Fox News host Andrea Tantaros is drawing fire for these comments, made on Outnumbered:
[This has been happening] "for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you study the history of Islam…this isn't a surprise. You can't solve it with a dialogue. You can't solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It's the only thing these people understand."
Two important stipulations: (1) Terrible violence has been inflicted in the name of religion -- and certainly not just Islam -- throughout human history. In the 20th century alone, an explicitly atheist ideology murdered tens of millions, too. (2) An overwhelming majority of the planet's Muslims today are peaceful non-extremists. I doubt Tantaros would dispute either of those points. Her remarks were in the context of a conversation about ISIS, the ultra-radical, stupefyingly brutal Islamist supremacist death cult. She was reacting to the decapitation of an American journalist. Her point about the history of Islam, including her discussion of the Barbary pirates, was that radicalized Muslims have been slaughtering and visiting violence and oppression upon 'infidels' for centuries. Her invocation of "these people," as I understood her, was clearly a reference to violent extremists, not all Muslims. But that's not what the Asian American Journalists Association heard, and they're insisting upon a mea culpa:
What we at the Asian American Journalists Association don’t understand is how the barbaric act of a terrorist group could be used to condemn and to smear an entire faith. Yet that’s precisely what Fox News host Andrea Tantaros did when she suggested in an 'Outnumbered' segment that aired Aug. 20 that all Muslims are like ISIS, the group purportedly behind the execution of Foley. “They’ve been doing this for hundreds and hundreds of years if you study the history of Islam,” she said. More alarmingly, Tantaros goes so far as to advocate violence. 'You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit,' she said. 'You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.' AAJA calls for Tantaros and Fox News to apologize for the irresponsible, inflammatory statements. We also call on Fox News to discourage its journalists from making blanket comments that serve to perpetuate hate and Islamophobia.
Perhaps the AAJA should work on its listening skills and review the importance of context when evaluating and repudiating comments. They've decided that Tantaros' "history of Islam" sentence fragment is the key to understanding her true intent, rather than the subject matter of the entire segment. Furthermore, it's not "Islamophobia" to draw attention to the terrifying realities of radical Islam. One could even argue it's more Islamophobic to hear stark denunciations of Islamist violence as an attack on the broader religion. It's also simply a fact that the large preponderance of faith-hijacking terrorism today is the province of Islam -- from ISIS to Al Qaeda to Boko Haram to Hamas. It's not bigotry for Westerners to recognize that empirical reality, nor is it beyond the pale to comment on the fact that more Muslims in the West have marched against Israel's military campaign responding to aggression from Hamas terrorists than have taken to the streets to protest ISIS' savagery -- which is being conducted in the name of their religion. (Which is not to say that no Muslims have done so; some have). Indeed, pro-ISIS rallies have been held in European cities, and an anti-ISIS march in the Netherlands was disrupted by rock-throwing Muslims. One need not impute radicalism to most Muslim people to accurately point out that Islam has, and has had for some time, a violence problem that has the tacit or active support of a frighteningly sizable minority of Muslims worldwide. I'll leave you with these comments from Bill Maher, who got in trouble for making this exact point in a tweet: