Seemingly ignoring FBI-confirmed evidence that at least one of the suspected Boston bombers was a likely follower of radical Islam, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry this weekend argued that the alleged terrorists’ Muslim faith is currently irrelevant in the investigation into the attack.
In fact, according to Harris-Perry, the Tsarnaev brothers’ faith right now is about as relevant to the investigation as Ben Affleck movies that depict violence in Boston. The host and her panel agreed that any attempts to draw a connection between the Boston terror attack and the alleged bombers’ Muslim faith at this point is the result of wanting to “otherize” the bombers in order to understand the violence.
“We don’t really know,” Harris-Perry said, throwing her hands up as if there is no evidence suggesting the suspected attackers may have embraced a radicalized version of Islam. “The younger brother, he’s getting all kinds of tweets from his friends.”
The host did leave a small window open that perhaps it could be later discovered the alleged bombers could have been motivated by a radical ideology by saying: “I think part of the answer is that it’s still an open question.”
Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson said “[Americans] fill in the blanks with the stereotypes… we fill in the blanks with what makes us feel most comfortable that this was an exceptional, extraordinary case that happened because they are this.”
Harris-Perry then made her Affleck reference. “I keep wondering: is it possible that there would ever be a discussion like, ‘oh, this is because of Ben Affleck and the connection between Boston and movies about violence? And, of course, the answer is no,” she said.
Obviously, not all Muslims subscribe to radical Islam. Additionally, it has not been proven that radical Islam definitely played a role in the Boston bombings. However, if people who watched Ben Affleck movies routinely murdered innocent people in violent attacks — as radical Islamists do — America at large would probably take a closer look at the actor’s films. Further, law enforcement would be ill-advised to ignore the connection if they were investigating someone for murder who happened to own 100 Ben Affleck DVDs and such a correlation existed. Clearly, Harris-Perry’s comparison is dubious at best.
“Given that they’re Chechen, given that they are literally Caucasian, our very sense of connection to them is this framed up notion of, like, Islam making them into something that is non-white,” Harris-Perry added.
“The point is that it’s important to say, ‘that’s not us.’ This is not American, this is not who we are,” Dyson theorized. “We want to demonize the other. We have to distance it from the dominant culture.”
Watch the segment via MSNBC below:
Featured image via Getty
(H/T: Noah Rothman, Mediaite)