Robert Salaam of the blog The American Muslim (yes there are two blogs by that name and both are excellent) asks an interesting question that should be raised in light of the recent terrorist bombings in Boston. His question is the media responsible for some of the anti-Islamic backlash directed towards Muslims and Muslim organizations and places of worship. Take a look at a brief excerpt
What caused a 52-year-old former Marine to leave his home in Indiana and drive for 2 hours to a Mosque in Ohio, with the intention to burn it down? According to Randy Linn, it was television’s constant portrayal of Muslims as wanting to do nothing more than kill Americans. After some heavy drinking, Linn made his way to the Mosque, carrying a firearm. He broke in and started the fire. He went room to room presumably to do God only knows what. Fortunately no one was at the Mosque at the time. Also fortunately, the sprinkler system kicked in and extinguished the flames. Randy Linn was later caught after being identified in surveillance photos.
In court, when asked whether he thought all Muslims were terrorists, Linn responded in affirmation.
As a Muslim and former Marine, this hate crime disturbs me. It disturbs me not so much because Randy Linn—by his own actions and admissions—betrayed that sacred trust and dedication to the values we Marines hold so dear. Instead, it disturbs me because his reasoning behind the betrayal of not only our Marine Corps values, but also the boundaries of common decency and citizenry.
It’s telling and worth noting that Randy Linn, like many others who use terrorism as means of vengeance against Muslims, often cite the Media as a major source in the influence of how they perceive members of the Islamic faith. Some anti-Muslim terrorists like Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people because of his anti-Muslim beliefs, go so as far as quoting and identifying popular anti-Muslim antagonists by name in their writings such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, and many others as the inspiration behind their beliefs. Each of these individuals has found television, print, and political success with their extremist ideologies.
Salaam’s point is a good and valid one. Muslims are always on the defensive, pushed to deny and condemn even the slightest indiscretion made by any Muslim anywhere in the world. Even if the condemnation is accepted it rarely finds any traction in major media, and even more rarely are Muslims given a platform to weigh in on matters that affect the national conscience. However, people with very definite patterns of hate speech and really incendiary rhetoric that borders on hysteria, designed to take the country over the edge to brink of civil war, are given repeated voice in media to promote division among Americans which in the case outlined above drives people to violence. Yet they are not held responsible for this invisible crime and are given a “pass” by the media….nay, some would say an audience. Such is the hypocrisy of American politics and news reporting; be careful America. Don’t give voice to hatred and division. Fix this!
- Anti-Muslim Demagogue Pamela Geller’s Firehose of Hate Speech (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Where is the mob of Muslim-hating Americans going crazy after Boston? It’s a figment of liberals’ imaginations (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- American Muslims Don’t Support Violent Acts: Boston Mosque Refuses To Bury Dead Bomber (youngprogressivevoices.com)