Fox News condemns Jeanine Pirro’s comments suggesting link between Ilhan Omar’s hijab and support for Sharia law

March 12, 2019

Fox News condemns Jeanine Pirro’s comments suggesting link between Ilhan Omar’s hijab and support for Sharia law Mitchell Laurren-Ring / CCL

Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro found herself in hot water with network executives on Saturday for suggesting that freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) is pro-Sharia law because she wears a hijab, or an Islamic head-covering. Unlike House Democrats, who responded to multiple anti-Semitic outbursts from Omar over the past month by drafting an anemic resolution condemning all forms of bigotry, Fox News laid the blame directly on Pirro.

“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” the conservative network explained in a press release. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

Fox News folds

But Pirro wasn’t simply arguing that Muslim women who wear the veil are radical Islamists. The Justice with Judge Jeanine star was asserting that Omar’s rank anti-Semitism comes from her hardline interpretation of Islam, and her decision to wear the hijab is just one manifestation of her fundamentalist mindstate.  

“Think about this,” Pirro said during the opening segment of her show. “She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it,” she continued. “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?”

Omar hails from Somalia, where one of the strictest forms of Islamic jurisprudence is practiced. Although there is some debate among Muslims as to whether the veil is a sacred requirement for women, or just a recommendation carrying minor weight as a sin, Somalis who subscribe to the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam generally view the hijab conservatively — or as a mandate according to Sharia law.

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck

But it is not just Omar’s choice of headwear that establishes her Islamist credentials. The Minnesota congresswoman has associated with some of the most radical Islamic organizations in the country.

For instance, Omar plans to speak later this month at a fundraiser for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a terror-tied civil liberties group which is teeming with rabid anti-Semites. CAIR has been described as a “radical Islamic fundamentalist front group for [the Palestinian terrorist entity] Hamas,” and the FBI cut ties with the controversial group in 2009 because of its support for Palestinian militants.

Omar also recently spoke at a fundraiser for the embattled Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), an Islamist charity under investigation in the U.S. and U.K. for allegedly funding Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. Moderate Muslim Americans have also denounced IRUSA for donating “to terrorist sympathizers and enablers, including affiliates of Hamas, a foreign political group with documented evidence of supremacist views and Jew-hatred.”

Therefore, insinuating that Ms. Omar is a religious radical who believes in a strict and puritanical interpretation of Islam — one that is fundamentally at odds with the U.S. Constitution — should not be a controversial endeavor. Yet, by criticizing one of their own star commentators, Fox News executives opened Pirro up to attacks from multiple angles.

Taking heat

Even one of Pirro’s colleagues at Fox News, online producer Hufsa Kamal, threw her under the bus for daring to suggest that an outspoken anti-Semite and Islamist like Omar might believe in Sharia law. “@JudgeJeanine can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate America or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough?” Kamal asked. “You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself. K thx.”

“Does a Jewish man who covers his head put the Torah above the Constitution? Does a Catholic woman who covers head put the Pope above the Constitution? What a stupid thing to say,” media critic John Nolte tweeted.

Of course, modern day Catholicism and Judaism are not inescapably attached to a religio-political movement with a robust conservative wing that attempts to regulate all sectors of society — including women’s dress. Still, Pirro tried to explain herself:

“I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American. 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,” Pirro said in a press release. “I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

News flash: all Muslims believe in and follow Sharia law. However, interpretations vary at extremes. Based on Omar’s refusal to distance herself from some of the most radical Islamist organizations in North America, it’s safe to say that she believes in the type of Sharia that is anathema to the Constitution.

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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is a regular contributor at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.