By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
While much of the media are doing contortions trying to explain why the latest terrorist attacks are either home grown, lone wolf, or committed by alienated youth, this misses the point. And yes, we realize that most victims of Islamic jihadists are other Muslims. Just look at the massacre in Pakistan last month of 141 individuals, including children and teachers. Or the one this week by Boko Haram in Nigeria that may have led to the death of at least 2,000.
The Islamic terrorists who attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week, brutally murdering 12 people, were killed by authorities today. The situation is still fluid, but reports indicate that at least 15 hostages are now free, and one more terrorist may be on the loose following two hostage situations that ensued during the hunt for the terrorists. One might think that Paris—and France—might be able to breathe a sigh of relief. In reality, however, the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the two ensuing hostage situations were merely a continuation of the latest line of Islam-inspired terror attacks worldwide, be it on the Canadian Parliament; in Sydney, Australia; in Pakistan; on two policemen in New York City; or in Moore, Oklahoma.
The problem is not who these attackers are, or whether they are a card-carrying member of al Qaeda, Boko Haram, or the Islamic State—but that they are conducting such atrocious acts. Just in the U.S. and Canada alone in the last couple of months we’ve had a number of attacks occurring in the name of Allah. To the victims, and most of the rest of us, the rest doesn’t matter.
The Washington Post is reporting that Boko Haram may have executed thousands. “A video recently emerged, Genocide Watch reported, that shows gunmen shooting civilians as they lay face down in a dormitory,” reports Terrence McCoy. “A local leader explains they are ‘infidels,’ even though he admits they’re Muslim: ‘We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels. From now on, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombings will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.’”
McCoy notes that Boko Haram’s attacks seem more “wanton” than those perpetrated by other terror groups.
These attacks are coming at such an accelerated pace today that any sort of long term solutions, such as being more responsible and not insulting Islam or the prophet Muhammad, seem futile. Do we really think anyone at the school in Pakistan or in Baga, Nigeria had slandered the prophet?
“The Religion of Peace” website has documented the Islam-motivated terrorist attacks of 2014.
The Washington Post reported on January 7th that the “Paris attack lacked hallmarks of Islamist assaults in the West,” highlighting the possibility that this was an unofficial attack “without any direct ties to groups such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.”
The next day, The New York Times reported that one of two attackers “suspected of killing 12 people at a satirical newspaper in Paris traveled to Yemen in 2011 and received terrorist training from Al Qaeda’s affiliate there before returning to France.”
However the media decide to parse the latest Paris attacks, these Islamic jihadis clearly have been drinking from the same toxic stream of violent ideology.
As happened with the Moore, Oklahoma beheading by Alton Nolen, the media and liberal pundits were quick to separate the Charlie Hebdo killers from Islamic ideology—going to great lengths to find a parallel with any other case they could fathom.
One guest on MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner” compared Jerry Falwell’s lawsuit against Hustler Magazine to the violent murder of 12 innocent people at Charlie Hebdo, without any rebuttal coming from Wagner. Jonah Goldberg of National Review condemned this as “The Dumbest 57 Seconds Ever on TV.”
I would also point to MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s characterization of Nolen’s beheading of a co-worker in Oklahoma as supposedly having as little to do with his alleged “workplace violence” as what he ate for breakfast. The FBI, apparently, swallowed the idea that Nolen’s attack was workplace violence, as well.
And recently, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Howard Dean went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to condemn the attacks, but asserted, “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life. That’s not what the Koran says. Europe has an enormous radical problem. I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.”
“When I watch Americans use words like cowardly, barbaric, murder, outrageous, shocking, etc., to describe a violent extremist organization’s actions, we are playing right into the enemy’s hands,” said Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, U.S. commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, in December regarding ISIS, according to The New York Times. “They want us to become emotional. They revel in being called murderers when the words are coming from an apostate.”
The Daily Caller cited an example of The New York Times removing a section from a previously posted article that told how one of the terrorists at the Charlie Hebdo offices spared the life of a woman who was there during the attack:
“Instead, she told French news media, the man said, ‘I’m not going to kill you because you’re a woman, we don’t kill women, but you must convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover yourself,’ she recalled.”
Later on the Times altered the article, removing “but you must convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover yourself.” This is the type of political correctness that is commonplace in the media. It is not a matter of cowardice, fearful of being attacked like Charle Hebdo was, but rather an ideological, editorial decision to attempt to minimize the link to Islam.
As I asked in my recent column on the underreported and misreported stories of 2014, “What does it take to spark media outrage?… What is it going to take to end this ongoing slaughter by jihadists, acting in the name of Islam?”
In 2011, when Charlie Hebdo was firebombed for “an edition poking fun at Islam,” according to the UK Telegraph, Time Magazine’s Bruce Crumley blamed the publication for the violence perpetrated against it, writing,
“Not only are such Islamophobic antics [as publishing cartoons] futile and childish… but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?”
By such a measure the media should censor itself from publishing or disseminating the inflammatory Charlie Hebdo materials in any outlet at all. And if The Washington Post is any indication, that’s exactly what happened: it used a photograph that cleverly hides the Charlie Hebdo cover from view while featuring a copy of the publication amidst other magazines.
Ironically, a call to combat terrorism came, not from the media, but from Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi even before the attack in Paris. He made a speech that hopefully will prove to be a turning point, but don’t count on it. In his New Year’s Day address, he urged the Imams to lead a “religious revolution” against extremism. But he has a huge battle on his own turf, as he gained power after millions of Egyptians called for the removal of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who had been elected president of Egypt after the removal of Hosni Mubarak. This is but a small step forward.
As President Al Sisi said, “I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
Why must such bold words come from Egypt’s president, and not our own, and other Western leaders, or from the mainstream media? Steve Emerson, of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, argued that “Indeed, the responses from our own president, French President Hollande and British Prime Minster David Cameron all spouted the same empty pabulum in asserting that the Paris attack had nothing to do with Islam or any religion for that matter. But the hollow comments coming from our own leaders are steeped in the stench of appeasement and cowardice.”