Upon further research and examination into the Army's complete findings on the Fort Hood shootings, in a February 22 report, the Boston Globe's Bryan Bender conceded that politically-incorrect conservatives were right all along - just not in those words of course.
Immediately after Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 U.S. soldiers November 5, major news networks and publication bent over backwards to omit Hasan's Islamic identity or to excuse the killing of 13 soldiers as a result of stress or psychosis.
Report after report, interview after interview, and press conference after press conference, reporters, politicians, and government officials warned against jumping to conclusions - in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The ICU is a strong proponent of Sharia law, and an organization dubbed by some the Taliban of Africa for its radical interpretation of Islam and its support for some violent elements of the Islamic community (like Osama Bin Laden).
Abukar Arman, the Somali Unity government's envoy to the United States, is open about his advocacy of Sharia as long as it is "adapted to address contemporary political, social, economic, and spiritual challenges in a just way." He lays out a number conditions that would have to be satisfied for sharia to be effectively implemented in Somalia. These include respect for life, assembly, conscience, thought, rule of law, political freedom, and international peace. Considering the violent history of the Somali Unity government and he ICU, that is not likely.
Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). (H/t the Jawa Report)
How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab? And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?
What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'
Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'
Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...
Now is the time of year when the network dramas are running the “Happy Holidays” message episodes. The NCIS franchise, a sort of military CSI show, ran with this message in each of last night’s episodes – with a twist. On NCIS, a young Marine is found murdered. He is found to be a recent convert to Islam (formerly a Christian), and the son of a retired Christian Marine chaplain. As the plot progresses, we find that the widow (also a Christian) has been, shall we say, unfaithful during her husband’s deployment. The father (the chaplain) has been paying his son’s unit members to harass him into quitting the Marines. And the murderer, we find, is the brother of the deceased.
Why did one brother kill the other?
While nobody is promoting discrimination against any group of people based on the actions of a maniacal few, one has to question if the alleged terror experienced by Muslims on this anniversary warrants a focal point? On a day in which Americans take time to remember the devastation and the loss of life on 9/11, we are encouraged by the AP to feel sorry for those who might receive strange stares, or may 'feel' less safe on this day because they are Muslim.
Yet there is little mention of Americans themselves who feel a little less safe on 9/11, because we remember being attacked on that day, we remember watching over 3,000 of our friends and family dying that day, we remember the screams of the heroes on Flight 93, the screams of women and men, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, who desperately made an attempt to take back a plane scheduled for a suicide mission which surely would have killed many more.
A quote from Sarah Sayeed attempts to capture the anxiety of the day as she wonders, ‘should I go anywhere?' An appropriate question, but perhaps more so for Americans who asked themselves the same question weeks, months, and even years after the tragedy. There is no attempt to capture the anxiety of those who still give a quick glance up to the sky each time the sound of an airplane fills their ears.
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
Take Michael Scheuer, for example. He began as an outspoken critic of President Clinton’s leadership during the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden. Later, Scheuer became a very vocal critic of the Iraq war, and of President Bush’s foreign policy also broadcast throughout the mainstream media. For a media that claim to love bipartisanship, one might think that Scheuer would be on the verge of permanent punditry.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
Last week, the BBC aired a new TV series titled "Bonekickers" touted as a "groundbreaking" show where "history comes alive," and a series that is "Based in fact." The premier episode, though features an odd thing if "fact" is the aim of the Beeb's new TV series: a Christian beheading a Muslim. Yeah, THAT is really a "fact" based premise, isn't it?
Of course, the few remaining Christians in Britain have found themselves a bit put out by this "fact based" show where it is a Christian beheading a Muslim instead of the other way 'round.
And it isn't just a beheading, the entire episode turns our current "fact based" reality on its head as the plot gives us a group of "right wing Christians" bent on purging England of its immigrant population, a group the TV series is fictionalizing as the "White Wings Alliance." In a day when extremist Muslims the world over are killing people for not being a Muslim, this show features the exact opposite situation. Christian "extremists" killing innocent, moderate Muslims. For what reason? Only the Beeb knows for sure.
"Should all have been forgiven or does the teacher's sentence send a fair message that foreigners sholud [sic] be more sensitive when it comes to religion?"
Thus concludes Manya Brachear's November 29 post to the Chicago Tribune's "The Seeker" religion news blog. Brachear was opening discussion up in her comments thread to the case of British subject Gillian Gibbons, a 54-year-old private school teacher in Sudan who faced the potential punishment of 40 lashes. Her crime: allowing her students to name a class teddy bear Muhammad.
The case had sparked international outrage and official protest by the British government. Perhaps in no small part from all the scrutiny, the Islamic clerics who have sentenced Ms. Gibbons handed down a relatively "light" sentence: 15 days in jail followed by deportation back to the United Kingdom.
Perhaps hoping to evince detached balance and objectivity, the Tribune's Brachear, a religion reporter and blogger, entitled her blog post, "Who's Insulting Islam?"
While Brachear did find moderate Muslims who decried charges ever having been filed against Gibbons in the first place, she failed to find anyone to insist that Sudan's government, or at least its judicial system, is held sway by a backwards, intolerant, theocratic imposition of Sharia law. What's more, Brachear found space to hint that the British government may be to blame for nearly causing Gibbons to face the lash:
"Would the media laugh at a nude chocolate Mohammed?"
So asks Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank Lockwood with the headline to a October 16 blog post hitting fellow journalists for a double standard in reporting insults to religious faith.
Reacting with disdain towards a flippant Associated Press article about a confectionery rendering of a naked Jesus Christ, Lockwood answers with a resounding no:
Can you imagine the national media laughing it up about an anatomically-correct chocolate Mohammed, on display in Manhattan with his genitals on display? They'd be too afraid to print the pictures. They don't have the nerve to print artistic renderings of the Prophet with his clothes on!
On August 26 and September 2, the Washington Post refused to run the weekly "Opus" comic strip by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed out of concerns of insensitivity to Muslims. NewsBusters associate editor wrote about the controversy here and here, and MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell discussed the Post's double standard on religious sensibilities on Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News program.
Weeks after the controversy has subsided, NewsBusters reader Rusty Weiss shot me a message informing me that a classic "Bloom County" strip from Breathed in the September 28 edition of Yahoo Comics is quite appropriate coming on the heels of the controversy (see below fold for the comic strip). Writes Weiss:
Where are the moderate Muslims who willingly speak out against the Islamist agenda, and why are their voices not heard in the mainstream media?
These questions are explored in a documentary that is receiving national exposure over the next several weeks via an Oregon affiliate of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Producers and advisors with WETA, the Washington D.C. affiliate of PBS, had previously denied airing the film as part of the "America at a Crossroads Series."