Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Fox News Smears Muslim Congressman w/ Fake “Terrorism Expert”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who, in 2006 was elected as America’s first Muslim member of Congress, completed his  first hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca during Ramadan.  The hajj is one the pillars of Islamic faith and Ellison’s trip was paid for by the Muslim Society of America which has had good relations with the Minnesota Council of Churches and the St. Paul Police Department, according to this report in the Minnesota Independent.  The article at the link says that Fox News (“Fixed Noise”) used a discredited “terrorism expert” named Steven Emerson to use Ellison’s association with the Muslim Society of America to question Ellison’s loyalty/patriotism and the sincerity of the purpose for his trip to Mecca. 

Who is Steven Emerson?  This is the same self-declared “terrorism expert” who attacked Ellison when first elected for choosing to take the oath of office using a copy of the Qu’ran rather than the Bible.  (The actual congressional oath-taking ceremony involves no holy books, but most freshmen Congressfolk use a Bible in a private reenactment for family members.) Ellison sought to defuse the criticism by using a copy of the Qu’ran that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.  (This late ’06/early ’07 dust-up was also the origin of the false accusations that Pres.-elect Obama plans to be sworn in using a Qu’ran! Part of the “secret Muslim” falsehood.)

Emerson has previously been accused of plagiarism in writing about downed Pan-Am flight 103.  After the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in the ’90s, he said that it definitely showed “Middle Eastern” tendencies because it was calculated to take maximum number of lives.  Of course, it turned out the terrorists were home-grown whites.  The article showed a number of other claims that Emerson has gotten dead wrong.

Now Emerson claims that the Muslim Society of America is the Islamic equivalent of “the Neo-Nazi Party.”  Let’s be clear: unsavory and extremist groups often hide in legitimate religious charities as a way to mask more nefarious activities.  During the decades of fighting in Northern Ireland, Irish Republican Army terrorists were often funded by U.S. based Catholic charities.  Balkan terrorists have used Orthodox Christian charities for cover. 

So, it’s possible that there are legitimate criticisms to be leveled at the Muslim Society of America and Rep. Ellision. But, if so, Fox News should have found a credible source and not a discredited hack like Emerson.  But, then, if they did responsible journalism, they wouln’ be Fox News.

January 10, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment

  1. Ah, and what is new in Fox land?

    Comment by Bob Cornwall | January 12, 2009

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