On Friday evening, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to weigh in on the attack of the Paris-based satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, arguing that Muslims “should be held responsible” for “their growing jihadist cancer” and that “political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.”
The tweets, which came after French police killed the two brothers and main suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack, sparked vigorous debate online. Many criticized Murdoch for holding a religion of billions of peaceful people accountable for the actions of a minority of violent extremists.
Other responses also touched on a broader frustration voiced by some members of the Muslim community, who say they are routinely asked to defend their faith and denounce acts of violent religious extremism.
“We do not expect Buddhists to apologize as Buddhist extremists massacre Muslims in Burma or for their human rights abuses in Sri Lanka,” wrote Linda Sarsour, the national advocacy director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, in a recent New York Times Op-Ed. “I also don’t ask Christians to apologize for the genocide that Bosnian Muslims faced less than two decades ago at the hands of Christian Serbs, or for the Lord’s Resistance Army and Christian militias who have killed tens of thousands of civilians and ethnically cleansed Muslims throughout Uganda, the Congo and Central African Republic…All of us instead recognize that religious fanatics perpetuate violent acts for their own deranged reasons.”
One user suggested that Murdoch, who was the subject of the 2011 News Corp phone-hacking scandal and deemed unfit “to exercise the stewardship of a major international company” by a British parliamentary panel, should not be immune from the criticism and accountability he expected from Muslims.
Murdoch responded to criticism by tweeting that “political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.”
This is not the first time Murdoch has come under fire for his interpretations of Islam on Twitter. In August 2013, he tweeted that “societies have to integrate” and Muslims “find it hardest,” and a few months before, in May, he tweeted: “get real and go listen at some mosques. Admit most okay, but others really scary.”