MSNBC Guest: In Europe, 'Extreme Right' Exacerbates Conflict With Muslims

On the day that 12 people were murdered after publishing satirical cartoons about Islam, Daily Beast foreign editor Christopher Dickey on Wednesday fretted about how the "extreme right" of Europe played a role in increasing the conflict with Muslims. Appearing on MSNBC, he lectured Andrea Mitchell: "Most of the Muslims who are in France, who are in Europe, came here searching for more freedom. Not less. They don't want to impose Islam on the rest of the world." 

Dickey, a longtime Newsweek columnist, worried, "What you have, to some extent with the extreme right here, certainly with the extreme right in Germany...certainly the extreme right in the Netherlands and other parts of the world, with all parts of Europe, is this line that 'because Muslims are intolerant, we cannot tolerate Muslims'" 

Mitchell didn't call him on this false equivalence. (Militant non-Muslims are not beheading and shooting Muslims in Europe. In general, they are calling for changes in immigration laws.) 

Dickey fretted that the slaughter of 12 people might have an influence on the debate: "This will greatly exacerbate that debate, and will make it much, much worse. Much more -- not necessarily violent -- but much more venomous." 

Such sentiments aren't exactly new on MSNBC or in the media. On May 4, 2010, Contessa Brewer said of the Times Square bombing: "There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country." 

On November 7, 2009, then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas said of the Fort Hood killer: 

EVAN THOMAS: I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it inflames all the fears. I think he's probably just a nut case. But with that label attached to him, it will get the right wing going and it just -- I mean these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse.

A partial transcript of the January 7 segment is below: 

12:03

ANDREA MITCHELL: We're going to go back to Paris and Chris Dickey from the Daily 
Beast who has been reporting for all of these hours at this horrific attack at journalism, at Paris, and the heart and soul of France. Chris?

...
    

MITCHELL: How does this feed into tensions, political tensions, anti-immigration issues, restrictive rules on head scarves and other events that have taken place in Paris over these last few years. 

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY (Daily Beast): Well, you know, Andrea, there are two elements here. One is the specific attack on Charlie Hebdo, and the other is the broader attack on press freedom and essentially on the French idea of freedom of thought and freedom of action. Those are cherished, cherished ideas in France and in Europe as they are in the United States. 

But in Europe, there has been a complicated kind of mix of feelings about the question of freedom for European values and how that contrasts with what are perceived as the, what would you say, the negative values of Islam, which, of course, really don't hold true. Most of the Muslims who are in France, who are in Europe, came here searching for more freedom. Not less. They don't want to impose Islam on the rest of the world. They just want their own religious beliefs and their own personal lives to be respected, which they generally have been. But what you have, to some extent with the extreme right here, certainly with the extreme right in Germany, which has had huge anti-Islamic demonstrations in recent weeks, certainly the extreme right in the Netherlands and other parts of the world, with all parts of Europe, is this line that "because Muslims are intolerant, we cannot tolerate Muslims." This will greatly exacerbate that debate, and will make it much, much worse. Much more -- not necessarily violent -- but much more venomous. 

Europe Islam MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports Video Andrea Mitchell Christopher Dickey
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