On Wednesday morning, Fox News used its biggest megaphone to amplify an attention-starved congressman’s bad faith charge against Rep. Ilhan Omar: that, in remarks before the Council on American-Islamic Relations, she characterized the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something.”
That this is a willful misreading of her fuller point—that all Muslims in America have faced violence, intimidation, and discrimination as a result of the actions of a small group of extremists—shouldn’t surprise you. But still, this morning’s New York Post cover should take you aback:
Is the Post—owned, like Fox News, by Rupert Murdoch—whispering in the ears of extremists everywhere? Whatever your thoughts on that, this has already gone entirely too far, and is likely to only pick up steam.
The irony is that this narrative around Omar’s remarks is proving her exact point—bigots began widely equating terrorists with all Muslims after 9/11, but ask us not to do the same if the terrorist is white—so cutting off Omar’s remarks to make it seem like she was minimizing the attacks fits an Islamophobic narrative already entrenched on the right.
Omar’s response to fellow congressman Dan Crenshaw correctly accused him of “dangerous incitement.” Just last weekend, a New York man was charged with threatening to assault and kill her. Omar has been an outspoken progressive during her brief tenure in Congress, along with her colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and as a result, they’ve received a torrent of death threats. Couple that with the disdain her critics also feel for a Muslim woman speaking out, and you have a noxious, combustible gas. This needs to stop, right now, before someone gets hurt.