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Misleading Fox Nation Headline Claims Muslims Accuse Catholic University Of Violating Human Rights

Reported by Priscilla - October 28, 2011 -

In yet another attempt to generate more hatred toward Muslims, Fox Nation, "for those opposed to intolerance," had a thread (yesterday) titled "Muslims Say Crosses at Catholic University Violate 'Human Rights'." The thread is an article by Fox Radio culture clubber Todd Starnes. It reports that the Washington DC Office of Human Rights received a complaint that Catholic University is violating the rights of Muslims students in not allowing them to have separate prayer space and form a Muslim student association. If the Fox reader (and that's putting lipstick on a pig) reads more than the title, they will see that the complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, attorney and professor at George Washington University. But the trick is in actually linking to Starnes' article which reports that Catholic University has received no complaints from Muslims, although he writes that Banzhaf told Fox that students were offended that they had to meditate in the school's chapel which is filled with Catholic images. As noted in the Catholic University newspaper, Banzhaf's statement to Fox, which suggests he spoke with students, contradicts his statement to the Washington Post that no students complained to him. While we can't fault Starnes for reporting what he or others at Fox were told, we can fault Fox Nation for a misleading and incendiary headline. If Muslims are "saying" that their "rights" are being violated by Catholic U, they haven't told Catholic U (and possibly Banzhaf) about it!

In addition to summarizing what Banzhaf told Fox News, Starnes sourced two articles, one from a press release from Banzhaf and the other from the Catholic University newspaper. In neither of these documents, is it documented that Muslim students spoke with Banzhaf. Moreover, an article in yesterday's Washington Post clearly states that Banzhaf filed the complaint based on a Washington Post article from last year in which a Muslim CU student complained that he was not able to create a Muslim student association. A reading of last year's article shows that the student did NOT allege that his rights had been violated. The recent WAPO article also states that Banzhaf said that he had NOT received any complaints from Muslims at Catholic University. In reporting on the media (primarily Fox) furor over this issue, the CU newspaper specifically cited Starnes' article: "Though Banzhaf reported to the Washington Post that no Muslim students had complained to him about the issue, he reported the opposite to FOX News."

Comment: As the recent WAPO article was published on the day after Starnes article and the CU article was published today, we can't, as I noted, fault Starnes for his report. We can however, critique his headline, Do Crosses at Catholic University Violate “Human Rights” of Muslims?" as the issue, according to the complaint, is more than that. We can fault Fox Nation for using the same kind of incendiary title which, in emphasizing that Muslims (first word) are complaining about Christian crosses (complete with cross photo), is obviously geared to stirring up their Islamophobic readership (and they are legion). Their "stimulus" provoked the requisite hateful "response" so it's all good....

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