Melissa Harris-Perry and Guests: Islam Not Relevant to Oklahoma Beheading

Melissa Harris-Perry and Guests: Islam Not Relevant to Oklahoma Beheading

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a roundtable discussion last week which eventually turned to the topic of the beheading of a woman in Moore, Oklahoma on Friday. Harris-Perry and her guests Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad argues that it was merely a case of workplace violence to which Islam had no particular connection.

“It is a story that I read as a workplace violence,” Harris-Perry said to open the topic (video below). Dean Obeidallah was upset that the incident was being connected to Islam. “We’re seeing right-wing media use this, continuing the narrative. Look, Muslims are here in America; they’re committing jihad. The man just converted last year. There was over 500 workplace. We don’t know about the religion of any of those murderers, but if someone is Muslim it’s got to be a terrorist,” Obeidallah argued.

There’s actually no mystery about why a possible connection to terrorism arose in this particular case. “Due to the manner of death and initial statements of co-workers and other initial information that our investigators have gathered we requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation,” Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said during a press conference Friday.

The manner of death is obviously the beheading. His reference to initial statements may include the fact that Nolen had been proselytizing at work and the, still unconfirmed, report that he was shouting Islamic phrases during the attack. Finally, Sgt. Lewis’ reference to “other initial information” may include the contents of Nolen’s Facebook page.

As Breitbart News reported Friday, Nolen’s Facebook page had become increasingly devoted to Islam over the past year. In addition to images of jihadist fighters and condemnations of the United States, in March Nolen posted a graphic image of a beheading which was accompanied by a verse from the Koran.

I asked Dean Obeidallah if he really believed the Facebook postings, particularly the beheading image, were not relevant to the case:

He asked for a link to the beheading image and I sent him one.

He is referring to Alton Nolen’s final Facebook post which my story quoted in full, including the New Testament citation.

This was followed by what seemed like another dodge:

Obeidallah refused to answer my direct question which, again, is based on his statements on MSNBC about the relevance of Nolen’s religious views. But, as noted above, the police cited three reasons which motivated them to ask the FBI to investigate Nolen’s background. Even if authorities decide it was not the prime motive, there is more than enough evidence to warrant its consideration. What is not warranted is dismissing the connection as Islamophobia, especially without even having all of the evidence.


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