MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson seemingly blamed America, at least in part, for the ongoing chaos in the Middle East, saying “we are able to point the finger at how horrible it is” but “we’re horrible too” because the United States has “fomented” hostility towards Muslims.
“We’ve quietly fueled and fomented the kind of unnecessary hostility towards Muslims,” he said, adding “We ought to take a mirror and look at ourselves.”
“Here you see the fomenting of national, or international outrage and global response because of the demonization of a predictable minority,” Dyson added, referring to an anti-Muslim YouTube clip being blamed for the riots across the globe. “It’s the targeting of Muslim brothers and sisters is exacerbating tensions we have at home here. It’s not as if, oh in America we’ve resolved this.”
“Far from it,” host Alex Wagner interjected, adding that “the rhetoric around Islam and the Muslim religion in the United States has become as toxic as it ever has been and that video…is a crystal clear example of it.”
On Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. Consulate in Libya was attacked by roughly 400 men in a fiery assault on the compound. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in the attack. An anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims” is being blamed for the violence that continued to spread across the Muslim world Friday, with deadly clashes near Western embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, an American fast-food restaurant set ablaze in Lebanon, and international peacekeepers attacked in the Sinai despite an appeal for calm from Egypt’s Islamist president.
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith dissented slightly and argued that there was a clear coordinated effort to mobilize radical Islamists to protest across the Middle East and it wasn’t just about the anti-Muslim YouTube video.
Dyson remained unmoved. He then referenced America’s “imperialist nostalgia,” saying “we destroy countries and then we go weep with them after they’ve been destroyed.”
“That doesn’t account for what America has done, how it has been perceived and understood in a world where it has also fomented with far more skill and grace than these ‘so-called’ barbaric acts that have revealed it,” Dyson added. Notice how Dyson referred to protests and riots as “so-called” barbaric acts in air quotes.
“What actually happened does seem like something you should be discussing here,” Smith said, chuckling to himself.
At least four people – all protesters – were killed and dozens were wounded on Friday in the demonstrations in more than 20 countries from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Additionally, two U.S. Marines were killed Friday in an attack on the British base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
As Smith began to rebut Dyson’s analysis, he interrupted and said, “What happens is what America has done and contributed.”
The Georgetown University professor proceeded to say that anti-Christian attacks are not the same as anti-Muslim attacks because “all hate ain’t equal.”
“You can find a lot of hate on the internet, but that ain’t all equal. All hate ain’t equal. It doesn’t target people with the kind of vicious specificity that Muslims have endured in this country since 9/11,” he said. “So we can’t pretend because there could be some anti-Christian stuff out there that it parallels with what’s going on.”
According to Dyson, Muslims have been so “stigmatized” and we haven’t been able to deal with it as a society.
Watch the segment via MSNBC here:
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page image from missouri.edu.