The Islamization of Minnesota Media

0
180

Download (PDF, 1.22MB)

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the U.S. branch of HAMAS, a designated foreign terrorist organization; notwithstanding, CAIR has turned into the go-to source on all matters Muslim for much of American media. In this, Minnesota media are not different than any other, only worse. Much worse. It’s become evident that media outlets in the state, primarily the Twin Cities, increasingly refract each and every story about Muslims generally, and Minnesota ones specifically, through the prism of a CAIR press release or its invidious Islamic agenda. One of the more mindless in this regard has been Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

The usual caveats to MPR always apply: taxpayer-funded promulgator of liberal narratives, comfort zone of the intellectually incurious, and whenever circumstances warrant.

It was still somewhat of a shock when Tom Weber agreed to serve as Master of Ceremonies for CAIR’s 9th Annual Banquet in 2016 at the Minneapolis Marriott NW. It’s accepted that people in media function in a variety of roles outside their primary platform, but in doing so Weber, and explicitly MPR, gave its imprimatur to a group named by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial. He did so on top of his employer having given its listeners and readers no real understanding of what CAIR actually is or how, given its terror connections, those accurately informed have a very different understanding of it.

A good summary of CAIR’s terrorist links, and its retribution against critics, is the Investigative Project’s “CAIR Exposed.”[1] Members of the Minnesota media would do well to read that piece, as well as the longer, linked report on CAIR, if they care at all for informed reporting.

MPR made a point of touting its choice when it hired Mukhtar Ibrahim in January 2011. Unfortunately, when he Tweeted something that specifically mentioned CAIR and this reporter responded with information about CAIR’s terror connections, he swiftly resorted to blocking.

Nothing objectionable to the CAIR perspective is ever to be found in MPR’s coverage of Islam and Muslims in America, no matter the gravity of the circumstances, including jihad terror attacks. It seems likely that neither MPR’s management nor beat reporters in fact know very much about Islam, Muslims, or CAIR. As even a moderately diligent journalist would have no difficulty in finding plentiful factual information about such topics, it must be concluded that, in Minnesota at least, there is less than a full commitment to accuracy when it comes to topics relating to Islam either within Minnesota or the world outside the state’s borders.

The CAIR contagion has spread to the Star Tribune, as well, perhaps in an effort to keep up with politically correct virtue signaling. Again, the same intellectual impoverishment exists there and the most anodyne stories devoid of anything approaching substance are routinely churned out.

Popularizing Islamic Coverings for Women

Efforts to normalize, mainstream, and indeed celebrate, repressive Islamic coverings for women are widespread in Minnesota media. Two examples suffice to show the uncritical coverage of what is, in fact, religious, institutionalized misogyny.

The first involves two young Muslim women in Saint Cloud wearing the all-encompassing “burkini.” The headlines give a sense of the flattering media praise. “St. Cloud swimmers break barriers for Muslim girls in sports,” cheered MPR. It went on to note “[t]hey’ve gotten statewide attention as trailblazers who are challenging traditions in a sport many Muslim girls have shied away from.”[2]

MPR added “One obstacle that often keeps Muslim girls out of the pool is the religious requirement of modest clothing.” The swim team’s head coach helped the young girls go online and find “full-body swimsuits with a head covering.”[3]

While undoubtedly a nice gesture, this wasn’t enough. No, in an instructive detail of local culture having to adjust to a newly-imported culture, the team captains (purportedly) changed the entire team’s swimsuits from the traditional ones of the high school–red, white and blue–to black ones that more closely matched the color of the burkinis. The team’s swimwear was changed to accommodate Islamic restrictions against women. Dhimmitude happens by degrees.

The embarrassing, saturation coverage over a young Muslim woman in Saint Cloud competing in a beauty pageant, burkini-clad, is another example of Minnesota media’s approach to covering anything Islamic.

In November 2016, Halima Aden wore a hijab and a burkini while competing in the Miss Minnesota contest. The St. Cloud Times fairly swooned: “Aden was the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the competition, making history for the Minnesota pageant and launching herself overnight into stardom, despite not winning the competition.” “After being accepted as a contestant in the pageant, Aden asked about wearing the burkini for her swimsuit portion” and received it.[4]

Aden reports that at the competition her mother “was a little shocked when she saw the bikinis and stuff, because she’s not used to that, and some of my other relatives who are older were like, ‘Aah!’ But I wanted them to see, it’s the American lifestyle. I want to embrace all sides of us. On one hand you are Minnesotan, but on the other hand, you are still Somali. It’s great to see both those worlds intermingle.”[5]

MN Media’s Selective Reporting

The problem, of course, is that there is no real assimilation or intermingling. Instead, there’s a fierce insistence on the part of the newly-arrived to demonstrate, through clothing in this instance, the unacceptability of showing the female form in public, per the harsh strictures of Islam.[6] This is what local media applauds and to voice a different perspective on the matter is to be labeled a bigot.
By contrast, anything that reflects badly on the favored group is reported once, if at all, and never again. Somali involvement in day care fraud is one good example.[7]Media reluctance to cover how Somali immigrants took criminal advantage of the Minnesota day care system is notable and would seem part of a pattern of such reluctance to report aggressively on immigrant, especially Muslim immigrant, criminality.

Ilhan Omar, who won her election as a Democratic Minnesota candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2018 election cycle, has been a darling of Minnesota media, the object of countless glowing stories emphasizing nothing so much as her being a Muslim trailblazer, and a “refugee” who won the lottery of life by being relocated to America. The far less appealing information about her alleged abuse of the immigration system to assure entry for her brother by committing bigamy and fraud gets short shrift by comparison.

Previously a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Omar was considered a shoo-in to Congress to succeed current Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), who won his November 2018 election for Attorney General of the state. Omar put together the monolithic Somali voting block, together with an assortment of liberal-leftist groups, in order to win the Democratic primary. Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District skews so solidly to the left that whoever wins the primary is expected to win the general election. In one sense, Omar succeeding Ellison is simply swapping one Islamic supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood for another.

Yet Omar’s profile may be expected to continue being raised by Minnesota media once she takes her seat in Congress in January 2019. One attention-getting issue likely to draw media focus is Omar’s demand that she be allowed to wear Islamic headgear on the floor of the House of Representatives. Before even being sworn in, Omar began making her demands, specifically that the longstanding rule banning the wearing of head coverings on the U.S. House floor be overturned so she can appear in her hijab. That change to a 181-year old rule is part of a package of rules changes introduced by Democrats, to be voted on in January 2019.

Additionally, Omar already has appeared on the cover of Timemagazine, been a guest on several late-night television shows, and is active on the CAIR fundraising circuit, both on behalf of herself as well as fellow Muslim candidates. Minnesota media consistently decline to report on these activities.[8]

Omar, however, allegedly has violated Minnesota House ethics rules by taking honoraria from schools that she oversees in one of her legislative capacities. Alpha Newswas the news outlet that broke the story and a fellow House member brought the violations to the wider public. The evidence is strong that Omar intentionally timed the filing of her disclosure reports with state authorities in order to avoid being found out while the legislature was in session.

She’s somewhat infamous, of course, for allegations of committing immigration fraud by marrying her brother. This too was a subject that local media only reluctantly covered, giving her every benefit of the doubt and not asking probing questions.

The best examination of her sham marriage came from Powerline’s Scott Johnson and Alpha News’ Preya Samsundar. The former has credited the latter with uncovering the strongest evidence that Omar married her brother by combing through various social media accounts. Those accounts were quickly deleted or made private when Samsundar’s reporting became known.

Virtually none of their reporting was picked up on by Minnesota media, which has a well-practiced technique of dealing with stories unfavorable to Islam or Muslims: such an issue typically is addressed only briefly and in a light most flattering to those involved, never to be revisited again except under the most dire circumstances.

In a similar vein, what Omar says on other media outlets is never picked up by the media closest to her. For example, after President Trump’s first State of the Union address in January 2018, she went on the far-left program “Democracy Now” and proclaimed the speech to be “fascist” and “outdated.” Her unhappiness apparently relates to any change in the immigration system that would reward merit instead of “family” ties.[9]

Before being groomed to be the friendly face of Minnesota CAIR, Omar tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and see the evil doings of Israel.” When this reporter brought the tweet to a wider audience, she declared the tweet that of a “sad and hateful” man and that being opposed to Israel wasn’t the same thing as antisemitism. She then went on to claim that Israel was an “apartheid state.” Those exchanges made The Tablet, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Haaretz, and the Jerusalem Post, as well as Robert Spencer’s “Jihad Watch.” Minnesota media ignored the matter entirely.

Omar and Sarsour: BFFs

The jihad-proclaiming Linda Sarsour is a friend of Ilhan Omar’s, but Minnesota media has a blackout on Sarsour, primarily to protect Omar. Not a single story about this national figure has appeared in any Minnesota media outlet except Alpha News, written by this author.

Sarsour is an American of Palestinian decent who became well-known due to her involvement in the Women’s March in January 2017. Her star, however, had been rising on the overtly racist, antisemitic far left for some time before then.

In July 2018, she called on American Muslims not to assimilate and to wage jihad against President Trump.[10] She is an unapologetic advocate for Islamic Law (shariah). The British Guardiantweeted that Sarsour “was a vocal surrogate for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary and a DNC delegate.”[11] “Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community, it is not to assimilate and please any other people and authority,” she has said.[12]By “authority,” Sarsour means the secular rule of U.S. Constitutional law. Per her own assertions, her authority is not U.S. law, but rather Islam and shariah. Sarsour’s determination to remain apart from the society of her birth would seem to be a point of pride with her. Sarsour’s entire remarks are on YouTube.[13] One has to go there to see them, because they aren’t to be found reported in any Minnesota media.
Nor was this an isolated performance. In 2014, Sarsour tweeted: “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And you’re worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.”

Sarsour’s reference here to “us” would seem to mean a country (the U.S.) which she urges her co-religionists to avoid joining.

An even darker edge to Sarsour’s mentality was revealed when she tweeted in 2011 that Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Brigitte Gabriel should have their vaginas removed. Sarsour said: “Brigitte=Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking for an a$$ whippin. I wish I could take their vaginas away–they don’t deserve to be women.”

Sarsour later deleted the tweet and denied it had ever come from her account. When she was confronted with a question challenging her, she said that it was a lie, the questioner was a white male, hence suspect, and this was all part of her persecution by reactionary forces. A YouTube video published by CAMERA On Campus nevertheless shows the exchange.[14]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali responded to Sarsour’s horrific tweet, saying Sarsour “is a defender of sharia law. And the principle of sharia law, there’s no principle that demeans, degrades and dehumanizes women more than the principle of sharia law. Linda Sarsour is not a defender of universal human rights. She is a defender of sharia law.”[15]

Late last year, Omar posted pictures of herself with Linda Sarsour online, positively glowing about the fact. They were attending a MOVE conference in November 2017 in Dearborn, Michigan, designed to “empower” Arab-Americans. Omar tweeted above a photo of her face pressed to Sarsour’s “In Michigan, with Linda Sarsour and other leaders for the M.O.V.E conference powered by ACCESS to inspire Arab/Muslim to be unapologetic leaders.”

Virtually no coverage of Omar’s activities outside Minnesota exists within the state.

MN Media Blind Spot for Keith Ellison

Congressman Keith Ellison is perhaps Minnesota’s best-known Muslim and his rise to prominence was routinely supported by local media. Scott Johnson of Powerlinehas no equal in his detailed coverage of how media in the state looked the other way whenever negative information arose and helped clear the path for his ersatz success. A key feature of what otherwise might have been considered a questionable association in his past was Ellison’s well-documented time in the Nation of Islam, founded by Louis Farrakhan.

To summarize broadly, Johnson detailed time after time instances in which Minnesota media gave Ellison the benefit of the doubt and then some. For example, he noted the complete lack of media fact checking into Ellison’s claims about his years with the Nation of Islam, claims easily disproven by the public record.[16]There’s simply no escaping the conclusion that their behavior was willful, calculated to help Ellison and discredit his critics. It’s not widely appreciated that Ellison had to win a hard-fought primary in 2006 and his ultimate victory was far from assured when his past became more widely known. Enter his friends in the Minnesota media to help bury any of Ellison’s less-than-savory past associations. Again, as with Omar, winning the primary in Minnesota’s Fifth District is akin to winning the general election.

The odium of the Nation of Islam has continued to cling to Ellison well into the present. Despite photographic evidence to the contrary,[17] Ellison has denied having any associations with Farrakhan. Minnesotans have to turn to national media outlets in order to learn the truth about this member of Congress.[18]

Ellison’s association with CAIR is both well-known and well-established but little reported upon. In February 2018 there was a local media blackout on his keynote speech at a CAIR New York gala in New York City.[19] It would certainly seem that the pro-CAIR, pro-Muslim Brotherhood media are adept at not covering anything that would show Ellison’s true affinity for this tainted terror-linked organization.

Minnesotans had to turn to the Conservative Reviewfor information about this keynote address. It noted that “the New York chapter of CAIR is one of the most extremist-connected entities of a national organization that positions itself as a civil rights group. Quite a few CAIR-NY staffers and officials have in the past expressed support for Hamas and other fringe groups.”[20] One would think that this would be of interest to Ellison’s constituents as well as other Minnesotans, but perhaps that was precisely the problem.

Ellison has been unable to avoid the negative publicity that rightly stems from two women, one in 2005 and another in 2016, credibly accused him of physical violence. In such exigencies, Minnesota media never fail to protect him. The Star Tribuneeditorial board, for example, while clucking about the seriousness of the subject, grandly concluded that unless one of his victims produced a video of his assault, it was unable to credit the accusation.[21] Karen Monahan, the accuser who has claimed that incriminating video exists, understandably has said that the video is personally humiliating and rightly resented being pressured to release it in order to be taken seriously by those who are currently crediting as conclusive proof a mere memory concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh from thirty-six years ago.

Minnesota media don’t even need to coordinate because the hive mind is already coordinated: when a liberal, especially a high-profile Muslim one, is in trouble, minimal coverage is the default position. That playbook seems to be automatically reversed when the individual concerned is a conservative. Consequently, local media are not pressing the DFL, the Democrat Farmer Labor party, as the Democrats are referred to in the state. The “investigation” of the women’s abuse claims against Ellison was transferred by Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to local party apparatchiks. It is to be expected that nothing will be done and the last to apply pressure will be Minnesota media; their higher loyalty appears to be the Democratic Party, rather than impartial pursuit of the facts.

Minnesota media appears to have bought what CAIR is selling, namely that it is just another civil rights group. Media in the state have not acquainted themselves with the history of the organization and show no interest in doing so any time soon. Unfortunately, they believe the falsehood that CAIR speaks for all Muslims.

On the other side of the ledger and to their credit, Powerline’s Scott Johnson and Preya Samsundar of Alpha News, have done real and serious reporting that local media refuse to touch, or do so only if forced by events. Both journalists unfortunately are routinely disparaged online, but their reporting in fact stands out for its honesty and professionalism.

Again, the case of Rep. Keith Ellison is both instructive and typical. “Morning Hot Dish,” a political newsletter put out by the Star Tribuneprovides an example. In December 2016, Morning Hot Dish, in keeping with local media’s attempt to first ignore, then downplay, Keith Ellison’s odious  antisemitism, his jihadist links, and Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam membership, recently asked about the accumulated evidence: “The point is, what else is out there?”[22] For the Minnesota media, all too often, the point is that isn’t the point.

Imagine if the links to such groups, and such conduct and words, were on the right. The “take” no doubt would be rather different. But as Johnson long ago pointed out, Minnesota media willingly carried Ellison’s water and it doesn’t seem likely they would change now. It’s rather and disappointingly, a pattern all in keeping with a media both ignorant and afraid to report on what’s actually going on within the Muslim community in America. Keith Ellison’s tight connection to CAIR remains uncovered and unexamined by Minnesota media.

Willfully Inaccurate Reporting is Malpractice

This is the real tragedy of the Islamization of Minnesota media: by failing, in many cases deliberately, to bring to their viewership the facts about problematic connections to antisemitism, bigotry, alleged criminality, and terror-linked organizations on the part of Muslim and leftist political candidates, they deprive the citizens of this state the information they need to make critical decisions when campaigning or voting. This is not only malpractice of the journalism profession, but the very opposite of good reporting: it crosses into the territory of “agit-prop” and influence operations, to the undeserved benefit of those whose agenda is shariah. This is reprehensible, but only the outrage of Minnesota’s citizens and their demands for improvement will halt the slide into the shoddy sort of journalism documented in this paper.

You might call it true Islamophobia.

[1]Emerson, Steve, “Part I: CAIR Exposed,” Investigative Project on Terrorism,March 24, 2008. https://www.investigativeproject.org/621/cair-exposed

[2]https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/10/23/st-cloud-swimmers-break-barriers-for-muslim-girls-in-sports

[3]Id.

[4]https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2016/12/01/s-just-swimsuit-halima-aden-making-history/94599908/

[5]Id.

[6]Quran 33:59 “O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women, to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognized and not molested.

[7]https://www.city-journal.org/html/mogadishu-minnesota-15924.html

[8]“Ilhan Omar Fundraises With CAIR In Southern California,” http://alphanewsmn.com/ilhan-omar-fundraises-with-cair-in-southern-california/

[9]“Ilhan Omar, First Somali-American State Lawmaker: Trump’s SOTU was ‘Disgusting” & “Fascist,’” https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/31/ilhan_omar_first_somali_american_state

[10]“Linda Sarsour Asks Muslims To Form “Jihad” Against Trump, Not To Assimilate,”

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/07/06/linda_sarsour_asks_muslims_to_form_jihad_against_trump_not_to_assimilate.html

[11]https://twitter.com/bencjacobs/status/883054476818599936

[12]“Linda Sarsour Asks Muslims To Form “Jihad” Against Trump, Not To Assimilate,”

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/07/06/linda_sarsour_asks_muslims_to_form_jihad_against_trump_not_to_assimilate.html

[13]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThJdMXbxChs

[14]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=HG9dLxABhC8

[15]https://www.dailywire.com/news/15702/disgusting-linda-sarsour-be-commencement-speaker-frank-camp

[16]https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/08/keith-ellison-for-dummies.php

[17]http://alphanewsmn.com/farrakhan-ellison-black-national-local-media-win-weeks-bias-award/

[18]Id.

[19]https://www.conservativereview.com/news/keith-ellison-keynotes-cair-gala-nyc/

[20]Id.

[21]http://www.startribune.com/still-seeking-the-truth-about-allegations-against-ellison/491306851/

[22]http://conservativeminnesotans.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-islamization-of-minnesota-media.html