There is no political attack too low for MSNBC. Don’t believe me? Check out this despicable propaganda that was spewed by MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan on Sunday night.
Hasan dedicated the last two segments of his show to the tragic killing of a Muslim family in London, Ontario last week. Instead of covering it like a normal, mentally stable person would do, Hasan decided to blame Republicans and former President Trump for the murder:
So yet another tragic reminder that Islamophobia is a murderous ideology, not just a bunch of offensive, or bigoted words, not just a cynical political device used by Republicans to rile up their base, it leads to violence. And yet these days, thanks partly to a certain former President and reality TV star, it's mainstream.
There is zero evidence that this incident was caused or inspired by Donald Trump, or any other politician on either side of the political aisle. This didn't even happen in the United States! The “Islamophobia” that Hasan likes to scream about every Sunday night has been in existence long before Trump was even born, and will be around long after President Trump is gone, presumably.
Later, Hasan went to a commercial break and then brought on Daily Beast writer Wajahat Ali to help him blame Republicans for attacks on Muslims. Hasan suggested Muslims in America are afraid for their lives, despite there being no evidence to justify that.
Ali responded by (predictably) blaming Trump and a “right-wing movement” dedicated to targeting Muslims:
You had President Trump who said that we, Muslims were a problem in need of a solution. And the solution they came up with is the Muslim ban until he can figure out what the hell is going on, right? He said I think Islam hates us, right? We see literally Ilhan Omar being the boogeyman, the trifecta, a black woman who wears Hijab, who’s a Muslim, and was a refugee being seen as a boogieman and based on her religion, and the fact that she wears hijab she is constantly vilified and attacked. So if you're a Muslim and you’re watching this, you say wow, there is an entire right wing movement, and a party that sees me as a problem in need of a solution. What is that solution? Oh, anti-sharia bills, oh, a Muslim ban, oh, look, some talking points that influence violent extremists who decide to drive into an innocent family in Canada to kill them because by seeing them and seeing a woman in a hijab, they see them as a threat. And so it terrifies us. Why would it not?
There was never a “Muslim ban” in the United States, and conservatives don’t care what faith Ilhan Omar practices, or whether she wears a Hijab or not. They care about what Omar says about the United States, and Israel. If she says something bigoted (like she normally does) she will be rightly condemned. Criticism of her has nothing to do with her religion.
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Read the transcript below by clicking "expand":
The Mehdi Hasan Show
HASAN: On Tuesday, three generations of a Canadian Muslim family were wiped out in a brutal attack. Father and mother Salman Afzaal and Madiha Salman, daughter Yumna, and grandmother Talat were all killed when the driver of a pickup truck mowed them down at an intersection, while they were out for an evening walk in London, Ontario. Only nine year old son Fayez survived, and that poor kid is hospitalized with serious injuries. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rightly called the murders an act of terrorism. The Canadian police said they believe it was motivated by anti-Muslim hatred. So yet another tragic reminder that Islamophobia is a murderous ideology, not just a bunch of offensive, or bigoted words, not just a cynical political device used by Republicans to rile up their base, it leads to violence. And yet these days, thanks partly to a certain former President and reality TV star, it's mainstream. In fact, it's one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry in our politics and in our media. I mean, look around. It's everywhere, whether it's just from this past week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar getting piled on by her own Democratic colleagues for quote “giving cover to terrorist groups”, which I’m sorry is a classic Islamophobic trope. Or a guest on the far right cable channel NewsMax saying a Muslim high school student who said Allah during the pledge of allegiance should be criminally investigated. Allah simply means God in Arabic. When is this going to end? I am so tired of having to point this out. Islamophobia matters. Islamophobia kills. Hate speech is a real thing with real-world consequences. And if you think otherwise, if you think this is all some sort of defensive exercise in liberal woke excuse making, maybe you should go talk to a 9-year-old orphan in Canada. We'll be right back to talk more about this with author and playwright Wajahat Ali. Don't go away.
Politicians, especially but not only on the right, have spent years churning out Islamaphobic talking points. And the human cost of that rhetoric, well as writer Wajahat Ali puts it bluntly in a new piece for The Daily Beast, more murdered Muslims. Ali describes what happened to the Afzaal family as quote, “the same story with a different cast”. And he’s no stranger to this issue. He has been sounding alarm bells on Islamophobia for more than a decade. In 2011, he co wrote a landmark investigative report called “Fear Inc”, identifying and categorizing the network of well funded players behind the quote unquote islamophobia industry. Wajahat Ali, author of the forthcoming book "Go back to where you came from and other helpful recommendations on how to become American" joins me now. Wajhat, your groundbreaking report Fear Inc. was released a decade ago. Would you say islamophobia in that period has gotten better or worse?
WAJAHAT ALI: It's been mainstreamed. It's been weaponized. It's been manufactured by the right wing and now has been globalized and has inspired right wing movements from here to Canada to Europe and also inspired right wing extremists, terrorists, because this hate, Mehdi is not cost free. If you don’t believe me talk to 9-year-old who lost his family, his family in London, Canada had the crime of simply being Muslim. They were at a intersection, crossing the street. And a 20-year-old man decided to plow into them with his pickup truck because he saw them as the enemy. Let us not forget that the President of the United States Donald Trump, two years ago when it came to the midterms decided to run on only one talking point, Mehdi, that there was an invasion, a caravan of invaders were coming at the border of Middle Easterners and Muslims and immigrants. Well what happened in 2018 during the midterms? Robert Bowers went and killed 11 people at a synagogue. Cause he wanted to punish the Jews for bringing in the invaders. Well what happened a couple months later in New Zealand? A terrorist, Brenton Terrant, killed 51 Muslims in New Zealand and he echoed the same talking points and said that Donald Trump is a renewed symbol of white identity and a renewed symbol of white purpose, right? So why are these extremists who come from this ideological infrastructure so influenced by these talking points that now we see openly said by Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson
ALI: And like you just mentioned, this week on NewsMax.
HASAN: In your Daily Beast piece, Waj, you ask where will it happen next time? A note that this is a question Muslims across communities in America and Europe are raising right now. Wondering when this type of violence can reach their doorsteps. Can you explain to people watching how real this fear is for ordinary American Muslims and Canadian Muslims?
ALI: You had President Trump who said that we, Muslims were a problem in need of a solution. And the solution they came up with is the Muslim ban until he can figure out what the hell is going on, right? He said I think Islam hates us, right? We see literally Ilhan Omar being the boogeyman, the trifecta, a black woman who wears Hijab, who’s a Muslim, and was a refugee being seen as a boogieman and based on her religion, and the fact that she wears hijab she is constantly vilified and attacked. So if you're a Muslim and you’re watching this, you say wow, there is an entire right wing movement, and a party that sees me as a problem in need of a solution. What is that solution? Oh, anti-sharia bills, oh, a Muslim ban, oh, look, some talking points that influence violent extremists who decide to drive into an innocent family in Canada to kill them because by seeing them and seeing a woman in a hijab, they see them as a threat. And so it terrifies us. Why would it not? If you were..
ALI: If this was happening to you in your community would you not be afraid?
HASANl: And they say it's just speech. It's just words. It's ideas. We should be able to debate this stuff, even though there are very vicious real world consequences. Waj, It's easy to say islamophobia is just a right wing problem, but that's not true is it? Liberals have pushed some pretty Islamophobic talking points and tropes over the years too. You just mentioned Ilhan Omar. She got accused by her Democratic colleagues this week of giving cover to terrorist groups, a pretty outrageous claim to make. So what is your message to a liberal audience watching who they think this is an issue that isn't for us?
ALI: This hate isn’t cost free. This hate has been internationalized. This hate unites bigots, regardless of their ethnicity or their political allegiances. I'll give you one quick example. Bill Maher who literally repeats all the Islamophobic talking points that you'll hear on Fox News. He has been doing it for years. Yet Democrats always go on his show. Rarely call him out on it, right? Who is the one person who came out on his show and called him out? Batman, Ben Affleck, right? He literally Bill Maher says Islam is a motherload of bad ideas. “Their culture is worse than ours”. That extremist Islam is mainstream Islam. And this is, he has a show on HBO. He has not been canceled. And so far liberals love his show, and they don't check him. And so I want liberals like Chuck Schumer, who literally praised Peter King, one of the leading Islamophobes, a Republican, remember that? When he retired two years ago, praised him!
HASAN: Good point, yep!
ALI: A man who held these radicalization hearings on Muslims, one of the most leading anti-Muslim bigots. I wish Chuck Schumer would spend half as much time, or maybe even one tweet defending Ilhan Omar. Because the rest of us are seeing how they don’t defend her and that means they're not going to defend us.
HASAN: Just to be clear, I think it was Sam Harris another Liberal on that Bill Maher show with Batman who said Islam was the mother load of bad ideas. Maher said something like it was the Mafia, I think he compared us to.
ALI: They'll kill you, that’s what he said
HASAN: Before we run out of time, I've got to ask this question. A lot of people say I'm criticizing Islam. Don't call me a racist. Islam, Muslims are not a race. What is your response to that classic argument that is put forward?
ALI: I don't have time for this mental linguistic gymnastics, I don’t have time for this foolishness. Right? Just like when people say “oh, I'm not homophobic, I’m just saying” or I'm not anti-Semitic. I’m not against the Semitic people. Ok, call it for what it is. You don't like islamophobia? Anti-Muslim bigotry. That’s what it is. You're being a hater and your hateful rhetoric, and your hateful conspiracy theories are having a cost, a negative cost and a deadly cost. And if you don't think it has a deadly cost, tell that 9-year-old boy who’s severely injured right in the hospital, tell him that your rhetoric is not cost-free. Tell him as he’s going to wake up and realize he's lost his mother, he has lost his father, he has lost his sister and he has lost his grandmother. Tell him that.
HASAN: It's outrageous. And the guy who allegedly ran the truck into them wasn’t thinking about well, I disagree with this aspect of Islamist theology, he was running over a Muslim looking brown family. I think you’ve pointed this out before, as have I that after 9/11 the first person in America killed in a hate crime was a Sikh gags station attendant. I think his name was Balvier Singh Sodi who was killed because he had a turban on, by a guy who wanted to hit a Muslim after 9/11. So you're right to point out that we shouldn't engage in these mental gymnastics. Wajahat, thanks for writing your piece in The Daily Beast. We need to call this out much more than we do. Appreciate you taking out time tonight.