Conservative media are attacking actor Ben Affleck for comments he made objecting to disparaging generalizations about Islam during a heated exchange with HBO host Bill Maher, using their dialogue as ammunition to continue claiming that the religion has a unique connection to extremism and that Muslims have not done enough to root out religious zealotry.
Fox News spread fears that new military instructions that grant commanders the discretion to accommodate service members' religious practices and physical appearance will threaten the core military values and cohesion of the troops despite the fact that the Pentagon requires these accommodations be made on an individual basis in consideration to the health and safety needs of each unit.
On January 22, the Department of Defense released new instructions on accommodations for religious expression -- instructions which they believe will reduce discrimination "toward those whose religious expressions are less familiar to the command." The Washington Post reports the new instructions will ensure "rights of religious-minority service members to display their beliefs outwardly -- such as wearing a turban, scarf or beard -- as long as the practices do not interfere with military discipline, order or readiness."
On the January 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade turned to Fox's go-to anti-Muslim activist, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser who attacked the rule change as a threat to military readiness. Jasser argued that the rule change might be manipulated by "pseudo-civil rights groups that are really trying to weaken our unit cohesion, weaken mission readiness, and ultimately tee up the football for litigation Jihad or people like -- monsters like -- Nidal Hasan who want to wear a beard." Kilmeade agreed, adding "if your religion conflicts with what the rules are in the military, do something else."
Later in the show, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck invoked the story of former army officer, Nidal Hasan, convicted of killing 13 people on a military base in Fort Hood, Texas to stoke fears that the new policy might hurt safety and unit cohesion:
HASSELBECK: You can't help but think, I mean, people are harkening back to Nidal Hasan asking to maintain and grow a beard while a trial was going on. I think it definitely brings up concerns, both for safety, unified front, and just cohesion.
But the new instructions came after a long struggle on the part of religious minority groups like Sikh, Jewish, and Muslim Americans who have previously been barred from serving in the military due to the strict dress and personal appearance standards. The new instructions will allow military departments to accommodate individual religious expression, but each individual will still have to be granted permission from his or her unit to assure that physical appearances "do not interfere with good order and discipline."
The Washington Post further clarified that these new accommodations will not be allowed to affect safety or military readiness:
According to the Pentagon, requests for such religious accommodation will still be decided on an individual basis but will generally be denied only if the item impairs the safe use of military equipment; poses a health or safety hazard; interferes with wearing a uniform, a helmet or other military gear; or "impairs the accomplishment of the military mission."
Fox News hosted a series of discredited anti-Islam activists to smear Muslims during Fox's coverage of the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The fear of Shariah law creeping into the U.S. legal system is a myth, and The New York Times has reported that the originator of anti-Shariah movement is attorney David Yerushalmi, who has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as having a record of "anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black rhetoric."
But don't tell Eric Bolling that. Yesterday, Bolling used his Fox Business Network show to push the creeping Shariah myth.
Bolling also worried about whether Sohail Muhammad, a Muslim judge appointed to the bench by New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie, will have "a completely objective view on American case law." Bolling promised his audience: "We'll keep our eye on" the judge.
During the segment, Bolling also claimed that "[w]hile folks worry about the mosque-ing of America, there's also a fear of creeping Shariah, the slow but steady influence of Shariah Muslim law into America." One of Bolling's guests was Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a star witness at the first of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) anti-Muslim congressional hearings. Unsurprisingly, Jasser did little to alleviate Bolling's fear that Shariah is coming.
Another of Bolling's guests, Bo Dietl, who can always be counted on to make disparaging remarks about Muslims, did not disappoint. He said that, unlike in "Muslimland," in America, "a judge will convict you for assault if you assault the woman, if you assault your wife, even under your aba daba law there." Dietl also expressed concern that "judges who are from the Islam can become judges in America and then they can start weighing these cases out and start to understand it under the Shariah law."
From the May 10 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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From the March 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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