After declaring that no more mosques should be built in the United States until it works out “who is not a terrorist,” Fox News host Bob Beckel walked back his comments the following day. Yet he has failed to apologize for Islamophobic statements he has made in the past.
Beckel, a co-host on Fox's The Five, used reports of a tragic school massacre in Nigeria to criticize all Muslims on the July 9 edition of the program, ranting: “If it were up to me, I would not have another mosque built in this country until we got it worked out who is not a terrorist.” The next day, Beckel attempted to walk back his remarks, explaining, “I think I overstated my case.”
But Beckel has increasingly held all Muslims accountable for the brutality of a few without expressing regret.
In May, after a horrific beheading by a Muslim immigrant in London, the Fox host claimed the attack was a direct result of Britain's immigration policies with Islamic countries, saying it “is a product of the British allowing Muslims to come into their country.” He added: “We better take a hard look at our immigration policy and the people we are allowing in here if they're going to come in here and preach hatred to us.”
Beckel later wondered if the London attack and riots in a Muslim immigrant community in Sweden raised questions about the entire Muslim religion. He told his co-hosts on May 24, after Kimberly Guilfoyle criticized liberal immigration policies:
BECKEL: It's not about liberal policies it's about Muslims ... I mean that's what we're really talking about here. Who were the rioters in the last four nights? It was mostly young Muslim immigrants, right? Or people who were born -- in London the same thing. This is a part and parcel of a bigger picture having to do with the question of the Muslim religion versus --.
Beckel left the sentence hanging in the air.
Following the deadly bombing of the Boston marathon in April, Beckel called on the U.S. to suspend all student visas to Muslim countries because “we know” that “in the Muslim communities around the world, they do not like us. They recruit people from poor areas and they turn them into terrorists.” He went on:
BECKEL: I think we really have to consider, given the fact so many people hate us, that we're going to have to cut off Muslim students from coming to this country for some period of time, so that we can at least absorb what we've got, look at what we've got and decide whether some of the people here should be sent back home or sent to prison.
BECKEL: I've said this before, I'll say it again. If you want us to be nice to Muslims in this country, if you want us to treat them with decency, then stop killing our people. Or you're going to pay a price for it. A big price.
So while it's laudable that Beckel chose to clarify his most recent Islamophobic remark, he still has many more explanations to make.
Media Matters intern Charlie Rafkin contributed to this report.