Fox News echoed an unfounded suggestion that a black female Miami police officer who followed military service guidelines by standing at attention during the Pledge of Allegiance might be “Muslim,” and therefore disloyal to the United States.
On the April 27 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts reported on a controversy in Miami over a police officer, Assistant Chief Anita Najiy, who did not put her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Co-host Steve Doocy noted that military guidelines require that military personnel “stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag; and that's what she's doing.” Nonetheless, the Fox & Friends hosts brought up a baseless accusation by Javier Ortiz, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, that the reason Najiy didn't put her hand over her heart is because she is “Muslim” and “has no respect for the flag or the United States” :
DOOCY: The Fraternal Order of Police president suggests this could have been a religious decision. He has suggested that perhaps she is a Muslim. That is not known. But, nonetheless, a lot of waves being made about this video down in Miami.
BRIAN KILMEADE: By the way, if you're a Muslim, I hope it means you can still salute the flag, put your hand on your heart. What does that have to do with it?
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Well, you know, that would be a great question to ask. And so is it our right to know why someone would opt out of that, how does that make you feel if that is indeed her district, would you want to know?
According to The Miami Herald, Ortiz demanded that Najiy be reprimanded for not covering her heart during the Pledge. The Fraternal Order president claimed that “Assistant Chief Najiy practices in the Muslim faith” and that “There are plenty of police officers in our department that practice the Muslim faith and pledge allegiance to our country and have a problem with her defiance towards the United States.” Ortiz even accused Najiy of not being loyal to the U.S., asking, “what country is she loyal and shows allegiance to?”
But Miami Police Major Delrish Moss said it had “nothing to do with personal beliefs” and that Najiy was following military conduct guidelines, which “supercedes police code.” And the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, which represents black police officers, blasted Ortiz claims as racist:
“Racism cloaked in patriotism is a huge insult to the American flag, the city of Miami police department,” MCPBA President Ella Moore said in a letter she intends to hand personally to Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.
Najiy, a 32-year veteran, is “the highest ranking black female in the Miami Police Department” and the first female appointed Assistant Chief of Police in the department.