Right-wing pundits criticized Attorney General Loretta Lynch for advocating action against anti-Muslim rhetoric that “edges towards violence” at the 10th annual Muslim Advocates dinner. Conservatives called the comments “sedition,” but crime data shows anti-Muslim hate crimes on the rise in U.S.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch Advocates Prosecuting Anti-Muslim Rhetoric That Incites Violence
Loretta Lynch: “Actions Predicated On Violent Talk” Against Muslims “Are Not American ... And They Will Be Prosecuted.” Speaking at the 10th annual Muslim Advocates dinner on December 3, Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that there has been an “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric” since the Paris attacks, and vowed to use the Department of Justice to protect American Muslims from discrimination and violence. According to Buzzfeed:
Speaking at Muslim Advocate's 10th anniversary dinner, Lynch said since the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, she is increasingly concerned with the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric ... that fear is my greatest fear.”
Following the Paris attacks, there has been an uptick in violent attacks on Muslims and threats against mosques across the country. That, combined with heated political rhetoric such as GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump's call to register Muslim Americans, has Muslim community leaders worried that they could be facing a new era of discrimination.
Lynch made it clear that she shares those concerns, but vowed to use the DOJ to protect Muslims from discrimination and violence. Noting the rise in violence against Muslims and mosques in the wake of the Paris attacks, Lynch added that, “When we talk about the First amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”
“My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is 'We cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on,'” Lynch said. [Buzzfeed, 12/4/15]
Right Wing Media Vilify Lynch, Question “What Backlashes” Muslims Face In America
Rush Limbaugh: “We Hear The Attorney General ... Any Criticism Of Muslims And We Are Coming After You.” On the December 4 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh claimed that that the Attorney General “threatened prosecution anyone who criticizes Islam.”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: This is incredible folks, little did I know we watched the World Trade Center come down, we watched an airplane fall out of the sky in Pennsylvania, headed for Washington. We watch the Pentagon -- we see the hole in it after the airplane crashes into it, incidents, the perpetrator was a Muslim. We see what happened in San Bernardino, we see Ft. Hood, we see every one of these incidents the perpetrator was a Muslim. Every one of them. And then we hear the Attorney General of the United States and the President of the United States, any criticism of Muslims and we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, we are going to deny you your first amendment rights, because we are not tolerating that, because that is not who we are. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/4/15]
The Daily Caller Criticizes Loretta Lynch For Urging Muslim Parents To Contact Feds If Their Children Are Bullied, Without Mentioning San Bernardino Attacks. On December 3, The Daily Caller characterized Lynch's statements as “urg[ing] Muslim parents to contact the Justice Department and the Department of Education if their children are bullied at school.” The article asserted that “neither Lynch nor Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Khera mentioned the [San Bernardino] attack”, but “Instead, they lamented what they asserted was a growing anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Muslim hate crimes”:
Speaking to a Muslim advocacy group on Thursday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch urged Muslim parents to contact the Justice Department and the Department of Education if their children are bullied at school.
Lynch's remarks come in the wake of Wednesday's apparent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Cal. Syed Farook, a devout Muslim, and his wife killed 14 people at a holiday party being hosted by his employer on Wednesday. Investigators have found evidence linking Farook to known terrorists and to Islamic extremism.
But neither Lynch nor Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Khera mentioned the attack. Instead, they lamented what they asserted was growing anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Muslim hate crimes. [The Daily Caller, 12/4/15]
Pamela Geller: “This Is Sedition By The Obama Administration.” Responding to Lynch's comments, anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller asked "[w]hat backlashes" Lynch was referring to, claiming “This is sharia enforcement,” and that “This is sedition by the Obama administration.” [Pamelageller.com, 12/4/15]
Monica Crowley: Lynch's Call To Protect Muslims “Is Truly Frightening.” Fox News contributor Monica Crowley responded to Loretta Lynch's statements in a December 4 tweet, writing “This is truly frightening> RT Lynch Vows 2 Prosecute Those Who Use 'Anti-Muslim' Speech That 'Edges Towards Violence'”:
The Blaze's Dana Loesch: Lynch “Wants To Restrict” 1st, 2nd, 5th Amendments “To Punish Law-Abiding For Terrorists' Actions.” In a December 4 tweet, The Blaze's Dana Loesch claimed that Loretta Lynch “wants to restrict 1st ... 2nd, 5th amdts ... to punish law-abiding for terrorists's [sic] actions”:
The Blaze's Dana Loesch: "'Pigs In A Blanket, Fry Em Like Bacon' OK; Islam Criticism Prosecutable." In a December 4 tweet, Dana Loesch tweeted “Approved speech according to DOJ: 'Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon' OK; Islam criticism prosecutable”:
Radio Host Laura Ingraham: Lynch Is "Warning You About People Speaking About The Dangers Of Radical Islam." On the December 4 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham criticized Lynch's “priority ... to go to the Muslim Advocates Dinner”:
LAURA INGRAHAM: In a piece in the Daily Wire about Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General of the United States of America speaking at a Muslim group yesterday, she said she's disturbed about anti-Muslim rhetoric “that edges toward violence.” It's the Muslim Advocates 10th Anniversary Dinner last night. That was her priority last night, to go to the Muslim Advocates Dinner. And she's warning you about people speaking about the dangers of radical Islam. My word. Boy do we need a new leader. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 12/4/15]
Daily Wire: “What Exactly Are 'Actions Predicated On Violent Talk'? In The End, It Is Whatever She Decides It To Mean.” The Daily Wire's James Barrett wrote that Lynch “is far more concerned with promoting the social justice agenda than protecting the Constitutional rights of American citizens”:
It is painfully clear that, like her predecessor Eric Holder, Lynch is far more concerned with promoting the social justice agenda than protecting the Constitutional rights of American citizens. What exactly is speech that “edges toward violence”? What exactly are “actions predicated on violent talk”? In the end, it is whatever she decides it to mean. [The Daily Wire, 12/4/1]
Infowars: “Obama's Attorney General Promises To Criminalize Speech.” A December 4 post for Infowars.com, claimed that “Obama's Attorney General Promises To Criminalize Speech”, and that “Lynch's grandstanding before a Muslim group reveals the Justice Department and the Obama administration are promoting the so-called justice agenda at the expense of the Constitution and the First Amendment”:
Lynch's grandstanding before a Muslim group reveals the Justice Department and the Obama administration are promoting the so-called social justice agenda at the expense of the Constitution and the First Amendment.
It also underscores the collectivist idea that government has the authority--enforced by its monopoly of coercion and violence--to protect the rights of preferred groups at the expense of the rights of the individual. [Infowars, 12/4/15]
Conservative Columnist Michelle Malkin: “If You See & Say Something Critical Of Jihad & Its Apologists ... Lynch Thinks You Are The Natl Sec Threat.” Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin responded to Lynch's statements in a December 4 tweet, writing “If you see & say something critical of jihad & its apologists, Loretta Lynch thinks YOU are the natl sec threat”
In Fact Hate Crimes Against Muslims Have Been On The Rise For Years
Wash. Post: “After Paris And California Attacks, U.S. Muslims Feel Intense Backlash.” A December 4 article from The Washington Post reported that “American Muslims...feel growing anti-Muslim sentiment after the recent Islamic State attacks in Paris and this week's San Bernardino shootings”:
American Muslims say they are living through an intensely painful moment and feel growing anti-Muslim sentiment after the recent Islamic State attacks in Paris and this week's San Bernardino shootings, carried out by a Muslim husband and wife.
The motivations of the California killers are still unclear, although authorities are investigating it as a potential act of terrorism. Muslims said they are bracing for an even more toxic climate in which Americans are increasingly suspicious of Muslims.
Muslims say that Americans, like many in Europe, often do not draw a distinction between radical Islamist militants, such as those associated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the religion of Islam and its followers who have no ties to extremism.
Many Muslims said fear of Islam is being fueled by the heated rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates, particularly businessman Donald Trump, who has called for surveillance of some mosques and requiring Muslims to register with the government.[The Washington Post, 12/4/15]
BBC News: "Anti-Islam Hate Crimes Triple In London After Paris Attacks." According to a BBC News article from December 4, the “number of Muslims attacked each week in London has more than tripled since the Paris attacks.” The article also reported that "[t]he 12 months up to October 2014 saw 576 incidents reported which increased by 47.6% to 845 the following year."
The number of Muslims attacked each week in London has more than tripled since the Paris attacks, figures show.
The Met said in the week prior to the attacks on 13 November there were 24 recorded Islamophobic incidents. Two weeks after there were 76.
Mussurut Zia from the Muslim Women's Network UK said the community was “fearful” but people of other faiths had come forward in “solidarity”.
The Met said “regretfully” hate crime increased during “difficult times”.
The force's figures show the annual number of incidents have also increased with the majority of reports relating to harassment.
The 12 months up to October 2014 saw 576 incidents reported which increased by 47.6% to 845 the following year. [BBC News, 12/4/15]
Southern Poverty Law Center: “FBI: Reported Hate Crimes Down Nationally, Except For Muslims.” In an article from November 16, Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Fellow Mark Potok highlighted the FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report and finds that overall, hate crimes have “dipped across the board in 2014, except in the category of anti-Muslim crimes which rose about 14 percent over the prior year” and that the “trend seems destined to accelerate” given the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
Hate crimes in America dipped across the board in 2014, except in the category of anti-Muslim crimes, which rose about 14 percent over the prior year, according to FBI statistics released today. Given the barbaric Islamic State attacks in Paris last week and elsewhere recently, that latter trend seems destined to accelerate.
The reported drop in total hate crimes of almost 8 percent is probably meaningless, as several studies by the government's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in recent years have showed that the FBI numbers are vastly lower than the real level of hate crimes, making year-over-year comparisons of the totals virtually impossible. (The FBI's reported national totals went from 5,928 in 2013 to 5,479 last year.)
However, experts have said that within the larger numbers, it is possible to get a good sense of trends. That means the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes is very likely real, probably a reaction to reports of murders and other atrocities carried out by the Islamic State, or ISIS. Other categories of hate crime -- anti-Latino, anti-black, anti-LGBT and anti-Jewish -- all dropped, according to the new FBI numbers. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 11/16/15]