Jeanine Pirro’s Anti-Muslim Bigotry Too Much Even for Fox—But Not for Matt Barber

Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro (Image from March 9, 2019 commentary)

Jeanine Pirro, one of the Team Trump cheerleaders at Fox News, included some ugly anti-Muslim bigotry in a televised diatribe about Rep. Ilhan Omar over the weekend. Pirro said:

Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59 tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?

Amid a social media outcry, Fox condemned Pirro’s comments. In Trumpian fashion, Pirro put out a statement on Sunday night pretending that she did not say what anyone can watch her on video saying. “I did not call Rep. Omar un-American,” she said unconvincingly. “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.”

Despite Pirro’s attempted back-pedaling, at least one right-wing activist defended her original statement. Anti-LGBTQ activist and BarbWire publisher Matt Barber was emphatic in a Monday morning tweet:

The hijab is Islamic (& a misogynistic tool of oppression against women). Islam & its “bible,” the Quran, are steeped in Sharia law. Sharia law is steeped in totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is anathema to the US Constitution. It’s not that difficult.

Pirro’s and Barber’s anti-Muslim bigotry—and specifically the suggestion that faithful Muslims cannot be loyal Americans—is not an outlier in the right wing. We have repeatedly reported on prominent Religious Right figures who say American Muslims aren’t covered by the First Amendment’s religious liberty guarantees, including some who go as far as saying Islam is not even a religion. Others have said that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress—or even work for the government. The Trump-promoting “prayer warriors” at Intercessors for America recently published a document about the supposed dangers posed by Muslim public officials, writing about Reps. Omar and Rashida Tlaib that “the Islamic faith of these leaders is a liability to our nation.”

Several years ago. RWW published an analysis of the right-wing’s anti-Muslim extremism. Among the strategies we identified is the stoking of fear that Sharia is a threat to the Constitution.