How The Media Treated Muslims Who Condemned Extremist Violence

Prominent media figures including News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch criticized Muslims following the Paris terror attacks, claiming that Muslims have not been outspoken against extremist violence, despite prominent Muslim organizations immediately denouncing the attack.

On January 11, millions of people rallied in Paris against violence after extremist attacks in France left 17 people dead earlier in the week. World leaders including leaders from predominantly Muslim countries Mali and Jordan, and Palestinian territory President Mahmoud Abbas marched with French President François Hollande to denounce the violence.

Prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations also denounced the attacks. As religious studies scholar Reza Aslan pointed out on the January 11 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, anyone who wonders whether Muslim organizations and individuals are denouncing extremist attacks “doesn't own Google,” because “every single organization, major organization, Muslim organization throughout the world ... has condemned, not just this attack, but every attack that occurs in the name of Islam.”

The French and British Muslim Councils and the Arab League denounced the attacks Charlie Hebdo. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called the attack “brutal and cowardly.”

In 2014, many Muslim organizations condemned the terror group the Islamic State as “nothing to do with Islam” and “morally repugnant,” with the Muslim Public Affairs Council calling on “all people of conscience” to “stand against extremism.” 

But prominent media figures ignored the condemnations, instead criticizing Muslims for supposedly not being outspoken enough.

On January 9, Murdoch, who chairs Fox News' parent company, tweeted that Muslims should be “held responsible” for radical Islam “until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer”:

Fox News hosts and guests also accused Muslims of not condemning extremist violence. Fox guest Monica Crowley said that Muslims “should be condemning” the violence. Bill O'Reilly went further, repeatedly shouting over his Muslim guests who tried to explain that Muslims are not only denouncing terrorism, but actually dying in the fight against it.

In another offensive display of the media's willingness to conflate Muslims with violent extremists, CNN's Don Lemon asked an American civil rights attorney who is Muslim, “Do you support ISIS?”