Doreen Carvajal for The New York Times: “Mockery is a national weapon in France, so when an American cable news channel raised false alarms about rampant lawlessness in some Paris neighborhoods — proclaiming them “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, avoided even by the police — a popular French television show rebutted the claims the way it best knew how: with satire, spoofs and a campaign of exaggeration and sarcasm.” (NYTimes)
“Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to sue Fox News for its inaccurate reports on Muslim “no
go zones,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo told Amanpour in an interview. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”
When asked to clarify which network she planned “to take to court and sue,” Hidalgo replied: “Fox News, that’s the name.”
May 30, 2014
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it has asked the Fox subsidiary FX Networks for a meeting to discuss community concerns about potential Islamophobic stereotyping in the upcoming series “Tyrant” due to air June 24.
According to the network, “Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation.”
In a letter to FX CEO John Landgraf, CAIR wrote in part:
“Because of these [community] concerns, we respectfully request an opportunity to view and comment on the series content prior to its air date. We also request a meeting at your convenience between FX representatives and leaders of the American Muslim community to discuss ways in which we can help mitigate the possible negative impact of this series on the lives of ordinary American Muslims…
“We have no desire to inhibit the creative process or your right to produce any entertainment content you wish. However, it is our duty to defend the safety of the American Muslim community and help ensure the accurate portrayal of Muslims and Islam.”
The letter also noted that CAIR has challenged actual and potential anti-Muslim stereotypes in productions such as ABC Family network’s “Alice in Arabia,” “Executive Decision,” “24,” “The Siege,” “True Lies,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Obsession,” “The Third Jihad,” “Jihad in America,” and “The Sum of All Fears.”
April 17, 2014
Former Republican Congressman Allen West (R-FL), who is currently employed as a Fox News contributor, on Thursday warned that Muslims were organizing to “destroy” the United States by exercising their legal right to vote.
Fox News host Steve Doocy began a Fox & Friends segment with West by announcing that “radical Islamists are busy building a voting bloc to sneak the political agenda into the American system… Their goal: to wage jihad from within.”
West explained that a group of Muslim Americas had written a document in 1991, “and we come to find out it’s the blueprint, the campaign strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States of America.”
The former congressman pointed to groups like Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Society of Northern America as his prime suspects.
“They’re forming some type of political party, a voting bloc as they call it,” West said.
West, however, did not explain how he intended to stop Muslims from using their constitutional voting rights to wage “jihad” on the country.
December 2, 2013
Fox News is warning viewers about a YMCA swim class for Muslim girls, suggesting that it’s a bad sign of the “minority becoming the majority.”
A YMCA in St. Paul, Minnesota recently teamed up with the St. Paul Police Department to offer a swim class for Somali-American girls. The class respects the girls’ religious beliefs, and Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the need for the program and its success.
Fox News saw it differently. “The minority becoming the majority at one community pool,” newsreader Heather Nauert said on Monday’s “Fox and Friends.” “Sharia law is now changing everything.”
“This means during the one hour class, the pool is being shut down,” she said. “The men’s locker room is being locked and female life guards are being brought in. Similar classes are now starting at towns across the Midwest. We’ll keep watching this story for you.”
The National Report strikes again.
The satirical website, which is less obviously satirical than the Onion (and some would say far less funny) fooled Fox News host Anna Kooimaninto believing its fake story that President Barack Obama was using personal funds to keep a Muslim museum open during the government shutdown.
Of course this juxtaposed perfectly against a story of veterans being denied entry into the World War II memorial, which was probably the National Report’s goal all along.
Arizona Senator John McCain pushed back against Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, and their earlier guest Laura Ingraham, strongly announcing that he was not “bailing out” PresidentBarack Obama, and that the Syrian Free Army was not comprised of Muslim extremists, but moderates whom the U.S. should be arming.
Host Brian Kilmeade played a clip of Syrian rebels yelling, “Allahu Akbar” after shooting down a fighter jet, and wondered if McCain, who had met with Syrian rebels, was comfortable supporting an army that might contain “Muslim extremists.”
“I have a problem helping those people if they’re screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said.
McCain was flabbergasted. “You have a problem with that? Would you have a problem with an American, a Christian, saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on. Of course they’re Muslims. But they’re moderates, and I guarantee you that they are moderates. I know them and I’ve been with them. For someone to say ‘Allahu Akbar’ is about as offensive as someone saying ‘thank God.’”
“The Muslims are coming!” That is the tongue-in-cheek name of a new documentary by Muslim comedians. But it is also the deadly serious shriek echoing through the American right in response to the launch of Al Jazeera America. Like Dr. Emmett Brown’s distraught warning that bazooka-wielding Arab terrorists are stalking the palatial suburbs (“The Libyans!”), conservatives are in a full-on frenzy, insinuating that Al Jazeera’s entry into the U.S. cable television market is akin to an invasion by a foreign menace and, thus, represents an existential threat to U.S. national security.
Now, to the hypocrisy: If the jingoistic anti-Al Jazeera saber rattlers are so angry about media outlets with foreign owners coming to the United States, where is their outrage when it comes to similar media-expansion efforts by entities connected to other countries?
For example, Australian citizen Rupert Murdoch began buying up major American newspapers like the San Antonio News-Express and the New York Post. Murdoch only became a U.S. citizen in 1985 — and that was in order to circumvent U.S. statutes restricting the amount of media a single foreign owner can control. Why aren’t the anti-Al Jazeera jingoists expressing concern that Murdoch represents a dangerous foreign infiltration of the U.S. media market?
Additionally, in a society where the ugliest Islamophobia is still pervasive, the right wing is also using the launch of Al Jazeera America as yet another excuse to manufacture a spectacle of anti-Muslim bigotry and to vilify anything with ties to Muslims — even a news organization whose international branch has won esteemed awards for its objective journalism.
In that larger campaign of Islamophobia, when ties to Muslims are found among the right’s own institutions — say, the aforementioned Saudi royal family’s connections to Fox News — conservatives are often willing to direct their Islamophobia elsewhere, as long as the institution in question loyally champions conservative political ideology and Islamophobia, which, of course, Fox News most certainly does.
In a recent interview heard round the world (or at least, round influential Twitter feeds), the Fox News host Lauren Green spoke to Reza Aslan about his new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Ms. Green’s focus on why Mr. Aslan, a Muslim, would write about Jesus, created a stir on social media (and traditional media), bringing more attention to the book, which was already on The New York Times best-seller list.
“Zealot” argues that the historical Jesus was a Jewish revolutionary interested in overthrowing Roman rule in Palestine, not in establishing a celestial kingdom, and that he would not have understood the idea of being God incarnate. In a recent phone interview, Mr. Aslan discussed the strong reactions to his book, his desire to reach a Christian audience, the difficulty of writing about ancient history and more. Below are edited excerpts from the conversation:
BEFORE “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Gospel of Judas,” before Mel Gibson’s “Passion” and Martin Scorsese’s “Last Temptation,” before the Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed and the Gnostic gospels rediscovered, there was a German scholar named Hermann Samuel Reimarus.
Today there are enough competing “real Jesuses” that it’s hard for a would-be Strauss to find his Shaftesbury. Which is why every reinterpreter of Jesus not named Dan Brown is probably envious of Reza Aslan, the Iranian-born academic and author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” who achieved Strauss-style liftoff thanks to 10 painful minutes on Fox News.
Those minutes were spent with the interviewer, Lauren Green, asking Aslan to explain why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus — with Aslan coolly emphasizing his credentials and the non-Islamic nature of his argument — and then with Green asking variations on the Muslim question, to increasing offense and diminishing returns.
The video quickly went viral, turning Aslan into a culture-war icon, a martyr to Fox’s biases … and soon enough (as these things tend to go) a martyr with a No. 1 best seller.
The irony is that Aslan’s succès de scandale would be more deserved if he had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus. That would have been something provocative and — to Western readers — relatively new.
Instead, Aslan’s book offers a more engaging version of the argument Reimarus made 250 years ago. His Jesus is an essentially political figure, a revolutionary killed because he challenged Roman rule, who was then mysticized by his disciples and divinized by Paul of Tarsus.