In his commentary on the "Summer of Hate," Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks noted that Fox Nation polled its viewers on their reaction to the news story about the murder of six Sikhs in a domestic terror attack in Wisconsin. The choices were offensive, funny, cool, obnoxious, scary, inspiring or crazy.
According to Cenk, Fox News viewers who reacted to the story found it to be inspiring.
"The audience picked 'inspiring' in a 2-1 margin over scary and crazy," Uygur said. "That's not Fox News' fault, but that is their audience."
Uygur admitted that killing Muslims and others is wrong, but speculated that the Sikh murders may have been due to their being wrongly identified as Muslims because they wear turbans. Right wing politicians like Michele Bachmann and Peter King have been actively demonizing Muslim Americans.
"Did you know that there are more right wing extremist attacks inside the country almost every year in the last fifteen years, with the obvious exception of 2001, than there are Muslim extremist attacks?" Uygur asked. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 1,712 anti-Islamic incidents. There have been 11 violent attacks against Sikhs since 9-11 where the attackers thought that Sikhs were Muslims.
(Editor's note – No motive for Sunday's attack against a Sikh temple has been identified by authorities and we believe that it is premature and incorrect to link the attack to Islamophobia until the facts are known.)
"When they're fed this propaganda of hatred, what do you think somebody [who is] stupid [is] going to do?" Uygur asked. On Monday, a day after the Sikh temple murders, a mosque in Joplin, MO, was burned down. It was the second fire in weeks. The first was determined to be set by arsonists.
"What would happen if a Muslim entered a church and killed seven (sic – six) people, injured three others?" Uygur speculated. "It's not just the issue of Muslims, it's not just the issue of hate groups on race or religion. They also do this in regards to Planned Parenthood with similar results. In fact, just now, Representative Larry Pittman, a Republican of North Carolina, a state representative, said this about Planned Parenthood: 'Never will I agree to give that bloody, indecent, immoral organization one penny. I will not be satisfied until it is outlawed.' He said that 'They are getting wealthy on murder for hire.' And he said that it 'deals with nothing but deception, death, personal devastation, and moral degradation.' Just as a wild coincidence, how many attacks have there been on abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood overall? Since 1977, there have been 6,100 violent acts."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been calling on Homeland Security to investigate right wing extremists. The right wing intelligence unit was gutted after they put out a report warning about right wing extremism in 2009. The report was criticized by right wing bloggers and commentators.
In a related story, Harris Zafar, national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, and Current TV's "Viewpoint" host Eliot Spitzer discussed the possibility that the gunman behind the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI, actually intended to target Muslims and whether a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment is linked to political rhetoric.
"I think the Republican primaries were ridden with such incidents where Mr. Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann had repeatedly spread this message of fear of Muslims, fear of Sharia law, would not appoint a Muslim to any of their cabinet," Zafar said. "It's really given us this impression that we're not American enough. No matter how many generations we've been here, we're just not American enough. And there's this thought that you have to be a Christian to be a leader of this nation. Look at how much President Obama has had to deflect this accusation that he's a Muslim. I feel bad for him because he has to say, 'No, I'm Christian.' But what's so bad about being a Muslim? [...] The only reason you should judge a candidate or anyone in political office is their own actions."