||The Independent and Daily Mail today both cover the twitter messages posted by a Fox News presenter, Erik Rush, in response to the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon on Sunday.
Rush, in a reactionary move, appeared to be blaming Saudis for the attack tweeting:
“@erikrush Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let's bring more Saudis in without screening them! C'mon! #bostonmarathon.”
Responding to a tweet asking if he was blaming Muslims, Rush replied:
“Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.”
Rush also responded to tweeters whom he considered ‘Islamist apologists’ writing:
“It's nice to see all the Islamist apologists standing up for those who would waste them in a heartbeat.”
The Independent draws attention to other articles written by Rush, including one titled ‘Yes, Islam is an enemy’ from September 2012 in which he wrote:
“Islam has never played well with others, and this is because it is a worldview with a creed, dogma and religious aspects, rather than a religion per se. All of these militate against its tolerance of divergent societies and cultures.
“This is truth: Both the political left and Islamists in America have been exploiting the First Amendment and Americans’ generous nature in order to conquer us.”
CAIR has urged its readers to contact Fox News urging that Rush be dropped from their scheduling. That Rush has continued in his post so long is perhaps an indication of how diligent Fox is in screening individuals invited onto its channel.
In the aftermath of Anders Breivik’s attacks in Norway in 2011, media coverage – including a Sun front page declaring ‘Norway’s 9/11’ – was quick to point the finger of blame at Al-Qaida linked terrorists. The hashtag ‘blamethemuslims’, created by Sanum Ghafoor, partly in response to media coverage of Breivik’s attacks, intelligently mocked the rush to presume Muslims as guilty of all such atrocities.
Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian referred to the “rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim was palpable and unseemly, even without any real evidence.
“The New York Post quickly claimed that the prime suspect was a Saudi national (while also inaccurately reporting that 12 people had been confirmed dead). The Post's insinuation of responsibility was also suggested on CNN by Former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend ("We know that there is one Saudi national who was wounded in the leg who is being spoken to"). Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman went on CNN to grossly speculate that Muslim groups were behind the attack. Anti-Muslim bigots like Pam Geller predictably announced that this was "Jihad in America". Expressions of hatred for Muslims, and a desire to do violence, were then spewing forth all over Twitter (some particularly unscrupulous partisan Democrat types were identically suggesting with zero evidence that the attackers were right-wing extremists).”
Noting that the perpetrators could well turn out to be Muslims, but just as well not, Greenwald makes a pertinent point in raising the lasting consequences of uninformed, finger-pointing for Muslim communities:
“[T]he damage from this relentless and reflexive blame-pinning endures”.
In research published last year, Tung Yin explored the tendency to ‘blame the Muslims’ for terrorist incidents in knee-jerk fashion. Yin argued that the “undue temptation” to assume that perpetrators of any new apparent act of terrorism are probably Muslims reinforces racial profiling prejudices and leads to Muslims paying a “racial tax” as a result of such biased perceptions.
Terrorism is not owned by any one ideology or creed, as the facts and successive analyses makes clear. Perhaps it is time for those responsible for shaping public discourses and policy on terrorism to question the dangerous implications of their simplistic, biased assumptions.
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