Right-wing media criticized President Obama for condemning Islamophobia and roundly denied the existence of anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States as “pure myth” and “something that doesn't really exist.” These claims gained traction just as GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump released a proposal to ban Muslim entry into the United States.
President Obama Denounces Islamophobia And Urges National Unity
Obama Urged The Nation To Reject “Suspicion And Hate” Of The Muslim Community. President Obama denounced “discrimination” against Muslims and “proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently” in an Oval Office address on December 6. Obama also stated that “if we're to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate”:
Here's what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world -- including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we're to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.
But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans -- of every faith -- to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It's our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes -- and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that. [The White House, 12/6/15]
Right-Wing Media Claim Anti-Muslim Discrimination Is “Nonexistent” In The United States
Fox & Friends: “Muslim Hate Crimes ... [Are] Not As Big An Issue As The White House Would Make You To Believe.” On the December 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that “Muslim hate crimes ... [are] not as big an issue as the White House would make you to believe” and that “America has been more tolerant despite [recent] attacks than anyone would think.” Co-chairman of the American Middle East Coalition for Democracy John Hajjar agreed, alleging “Islamophobia is really nothing but a myth” and that President Obama denounced Islamophobia to create “victimhood status for Muslims”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): The president urging Americans not to succumb to Islamophobia in the wake of the massacre in California carried out by Islamic extremists. But it turns out Muslim hate crimes, not as big an issue as the White House would make you to believe. Attorney General, excuse me, attorney John Hajjar is a Lebanese-American and co-chairman of the American Middle East Coalition for Democracy is here to explain. First off, were you surprised the president included that in his speech?
JOHN HAJJAR: Right. Brian, he always is trying to find victimhood status for various groups, and in this case, Muslim-Americans. You know, we are a welcoming country, Middle East-Americans have been coming to the United States for 125 years, and relatively incident-free. They have excelled in all fields of endeavor from medicine, law, sports, business, entertainment. And America has been a very gracious and welcoming environment for people from the Middle East and that continues to this day.
KILMEADE: So, we have the rise of ISIS, we have Al Qaeda. We know that Bin Laden targeted us in 2001. We weren't bombing him. But yet in 2014, look at how the breakdown goes when it comes to hate crimes: 59 percent of the hate crimes, anti-Semitic, 14 percent anti-Islamic. Important. Look at the difference, 14 percent anti-Islamic, 6 percent anti-Catholic, and 2.5 percent, 17 percent but 2.5percent Protestant and other anti-Protestant. So, if you see those stats, why is the president including it in his speech?
HAJJAR: That's a great question to ask. You know, they've been creating, as I said, this victimhood status for Muslims for, you know, in conjunction with the Council of the American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Muslims groups such as Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Circle of North America, to really divert attention from what's going on. It's not been happening. And Islamophobia is really nothing but a myth. And you don't see the press calling for inquiries or the FBI calling for inquiries into anti-Semitic crimes, yet CAIR has been outspoken and they've really driven that point and they've succeeded. You know, in the Muslim community it's very, there's a lot of diversity. And people say that it's racist, Islamophobia is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam is not a race, it's a religion. And Muslims come to this country from over 50 countries, from West Africa all the way from the Middle East and into East Asia.
KILMEADE: Bottom line is, the stats don't lie. America has been more tolerant despite these attacks than anyone would think. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/8/15]
Fox's Sean Hannity: President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch Are “Trying To Create A Controversy Where There Is None.” Fox News host Sean Hannity criticized President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch for condemning anti-Muslim hate crimes, claiming “I don't know exactly what they're referring to. They're trying to create a controversy where there is none.” Fox regular Mark Steyn mocked those speaking out against Islamophobia in the wake of the December 2 San Bernardino shooting, saying “when there's a big pile of corpses in a Western city, the real victims are the poor Muslims because someone might look at them funny on the bus on the way to work the following morning.” From the December 7 edition of Hannity:
MARK STEYN: He basically got that out of the way, and then spent three times as much time effectively talking about how racist and bigoted Americans are, which is the message you would have got -- if you were watching this anywhere around the planet, you would have concluded that thePresident of the United States thought the principal security threat was his own bigoted and racist people. This isn't a small thing that he did last night, Sean. Effectively, the president took the same position as CAIR and the other Islamic lobby groups...
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Well, you know...
STEYN: ... that when there's a big pile of corpses in a Western city, the real victims are the poor Muslims because someone might look at them funny on the bus on the way to work the following morning.
HANNITY: Loretta Lynch said the same thing, that she was going to go after people that used hate speech last week. She's pulled back on it today. But well, the FBI actually has statistics on this very issue. And 62.4 percent of victims of hate speech -- you know who they are? They're Jewish Americans. It's only...
HANNITY: It's only 11.6 percent that have an anti-Muslim bias.
HANNITY: So I don't know exactly what they're referring to. They're trying to create a controversy where there is none. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/7/15]
Fox's Megyn Kelly: “Hate Crimes Against Muslims ... [Are] Not A Huge Problem In The U.S.” On the December 7 edition of The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly dismissed anti-Muslim hate crimes as “not a huge problem in the U.S..” Fox contributor Pete Hegseth lamented that President Obama's remarks on Islamophobia comprised “almost half of his speech”:
PETE HEGSETH: Sure, steady. But the only passion we got in the speech, Megyn, was passion about how our culture must make sure we embrace fully every Muslim. And of course we do. Americans are very tolerant. But we shouldn't be tolerant of folks who are radicalized. And of course, I believe that ISIS is Islamic.
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Well, that's the thing. He got some heat on that because he elevated that and it got a lot of air time in his speech. A lot. And we ran the stats --
PETE HEGSETH: It was almost half of his speech.
KELLY: Well, and we ran the stats on hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. First of all, hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for about a thousand offenses. Religious hate crimes, about 19 percent of all hate crimes. And a breakdown of those, 58 percent of those were directed at Jews, only 16 percent were directed at Muslims. So it's not a huge problem in the U.S. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 12/7/15]
Fox's Bill O'Reilly: “There Really Isn't Any Evidence That Muslims Are Being Mistreated In The U.S.A..”Fox host Bill O'Reilly alleged on the December 7 edition of The O'Reilly Factor that “there really isn't any evidence that Muslims are being mistreated” and that “there hasn't been any anti-Muslim stuff to speak of” since September 11. O'Reilly complained “the president and the attorney general [are] making a political issue out of something that doesn't really exist,” while his guest Joshua Katz suggested that Obama's remarks were intendedto build on the administration's “narrative that the United States is accepting,” indicating “the president trying to court almost two billion Muslims around the world”:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Now, remember that was before Mr. Trump's statement tonight. A noble sentiment, but there really isn't any evidence that Muslims are being mistreated in the U.S.A. Here are the stats: 2014 -- 1,140 religious hate crimes reported in the U.S.A. All hate crimes, 16 percent against Muslims; 57 percent against Jews; 6 percent against Catholics; 2.5 percent against Protestants. Remember this is religion-based not skin color or anything like that. Joining us now from Washington Joshua Katz, former CIA operative and now does private analysis on terrorism. So Mr. Katz, why do you think the president is making such a big deal out of the Muslim anti -- don't be mean to them when the stats show Jews are at far greater risk in the U.S.A. than Muslims?
JOSHUA KATZ: Absolutely, Bill. And I think from the beginning of the administration, we have seen thepresident trying to court almost two billion Muslims around the world. But, at the same time now, he's building this fear base and really absolutely just disregarding completely five million Jews in the United States and their security and safety.
O'REILLY: Ok. But you have the -- I don't think he is doing it as an anti-Jewish play.
O'REILLY: But, you had the attorney general, Miss Lynch, come out and say we are not going to tolerate any anti-Muslim stuff. I'm saying to myself, there hasn't been any anti-Muslim stuff to speak of. We have been tremendously restrained in the United States after 9/11. If it were ever going to happen it would have happened then and it didn't.
KATZ: Absolutely. Absolutely. It didn't. And in the United States, you were three and a half times more likely, if you were a Jew to experience a hate crime. So, there is a lot of issues going on here and what we're not seeing is we're not seeing the attorney general get out and say anything about the Jewish community, about those hate crimes. The president's not giving any speeches from the Oval Office about the anti-Semitism on the rise. So this is absolutely just building into the fear that the Muslim community in the United States is separate or somehow different.
O'REILLY: Ok. But why is the president and the attorney general making a political issue out of something that doesn't really exist now. Why?
KATZ: It goes back to the very beginning of the administration, where they were reaching out and they have been reaching out to the Muslim world, almost two billion Muslims around the world, to sort of provide this narrative that the United States is accepting. And we are absolutely accepting. But what the President and the administration's failing to do is failing to realize that at home there is no issue here. There is no hate against Muslims. There is no backlash. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/7/15]
Fox Co-Hosts: “Let Me Know If You See Any Muslim Backlash. I Haven't.” On the December 7 edition of The Five, co-host Jesse Watters denied the existence of anti-Muslim “backlash” in the United States because he "[hasn't] seen a lot of it." Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle also asked, “Who's vilifying any of the Muslims? Who's doing that?,” before criticizing President Obama and his senior advisers for “talking about this and putting it as the top of the framework”:
JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): Let me know if you see any Muslim backlash, I haven't seen a lot of it. The president wasn't really worried about anti-police backlash or anti-Tea Party backlash or anti-Christian backlash when those institutions were being smeared and denigrated. In fact, there were actual backlash against those institutions. We had the Chick-Fil-A shooter going up, shooting up the place over gay marriage. You had the Tea Party being targeted by Obama's own IRS. You had cops being executed in New York. I didn't hear a lot about backlash then.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Yeah, but they're just assuming horrible facts, not in evidence in actions on behalf of the American people, saying, I mean, who's vilifying any of the Muslims. Who's doing that? They are really talking about this and putting it as the top of the framework, because these are talking points straight out of the White House from President Obama and Valerie Jarrett and that's why they put Loretta Lynch there to like babysit [FBI Director James] Comey so he doesn't like get out of line when he's trying to answer questions to the press and god forbid admit it, say that this is terrorism. The president knew that it was terrorism and he didn't want to say it. He was compelled and forced to tell the truth.
JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): So let me just respond to you. What about Donald Trump today saying we shouldn't admit any of the Muslims?
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): We're going to get to that in a minute.
WILLIAMS: So your point is, nobody is vilifying--
GUILFOYLE: But if you want to use the opportunity and try and vilify and go after Donald Trump who is not Commander-in-Chief, he's not President of the United States...
WILLIAMS: No you said nobody is...
GUILFOYLE: Barack Obama is. That's why, that's who I am talking about. [Fox News, The Five, 12/7/15]
Fox Business Guest: “In America, We Have Not Taken Action Against The Muslim People. Not At All.” On the December 7 edition of Fox Business' Intelligence Report with Trish Regan, Fox regular Brad Blakeman called President Obama's address an “embarrassment” and “overcompensation for lack of leadership,” and subsequently claimed “we have not taken action against the Muslim people ... and were not scapegoating the entire Muslim religion.” Fox contributor Leslie Marshall retorted “There's no backlash against Muslims? I mean seriously, please Google a few of the incidents that have taken place”:
TRISH REGAN (HOST): A lot of voters feel like right now there's a kind of void out there, basically, that needs to be filled. They need to hear from the president what he's doing. They need to hear some toughness when it comes to dealing with ISIS. They don't feel as though he's doing enough. Do you think that he helped to lay any of those concerns to rest last night when he spoke,in any way?
BRAD BLAKEMAN: Absolutely not. It was embarrassment to him personally, to the office of the presidency, to our country. It was an overcompensation for lack of leadership. When a president addresses the nation from the Oval Office, he does so to rally a nation. Not to lecture to a nation. Not to apologize for our enemies who seek our destruction. You know, in America we have not taken action against the Muslim people. Not at all. We have been tolerant of all religions and were not scapegoating the entire Muslim religion. What we are identifying is an enemy who identifies with a religion, radical Islam, and seeks our destruction.
LESLIE MARSHALL: When we look at with the president said or didn't say, and I do want to respond, there's no backlash against Muslims? I mean seriously, please Google a few of the incidents that have taken a place around this country, things that Donald Trump is saying. Things that some --
BLAKEMAN: A few, a few incidents.
MARSHALL: -- extreme groups are saying. What the president is talking about is key because if you ask any counterterrorism expert, ISIS wants division. [Fox Business, Intelligence Report with Trish Regan, 12/7/15]
Fox's Gretchen Carlson: “I Didn't Know That America Was At Fault For” Anti-Muslim Discrimination. Host of The Real Story Gretchen Carlson claimed that “as a nation, as a whole, we have continued to allow all kinds of immigration in” after exclaiming “I didn't know that America was at fault” for Islamophobia or anti-Muslim backlash. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee agreed, stating “it simply doesn't exist with the facts because [Obama] has created this narrative that everybody is against Muslims”:
CARLSON: Joining me now, Governor Mike Huckabee, 2016 GOP presidential candidate. I didn't know that America was at fault for doing that. Sure, we have people in this country who are going to be racist against Muslims after 9/11 especially. But I think as a nation, as a whole, we have continued to allow all kinds of immigration in, including Muslims.
HUCKABEE: Absolutely, Gretchen. In fact, the president and the attorney general ought to talk to their own FBI. There were 5,500 hate crimes last year in the United States. Only 1,000 involved religion. And of those, only 16 percent were directed toward muslims. 58 percent were directed toward Jews. If the president is worried about people taking it on the chin, he needs to go out and defend the Jewish people of America because they are three times and plus over in terms of the object of hate crimes than Muslims are. What he's saying is nonsense. It simply doesn't exist with the facts because he has created this narrative that everybody is against Muslims. That's not the case. But we are against Islamic jihadists. We are against Muslims who want to kill us. [Fox News, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, 12/7/15]
National Review Online: Violence Against Muslims Is “A Narrative That Has No Basis In Fact.” In a December 8 article, National Review contributor Ian Tuttle remarked that The Obama “administration has trumpeted a fabricated threat” of Islamophobic hate crimes and that “the notion that American Muslims face a unique, outsized threat of violence is simply not true.” Tuttle claimed that anti-Muslim discrimination “is a narrative that has no basis in fact” and lamented that Attorney General Loretta Lynch isn't “panicked about the number of anti-white hate crimes”:
But just how common are crimes against Muslims?
According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, there were 1,014 hate-crime incidents motivated by religious bias in 2014. Of those, 154 -- 15.2 percent -- were anti-Islamic, a slight uptick from 2013's 135 incidents (13.1 percent).
How alarming are 154 anti-Islamic crimes? Consider this: Last year saw 609 anti-Jewish incidents -- meaning that American Jews were about four times as likely to be victimized on account of their religion as were American Muslims. Anti-Jewish attacks accounted for 60 percent of religiously motivated hate-crime incidents. Additionally, not only are anti-Muslim crimes lower in the aggregate; they happen at a lower rate. While there is one anti-Muslim crime for every 29,221 American Muslims (using a Muslim population of 4.5 million, extrapolating from various estimates), there is one anti-Jewish crime for every 11,166 Jews.
Conservatives have been chastised for their condemnation of Loretta Lynch's remarks. Writing shortly after last month's attacks in Paris, The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf preemptively defended the attorney general: “Urging people against turning their anger against innocent people is not an unserious priority. It is a reasonable, pragmatic, decent act.”
With that no reasonable person is in dispute. Every threat and assault committed against a Muslim on account of his or her religion is a reprehensible act. One hate crime is too many.
But Lynch and her ilk go further, playing down the threat of Islamic terrorism while playing up the threat American Muslims face from their own countrymen. That is a narrative that has no basis in fact. The notion that American Muslims face a unique, outsized threat of violence is simply not true, while the notion that the Islamic State is far from “contained” is tragically obvious.
More and more it seems that this administration has trumpeted a fabricated threat because it is unwilling to face up to a very real one. [National Review Online, 12/8/15]
Breitbart News: Except For “Second Amendment Internment Camps For The Gun Rights Of American Muslims,” “There Simply Is No Muslim Backlash.” In a December 7 piece, Breitbart News editor at large John Nolte claimed that the Obama administration and “the DC media [are] blatantly lying about” anti-Muslim hate crimes, alleging “there simply is no Muslim backlash.” Nolte further charged that the only Muslim backlash occurring was “Obama's push to create Second Amendment internment camps for the gun rights of American Muslims”:
The suspect in the recent mass-shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood is an obvious lunatic. Nevertheless, our rotted DC Media has had a field day using those murders to attack all pro-lifers as culpable. Naturally, this Narrative was flipped entirely after last week's Islamist atrocity in San Bernardino. Although the most recent F.B.I. statistic prove the “Muslim backlash” is a pure myth, the DC Media, ever in pursuit of labeling everyday Americans as racist, relentlessly spread the myth.
In other words...
A full 84% of hate crimes based on a person's religion are not directed at Muslims.
Jews are the people truly under attack, with a whopping 57% of hate crimes, which is way outside their percentage of the population. The DC Media doesn't consider this statistic worth reporting. Jews-as-victims upsets the Narrative.
Outside of Jews and Muslims, 25% of these crimes are directed at other religions.
In a country of close to 325 million people, there were 183 hate crimes committed against Muslims last year. This is only 19 more over the previous year, which is meaningless in a country this large.
Unless you want to count Obama's push to create Second Amendment internment camps for the gun rights of American Muslims, there simply is no Muslim backlash.
Just like everything else, the DC Media is blatantly lying about this. Just like their Dear Leader, even as they push for those internment camps, the elite media love to lecture and smear the uncommonly decent everyday American people. [Breitbart News, 12/7/15]
The Blaze: Islamophobic Hate Crimes Are “Minor” And “Almost Negligible.” The Blaze contributor Jim Zumwalt wrote in a December 8 article that “as to hate crime targeting, Muslims are among the least targeted” and that “in the aftermath of 9/11, aside from a few isolated instances, an angry American public never directed its collective anger towards the Muslim community.” Zumwalt claimed that “hate crime statistics in the U.S. simply do not support” the claim that Muslims experience discrimination and violence:
Meanwhile, a naive western media blindly gives a voice to Erdogan's “racism” claim without seeing it for what it really is -- “reverse psychology.” Such psychology seeks to pressure already tolerant non-Muslims into becoming even more tolerant of intolerant Muslims.
As to Erdogan's suggestion enmity exists towards Muslims in the West, hate crime statistics in the U.S. simply do not support it.
In the aftermath of 9/11, aside from a few isolated instances, an angry American public never directed its collective anger towards the Muslim community.
Factoring in existence of a disproportionately higher Muslim than Jewish population base, these percentages are very revealing: as to hate crime targeting, Muslims are among the least targeted; Jews, the most.
Ironically, the lack of Muslim hate crime evidence does not prevent Jew-haters like Hatem (a very appropriate first name) Bazian -- the director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at University of California at Berkeley -- from falsely claiming bragging rights as such.
Bazian gave a November 20 speech claiming Islamophobia within the U.S. is on the rise. While FBI numbers do support that claim, the 2014 uptick over the 2013 numbers is almost negligible -- and still pales in comparison to hate crimes against Jews. A supposed academic “scholar,” Bazian fuels existing anti-Jewish hatred while promoting non-existent concerns over anti-Muslim hatred.
All hate crimes represent a plague upon society. However, Western leaders are all too willing to accept Islamophobia claims as a major plague when, compared to Jewish-related hate crimes, it is a minor one. [The Blaze, 12/8/15]
Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes: The “Wave Of Vicious Discrimination Against Innocent Muslims ... Is Nonexistent.” Weekly Standard's executive editor Fred Barnes criticized President Obama's condemnation of anti-Muslim violence, saying he “suspected [Obama] would spare us another rendition of his tale of a wave of vicious discrimination against innocent Muslims” before claiming “the wave is nonexistent”:
There were two surprises, at least for me. I assumed Obama wouldn't allow his obsession with gun control to force its way into his address. I was wrong. Dwelling on gun control was entirely out of place since nothing the president and his allies are proposing would have prevented the San Bernardino terrorists from acquiring their weapons.
And I suspected he'd spare us another rendition of his tale of a wave of vicious discrimination against innocent Muslims in this country. Instead he dwelled on it, though the wave is nonexistent. This matter received a “rather disproportionate” amount of time in the speech, Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News. That was an understatement. [The Weekly Standard, 12/6/15]
GOP Presidential Frontrunner Donald Trump Called For Ban On Muslim Immigration
Donald Trump Proposed Restricting All Muslim Entry Into The U.S., Citing Faulty Polling From Group Linked To SPLC-Labeled Notorious Islamophobe. In a press release posted to his campaign website, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” In an attempt to justify his proposal, Trump cited a misleading poll from Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy claiming that "'25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad' and 51% of those polled, 'agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.'" The poll received widespread condemnation across the political spectrum, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled Gaffney “one of America's most notorious Islamophobes.” [DonaldJTrump.com, 12/7/15, Media Matters, 12/7/15]