Following a series of attacks in North America carried out by suspects with reported beliefs in religious extremism, Fox News figures have called for more aggressive stop-and-frisk policies, profiling of Muslims, and the surveillance of mosques.
Series Of Attacks In North America Linked To Extremism
Ottawa Shooting Is Third Deadly Assault On People In Uniform In North America In A Week. The New York Times reported that a fatal shooting near the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on October 22 was the week's third deadly assault on people in uniform in North America, “by individuals who have professed affinity for radical Islam or sympathy for militant ideology.” [The New York Times, 10/23/14]
Hatchet Attack, Ottawa Shooting Potentially Connected By Radical Islamist Ideology. CNN reported that the October 24 attack on New York City police officers by a man wielding a hatchet was “carried out by a self-radicalized convert to Islam in what officials Friday termed a terrorist attack.” CNN speculated about a potential connection between the October 24 attack to the October 22 shooting in Ottawa, Canada, noting the Ottawa gunman “had connections to jihadists who shared a radical Islamist ideology.” [CNN, 10/26/14]
Fox Uses Series Of Attacks To Advocate For Profiling Of Muslims, Mosque Surveillance, Stop-And-Frisk
Host Of Fox's Outnumbered Laments New York City Policy Prohibiting Stop-And-Frisk And “Spying Into Mosques.” On the October 27 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros and frequent Fox guest Bo Dietl lamented New York City policies that prohibit stop-and-frisk and “spying into mosques,” arguing that such policies could have prevented the October hatchet attack in New York City. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/27/14]
Fox's O'Reilly: “Every American Police Department” Should Monitor Mosques. During the October 27 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly discussed the recent string of “lone wolf” extremist attacks by calling for President Obama to put in place a program similar to the NYPD's abandoned Muslim mosque surveillance program. Claiming that the country “need[s] protection,” O'Reilly demanded that a similar program be put in place at “every American police department.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/27/14]
Fox's Allen West: Mosques That Attackers Attend “Have To Be Shut Down.” On October 23, Fox News contributor Allen West argued that all mosques or Islamic centers attended by anyone who commits an attack “have to be shut down,” calling them “snake pits of sedition” :
WEST: But I think, Audrey, the real thing that we're going to have to do is the mosques and Islamic Centers where these individuals are attending, when they commit these acts, we gotta shut 'em down. We have to send a message. The imam that's at that mosque or Islamic Center is deported. That place of so-called worship, which is just proselytizing, you know, hate and violence, they have to be shut down. I think that's the only way we send a message into the Muslim communities here in Western Civilization that we're not going to tolerate it. We're not going to tolerate these snake pits of sedition that are, you know, popping up all over the place.
We're not saying, you know, we start shutting down mosques and Islamic Centers. But the ones who are feeding us these violent jihadists, they need to be the ones that are shut down. Like I said, the imams, the mullahs that are there running these mosques and centers, they need to be deported. Because we have to say, this is, you know, a zero-sum game. We're not tolerating it. [Media Matters, 10/24/14]
Fox Guest: "It Is Absolutely Essential" To Monitor Muslims. On the October 23 edition of The Kelly File, National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy responded to the recent hatchet attack in New York City by calling for a return to the NYPD's previous surveillance of the Muslim community. Claiming that these programs had proved successful post 9/11, McCarthy went on to assert that “nobody has ever been targeted simply for being a Muslim.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 10/23/14]
NYC's Stop-And-Frisk And Surveillance Of Muslims Were Widely Criticized, Ineffectual
Federal Judge Ruled That NYC's Stop-And-Frisk Is Unconstitutional. In August 2013, a federal judge ruled that New York City's stop-and-frisk practices “violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city,” according to The New York Times:
[T]he judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department resorted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling” as it increased the number of stops in minority communities. That has led to officers' routinely stopping “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”
In her 195-page decision, Judge Scheindlin concluded that the stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. [The New York Times, 8/12/13]
Stop-And-Frisk Found To Be Largely Ineffective. A report by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), using 12 years of data, found that the rise of stop-and-frisk did not lead to a decline in shootings and murders. According to The Washington Post:
The NYCLU report documents the racial imbalance that has made the policy so divisive in New York and other cities where the practice has contributed to animosity between minority communities and law enforcement. But the ACLU accounting also points to other data that undermine the rationale for stop-and-frisk: It yielded few weapons when officials justified the policy as a way to reduce shootings and recover guns; in more than 5 million stops, police recovered a gun less than 0.02 percent of the time. And as the NYPD ramped up the number of stops, shootings and murders in the city did not appear to correspondingly decline. [The Washington Post, 8/21/14]
NYPD's Muslim Surveillance Program Was Criticized By FBI Official, Civil Rights Groups. A now-abandoned NYPD program called the Demographics Unit that relied on profiling and surveillance of Muslim American communities “drew criticism from civil rights groups and a senior official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who said they harmed national security by sowing mistrust for law enforcement in Muslim communities,” according to The New York Times:
The Demographics Unit was one aspect of a broad intelligence-gathering effort. In addition, informants infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses and collected the names, phone numbers and addresses of those who attended. Analysts trawled college websites and email groups to keep tabs on Muslim scholars and who attended their lectures.
The police also designated entire mosques as suspected “terrorism enterprises,” a label that the police claimed allowed them to collect the license plate numbers of every car in mosque parking lots, videotape worshipers coming and going, and record sermons using informants wearing hidden microphones.
The F.B.I. is prohibited, however, from eavesdropping on and documenting innocuous conversations that would be protected by the First Amendment. F.B.I. lawyers in New York determined years ago that agents could not receive documents from the Demographics Unit without violating federal rules. [The New York Times, 4/15/14]
AP: Surveillance Of Muslim Communities “Never Generated A Lead Or Triggered A Terrorism Investigation.” The Associated Press found, in a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning reports, that the NYPD's spying on Muslim communities appeared to be fruitless:
In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department's secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.
The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.
Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they'd know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.
But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case. [Associated Press, 8/21/12]