A Beard Does Not Make A Terrorist.

There are topics of serious discussion, ideas out there designed to help reduce violence in society. Then, there’s Fox News, which once again demonstrates that rather than deal with solutions, their contributors simply do not comprehend enough of the situation to make a rational argument.

Let’s take Monday’s exchange between Bo Dietl and Eric Guster, seen on Fox Business News’ Making Money with Charles Payne, for example.

Who believes ZZ Top are members of ISIS? Apparently Fox Business News contributor Bo Dietl does. Apparently, the growing of beards is a sign of terrorist sympathies. Mr. Dietl later clarified that he meant Middle Eastern men with beards, but in so doing he turned a stupid statement into a stupid, racially motivated statement.

Now, Eric Guster does make a point in this which the other contributor missed. Criminal profiling, which could include the growing of a beard, is fully legal, if not always accurate. But it needs to be part of a larger program, with researched patterns. And, in this case, it is not accurate, as the ringleader of the most famous act of terrorism on US soil since 2000 demonstrates.

This terrorist does not have a beard. FBI file photo of Mohamad Atta

Note the distinct lack of facial hair.

A Beard Doesn’t Even Mean You’re A Muslim.

The idea of profiling based solely upon the sporting of a beard is preposterous. After all, a man of brown skin with a full beard is as likely to be a Hasidic Jew or Rastafarian as Muslim. A criminal profile needs to be dynamic, and encompassing a multitude of factors. Focusing on someone of Middle Eastern origins only shows a racial content which, is so often times the case, more an example of bigotry and not one founded in reality.

What do Santa Claus, Orthodox Jews, and Phil Robertson? Each of these men are sporting a beard. Photos (L-R)  cc 2012 Matti Matilla; cc 2011, Alex Prolmos; and AMC/promo shot.

In reality, Daesh is filled with fighters from around the world. In a 2014 study, they found that over 3,000 members came from western nations, not the Middle East. Dietl’s insistence of focusing upon those of Middle Eastern origin ignores the reality, that members of Daesh come from all corners of the globe, such as the Austrian teenaged girl who reportedly died fighting for them last year.

Which begs the question, why was this the topic on Fox Business News in the first place? How does this help in the show’s topic of “Making Money?” What business information did this provide? What news over business would be understood through this topic of conversation? Had Fox Business News surrendered on its own topic, and decided to just become Fox News 2? Regardless, the result remains that this exchange told us more about the inability to understand a situation by Bo Dietl than about the topic of Beards. That there was no protest, and even encouragement, on the anti-Beard position, only underscores the absurdity of the discussion.

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