In a broadcast of “Fox and Friends Weekend” on June 4, the day after the latest terrorist attacks in London, two commentators advocated internment camps for Muslims.
British politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage, an ally of President Donald Trump, said, “We want genuine action. And if there is not action, then the calls for internment will grow. We have over 3,000 people on a sort of known terrorist list, and we’re watching and monitoring their activities, but a further 20,000 people who are persons of interest, mainly they’re linked in some way to extremist organizations.”
English media personality and newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins, a regular guest on the show, was asked if she supported American-style camps like those where Japanese Americans were held during World War II. She responded, “We do need internment camps. Before, I would’ve bought the idea that no, this gets more people radicalized. You know, that’s not the solution. But we’ve gone beyond the tipping point.”
“Fox and Friends Weekend” co-host Clayton Morris distanced himself and his colleagues from those remarks, saying, “On behalf of the network, I think all of us here find that idea reprehensible here at Fox News Channel, just to be clear.”
Radio talk show host Michael Savage, who has a close relationship with Trump, supported Farage’s remarks in a broadcast on June 5: “What needs to be done to stop Islamists who are on the watchlist in America right now. We were told there were over 1,000 active cases, that was a few months ago when the FBI was run by … Mr. [James] Comey.
“He said he had 1,000 active cases, or DHS [Department of Homeland Security] did. What does that mean, 1,000 of them are on the list, or there’s more than 1,000? Why don’t you intern all of them before they run people over on a bridge, or stab people in the street? It was done during World War II.”
While acknowledging that “most” of the incarcerated Japanese Americans were innocent, Savage added, “How do we know that the internment in World War II didn’t help us win the war?”
In Los Angeles, the Japanese American National Museum said in a statement that it “condemns recent and ongoing rhetoric calling for the mass incarceration of people of the Muslim faith. Citing the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as a precedent or justification for the unlawful targeting of Muslims, or any other group, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of one of the most shameful chapters in United States history.
“In particular, remarks made on the ‘Fox and Friends Weekend’ television program suggesting that incarceration camps might be an appropriate tool in fighting terrorism are offensive. We are grateful that representatives of Fox News Channel were explicit in denouncing the idea of camps as ‘reprehensible.’”
“The Japanese American National Museum will continue to speak out against bigoted public discourse that harkens back to the tragic incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II,” said JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs. “Racist remarks that suggest incarceration camps should be implemented for people of the Muslim faith is abhorrent and contrary to the fundamental values of this museum and this nation.
“In the words of President George H.W. Bush, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor: ‘The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.’ The Japanese American National Museum is committed to seeing that President Bush’s words remain true.”
In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the policy of exclusion, removal, and detention was systematically conducted by the U.S. government despite the fact that no documented evidence of espionage or sabotage was shown, and there was no direct military necessity for detention. Further, the broad historical causes were found to be “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” These findings ultimately contributed to the government issuing a formal apology and paying reparations to the Japanese Americans it had forcibly removed to concentration camps — the tangible results of the bipartisan passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.