Fox allows attacks on Prophet Muhammed and Islam
Sent by Maria Siddiqui
Sean Hannity fails to challenge Pat Robertson's Islamophobic rhetoric
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/19/02) - CAIR today expressed concern about what it says is a pattern of anti-Muslim bias by Fox News Channel citing Wednesday night's "Hannity & Colmes" program as an example of how the network promotes anti-Muslim hate. On that program, host Sean Hannity seemed to encourage televangelist Pat Robertson in his venomous attack on Islam and on the Prophet Muhammad.
About the Prophet Muhammad, Robertson said: "This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they're carrying out Islam." Instead of challenging those hate-filled remarks, Hannity said: "Reverend, how widespread do you think that fanatical interpretation is? Do you think it's mainstream? Or do you think it's the majority of Muslims?"
After Robertson replied by calling Islam "a monumental scam," Hannity said: "So Islam is a threat bigger than what most people are willing to say publicly?... Do you think it's inevitable, then, that the world is going to be in conflict, perhaps even at war, with Islam for many decades to come?" In the program's second segment, Robertson said: "[The Quran, Islam's revealed text] is strictly a theft of Jewish theology…I mean, this man [Muhammad] was a killer. And to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent."
"Our office receives daily complaints from concerned Muslims and people of other faiths who say that, unlike other networks, Fox's news and views on Islam, Muslims or the Middle East are neither fair nor balanced. Venomous and hate-filled remarks like those made by Robertson, and Sean Hannity's failure to challenge those remarks, poison the minds of ordinary viewers and can incite acts of violence against American Muslims," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad added that in just the past month, there was a shooting attack on an Ohio mosque, vandalism at Islamic center under construction in Virginia and the revelation of a detailed plan to attack some 50 Florida mosques. He also called on American religious and political leaders to repudiate defamatory attacks on the faith of Islam.
As other examples of the network's anti-Muslim bias, Awad cited Fox's inflammatory coverage of last Friday's "terror scare" in Florida, talk show host Bill O'Reilly's comparison of the Quran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the network's tendency to ambush and abuse those Muslims who do appear on its programs. He did however note that Fox's "On the Record" with host Greta Van Susteren often presents fair and balanced coverage of Muslims and Islam.
In a recent CAIR survey, 45 percent of Muslim respondents said Fox News was the media outlet that exhibited the most biased coverage of Islam and Muslims. CAIR is seeking to counter anti-Muslim hate in American society with its Library Project, a campaign to encourage Muslim individuals and groups to sponsor 18-item "library packages" of books, videos and audio cassettes about Islam and Muslims for distribution to as many as 16,000 public libraries nationwide. The package contains books such as "Muhammad," a biography of the Prophet Muhammad by Yahiya Emerick. SEE: www.libraryproject.org
ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE. Fox is likely to use hostile comments to further harm the image of Islam and Muslims.) Contact Fox to request that they offer fair and balanced coverage of issues related to Islam, and that the network not promote or encourage Muslim-bashers such as Robertson.
Mr. Roger Ailes, Chief Executive Officer, Fox News Channel, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, Lowr C1, New York, NY 10036-8701
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Write to express your views to Fox News
*Required Text: This text will be automatically included in your message.*
I am writing to express my grave concern at Fox New Channel's consistent pandering to anti-Islamic bigotry. Fox News regularly provides a welcoming and hospitable platform for unchallenged hate speech directed at Muslims and Islam. At the same time, Muslim guests are frequently harassed, bullied and insulted.
*Optional Text: You may edit the text below (or add your own.)*
Fox News hosts such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly frequently host guests who hold views that are full of hate and malice. If Fox News invited guests that expressed similarly bigoted views about other faith groups, it would never accept and encourage them.
While these individuals are free to express their opinions, the fact that Fox News hosts rarely challenge, and frequently encourage these views is extremely distressing. Fox News is directly contributing to a climate of fear and hate directed at America's Muslim and Arab communities.
In the past few weeks alone Mosques have been vandalized and shot at, three medical students were falsely accused of being terrorists, and a man in Florida was found with weapons, explosives and detailed plans for blowing up nearly 50 Islamic centers and schools.
If Fox News wishes to host guests who hold such odious views, then it should at least have the decency to push genuine debate and discussion, rather than endorse religious and racial chauvinism
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