Fox News tried to call out John McCain for supporting a military intervention in Syria. Not because of any reasons related to the complexities of Syria with its various factions and the risk of everything devolving into anarchy, no Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade’s point to McCain was this: the rebels in Syria are…Muslim. This probably wasn’t a surprise to McCain, seeing as he probably knows that 72% of Syria belongs to some sect of Islam, but Kilmeade also provided some audio.
KILMEADE: Listen to this video, Senator McCain of…it looks like a Syrian fighter jet being shot out of the sky. Listen to what they say afterward.
Kilmeade then rolls the clip. We hear an explosion, then “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”
KILMEADE: I have a problem helping those people out when they are screaming that after a hit.
MCCAIN: You have a problem with that? Would you have a problem with an American Christian saying “Thank God! Thank God!” Of course they are Muslims, but they are moderates. I guarantee you that they are moderates. I know them and I’ve been with them. For someone to say “Allahu Akbar” is about as offensive as someone saying “Thank God.”
While there may be Muslim extremists fighting on the side of the Syrian rebels, Kilmeade wasn’t making that point. Kilmeade was repeating the Fox News sentiment that all Muslims are extremists, and that we shouldn’t support anyone who is Muslim and is motivated by their Muslim faith.
There is an interesting wrinkle in McCain’s line that saying “’Allahu Akbar’ is about as offensive as someone saying ‘Thank God.’” There is something a little upsetting about someone thanking a deity after killing someone. Okay, killing itself is upsetting…and this is wading into some thorny territory that will have to wait for another post…but while “Thank God” and “Allahu Akbar” should be equally offensive—and Fox News has a disgusting double standard between Christianity and Islam—it’s worth noting that killing in the name of any god is problematic and upsetting.