Scott Shane's front-page New York Times Tuesday on a liberal mosque in Boston, a city that's hosted a growing number of Islamic terrorists and extremists, focused on a more liberal mosque that promotes tolerance: "Muslims Work To Shed Stigma Tied to Terror – in Boston, a Tolerant Vision of Islam." All well and good. But Shane's feverish defense of peaceful American Muslims calls up questions of his own previous story, blaming conservative critics of Islam for fomenting international Islamic extremism.
To be Muslim in America today means to be held responsible, or to fear you may be, for the brutal acts of others whose notion of what Allah demands is utterly antithetical to your own. For the diverse crowd that prays at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, where professors at nearby universities mix with freshly arrived immigrants from Somalia and Egypt, it means hearing the word “Islamic” first thing each morning in news reports on an infamous extremist group. It means a kind of implied collective responsibility, however illogical, for beheadings in Syria, executions in Iraq and bombs in Boston.
Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, the New York Times has never had a problem blaming the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, or conservatism in general for violent acts committed by people with no ties to them.
And Shane himself is a hypocrite, given that in a 2010 article about a proposed mosque to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, Shane fretted that any U.S. opposition voiced to the project would somehow make radical Muslim extremists hate America even more: "Anti-Islam Protest in U.S. Bolsters Extremists, Experts Say."
Shane even asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich if he himself was fomenting radicalism with his opposition to the mosque. Talk about "however illogical"!
Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker and a potential 2012 presidential candidate, said in a Fox News interview that "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington," a comment that drew criticism for appearing to equate those proposing the Islamic center with Nazis.
Asked about the view that such remarks could fuel radicalism, Mr. Gingrich sent an e-mail response on Friday that did not directly address his critics...