General Eric Holder for assuring the public that law enforcement will not tolerate any acts of violence or discrimination in the wake of the Boston Marathon terror attack. But their latest feigned outrage ignores that hate crimes against Muslims are a very real concern.
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly covered the story on the April 30 edition of America Live, hosting Fox contributor Michelle Malkin, who mocked the "phantom threats of hate crime epidemics that have never happened." (This was the second straight day Kelly had devoted a segment to expressing outrage about Holder's common sense comments.)
Other conservatives lashed out at Holder for his vow to defend religious minorities in America.
Fox's weird attempt to push back against Holder's pledge fit nicely into Fox's frequently anti-Muslim programming. It also highlighted how little interest Fox has in the larger issue of anti-Muslim violence.
I noted last week how Fox News remains largely blind to acts of right-wing extremist terror and political violence because that storyline doesn't fit into the cable channel's preferred narrative about Muslim terrorists, or Fox's eagerness to assign collective blame onto the Muslim-American community.
And when it comes to Muslim houses of worship, Fox's main concern in recent years has been to demonize those trying to build new Islamic centers in the U.S., and also how to bug them. That lack of attention and concern may explain the network's outraged response to Holder's comments. There is clearly cause for concern, though.
From Salon, August 14, 2012, recounting a string of seven attacks that occurred within an 11-day span:
Teens were arrested on hate crime charges for taunting worshipers by throwing eggs and oranges and shooting bb pellets at a mosque in Hayward, Calif. Vandals defaced the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City with paintballs, and, in an especially malicious incident, women hurled pig legs at a mosque site in Ontario, Calif., while people were leaving the temporary prayer space.
The good news is that according to press reports there have not been many retaliatory acts since the Boston bombing. But that doesn't mean Holder's comments were out of line. And that doesn't mean mosques haven't been regular targets in recent years. For Kelly to dub Holder's comments "controversial" just shows how little attention Fox has paid to acts of religious violence and vandalism.
Here's a recent timeline:
- Dearborn MI, January 2011: A man is arrested with a vehicle full of explosives he intended to use to blow up a local mosque.
- Queens, NY, January 2012: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Islamic center. The suspect reportedly told police he intended "to inflict as much damage as possible and take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible."
- Lombard, IL, August 2012: An acid-filled bottle was thrown at an Islamic school during the nighttime Ramadan prayers.
- Joplin, MO, 2012: The local mosque burned to the ground one month after it was the target of an arson attack.
- Toledo, OH, September 2012: Authorities ruled that a gasoline fire on the main floor of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo was the result of an arson attack.
- San Antonio, TX, November 2012: A man was arrested for threatening to kill as many people as possible at the Islamic Academy of San Antonio.
- Fremont, CA, December 2012: A man entered the Ibrahim Khalillullah Islamic Center and threatened to shoot everyone.
- Fayette, GA, January 2013: The windows of a Muslim house of prayer were shot out at 2 a.m.
- Oklahoma City, OK, April 2013: Vandals spray-painted racial slurs on the walls of the American Muslim Association.