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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CHICAGO: In a rare moment of agreement, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday echoed the concerns of American Muslims who criticized cable news host Joy Reid for her on-air comments about Muslims.
During her MSNBC show “The ReidOut” on Monday, Reid said that Muslim leaders employ extremist rhetoric to radicalize followers and promote violence, and then suggested that Trump is employing similar tactics.
A number of America Muslim leaders and organization denounced the comments and called for an apology, including Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Emgage Action, and Muslim Advocates.
However, when Trump chipped in on Twitter to criticize Reid, he was accused of pretending to support Muslims to further his ongoing war with the media.
During her show on Monday, Reid said: “Leaders, let’s say in the Muslim world, talk a lot of violent talk and encourage their supporters to be willing to commit violence, including on their own bodies, in order to win against whoever they decide is the enemy.
“We in the US media describe that as they are radicalizing those people, particularly when they’re radicalizing young people. That’s how we talk about the way Muslims act. When you see what Donald Trump is doing, is that any different from what we describe as radicalizing people?”
On Wednesday, Trump posted a message on Twitter that read: “Like Fredo at Fake News @CNN, the very untalented Joy Reid should be fired for this horrible use of the words ‘Muslim Terrorists’. Such xenophobia and racism on MSDNC. Anyone else would be gone, and fast.”
“Fredo” is a name Trump often uses when referring to CNN journalist Chris Cuomo. He began to use it in 2019 after Cuomo became enraged when a member of the public called him “Fredo,” a reference to the ineffectual and traitorous son of mobster Vito Corleone in Hollywood movie “The Godfather.” The journalist is the younger brother of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a frequent critic of Trump.
On Tuesday, Omar tweeted in response to Reid’s comments: “Honestly, this kinda of casual Islamophobia is hurtful and dangerous. We deserve better and an apology for the painful moment for so many Muslims around our country should be forthcoming.”
Emgage Action condemned Reid and called for her to fired, accusing her of spreading “an anti-Muslim smear” by comparing how “Muslims act” with how Trump is encouraging white-nationalist violence during nationwide protests against discrimination and police brutality against Black people.
After Trump joined the attacks on Reid, however, Emgage Action described his defense of Muslims as a phony political move.
“This morning, President Trump feigned advocacy for Muslims in his ongoing attack on the press,” said Emgage CEO Wa’el Alzayat. “His remarks did not come from an authentic concern for the Muslim community.
“While we are disappointed in Reid’s comments and her lack of initiative in apologizing, Trump’s hypocrisy is appalling. Trump is supposedly angered by Reid’s use of ‘Muslim terrorists,’ yet he is a strong proponent of using the phrase ‘Radical Islamic terrorism.’
“Furthermore, our community leaders have continuously called out Islamophobic and bigoted appointments by the administration. As the implementer of the Muslim Ban and the orchestrator of countless family separations at our borders, President Trump may want to check his own racism before being self-righteous.”
Trump has previously called for several left-wing media figures to be fired for what he alleges is liberal bias.
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