Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro is trying to use Islamophobia to make Americans fear Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). In the opening segment of her show Saturday night, the fear-mongering former judge tried to connect Omar’s hijab to sharia law, which she said is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”
Omar has recently been under attack for making anti-Israel remarks, which many have conflated with anti-Semitism. She also apologized for a tweet that evoked an anti-Semitic trope. But Fox News and other conservative media have been all too happy to misconstrue her remarks to paint Omar as anti-American because she does not unequivocally support the Israeli state. And they’ve been using anti-Muslim stereotypes to do it.
Pirro told her audience: “This is not who your party is. Your party is not anti-Israel, she is. Think about this. She is not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran, 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution?”
“I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American,” Pirro said in a statement following the publication of this article. “My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution. I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” a rep for FOX News said in a statement. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
This type of Islamophobia is not new, but it has ramped up ever since 9/11. As NBC News reported, anti-sharia law legislation has been introduced in 43 states in the U.S. just since 2010, despite the fact that none of these places are at risk of sharia law being implemented. And sharia law is not what many Americans have been led to believe it is. As law professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes wrote in the Washington Post, “Sharia is not a book of statutes or judicial precedent imposed by a government, and it’s not a set of regulations adjudicated in court. Rather, it is a body of Koran-based guidance that points Muslims toward living an Islamic life.”
But, sadly, the facts don’t matter on Fox News. All this drummed-up “fear” of sharia law is nothing but a statement to Muslims: you are not welcome here.
Which is exactly Pirro’s point: to her and the viewers of Fox News, Islam is antithetical to America. And therefore, according to Pirro’s logic, Rep. Omar is antithetical to America. It’s disgusting and, frankly, Pirro’s view is the one that is against the Constitution, whose First Amendment protects the right of Americans to worship freely.