The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is putting some of the blame on both the Tea Party and the Republican Party for what it sees as a growing tide of anti-Muslim anger. CAIR officials said the rise in "Islamophobia" stems from the controversy surrounding the Islamic center and mosque that Muslims plan to build a few blocks from Ground Zero.
"We've seen a really strong uptick in Islamophobia recently - primarily sparked by the controversy over the Manhattan Islamic center," Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's chief spokesman, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. "We've seen hate vandalism at mosques in California; in Tennessee, we had an arson attack; at a mosque in Arlington, Texas, we had an arson attack; and something that wasn't even reported nationwide, in May we had a bomb attack at a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida," he said.
Hooper said the attacks could be driven by many factors: "The question is, why? Is it tied to the November elections? Is it tied to the rise of the Tea Party movement? Is it tied to the economy?" he asked. "I think it's pretty clear that it's been sparked...by these hate groups and their opposition to the Islamic community center in Manhattan."
A journalist hired by The New York Times to report on a controversial mosque at 9/11's Ground Zero and the failed Christmas Day bomb plot previously held a government lobbying position at the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The Associated Press and ABC News also enlisted former CAIR workers to cover stories involving the Muslim community, raising concerns over whether it's ethical for objective media outlets to hire ex-advocacy group employees to report on the issues they previously championed.
Sharaf Mowjood, who helped pen the Islam-focused articles for The New York Times and the Times' world-affairs paper the International Herald Tribune in December of 2009, worked as a government relations coordinator for CAIR up until at least March of 2008.
Mowjood's gushing, 1,200-word article on the controversial mosque planned for construction near the former site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks was titled "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero." All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the project or lauded its advocate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
Both news agencies initially jumped on CAIR's admitted speculation about the pickup truck's license plate numbers, which they claimed represented a slogan from a deceased white supremacist leader, and numbers which translated as "Heil Hitler." Brigid Schulte of the Post broke the controversy in her April 22 story, which only presented the Islamic advocacy group's side of the story (possibly because of privacy rules in Virginia). Sanchez did the same in his Tuesday segment.
Schulte followed through with an article on Thursday, after the owner of the truck, Douglas Story, contacted The Washington Post to claim that the numbers actually represented his favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who race under those respective numbers. Story was forced to get a new license plate after the Virginia DMV recalled his plate.
Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.
Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Dozier went on to cite American bigotry as another cause: “Muslim community leaders here say young people are also being driven to extremes by post-9/11 anti-Muslim propaganda like this.” An obscure anti-Muslim video was played as she continued: “And rising incidents of genuine anti-Muslim discrimination. Civil rights complaints have jumped 10 percent in just the past year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
While using C.A.I.R. as a credible source, Dozier only briefly mentioned the organization’s radical ties: “There’s been tension between the FBI and the Council over alleged links to militant groups which it denies.” She then offered a dismissive statement from C.A.I.R.: “It says U.S. authorities should start using the Muslim community as a resource, not an adversary, to help it police its own.”
On March 19th, I found a story on The Jerusalem Post detailing an attack by Muslim youths on a rabbinical assistant that occurred at a Brooklyn, New York subway station. The youths grabbed Uria Ohana's yarmulke off his head then ran off yelling "Allahu Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is great." I have waited four days to report this story myself to see what other news outlets decide to cover the incident and how they would cover it. So far, the only U.S. news outlet that covered it was the New York Post. It has been nearly ignored by the rest of the media.
The dearth of coverage is curious because it seems a natural story for the left to get their "hate crimes" dander worked up over. After all, we have a Muslim gang attacking a lone Jew right in the middle of Brooklyn! Yet, the news gives us zip for coverage.
Update at bottom of post.
Apparently to prove that the US is filled with Muslim hating Yahoos, ABC went on the hunt to find "Islamophobia" in America and the result is "Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?" Since they didn't really know where to find any, ABC News decided to create their own prejudice against Muslims by hiring an actress to put on Muslim dress and get "confronted" by a Muslim hating coffee store server -- also an actor hired by ABC. Then, they rolled the cameras, opened the doors to the public and, viola, ABC "found" prejudice in America. How hard is it to "find" something that you invented in the first place? Let's find out...
ABC is "shocked" to find that their little manufactured moments revealed how some customers reacted. "Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility," ABC proclaimed.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has issued a non-apology apology to blogger Charles Johnson for an article in which a reporter inaccurately and unfairly attributed remarks in a blog comment thread to Johnson himself. Writing at Little Green Footballs, Johnson quotes an e-mail from a Post-Dispatch editor. The editor was informing Johnson of a correction to run in the paper, but closed with a non-apology apology (emphasis Johnson's):
That is also the reason that he did not feel compelled to get a response from you for this particular story. At issue here were the comments in question, not your blog posting. No one in the article was criticizing or questioning you or your blog or holding you responsible for those comments.
When it comes to Islam, the approach of too many media outlets seems to be to avoid questioning authority. Whether this attitude stems from fear (as in the case of Lawrence O'Donnell), ignorance, or plain old-fashioned political correctness doesn't really matter because the end result is the same: when extremist Islamic groups like the Council on Islamic Relations say "jump," far too many news organizations say "how high."
It's not asking for much, really. When, for instance, other religious groups (be they Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc.) make complaints, the usual procedure is to talk to the person or group being accused and allow them to tell there side of the story. It's basic journalism. It appears, however, that St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Tim Townsend doesn't believe that, at least when the complaint involves CAIR making allegations against the conservative blog Little Green Footballs. Let's take a look:
Proving once again in good European form that they think nothing American is democratic, good or fair, Reuters gives us a pity party for CAIR who is whining that they "feel left out" of the 2008 presidential elections. With the headline blaring "Some non-Christians feel left out of election," Reuters gives us a tale of woe guaranteed to make Europeans shake their heads knowingly that we Americans are really just Christian nuts out to oppress all minorities. One does wonder, however, how CAIR would like it if Muslims did become a focus of the 2008 elections? In light of current events it is doubtful if such a focus would be favorable to them, so, were I them, I'd be happy no one is paying attention to them!
In a U.S. election campaign where presidential candidates from both major parties have talked openly about their Christian faith, some non-Christians feel shut out or turned off.
Listen, this is a majority Christian nation and anyone wanting to get elected is naturally going to talk as closely as possible to that majority. This country is still over 75% Christian, so it is a logical presumption that citizens whose religion represents only a few percentage points would not be a focus of a politician's efforts!