New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for a series of articles about Sheik Reda Shata, an imam in Brooklyn. In a speech to the Times newsroom after her victory, her editor lauded the series for helping to tear down "the wall of hatred” against Muslims in America.
Sunday’s similar, 8,400-word magazine cover profile, “A Marked Man In America,” featured Yale Ph.D. candidate Yasir Qadhi, a conservative Muslim trying to make the case for non-violence to resistant and radicalized younger Muslims. Even while Elliott engaged in soft-pedaling Islamic extremism, as she did in her 2007 piece, Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project commented that Elliott’s “exhaustive profile of an Islamic cleric....makes the depth and severity of radicalization among some young Muslim Americans very clear,” even if she didn’t necessarily set out to do so.
But this paragraph by Elliott is wildly overstated.
But alienation has many faces. America’s youngest Muslims have grown up in a newly hostile country, with mounting opposition to the construction of mosques, a national movement seeking to ban courts from consulting shariah, or Islamic law, and rising hate crimes against Muslims. While some young Muslims have sought distance, abandoning Islam and even changing their names, others have experienced a spiritual awakening. The most conservative have found a home in Salafiya.
A “hostile country”? As stated here before, there was no violent backlash against Muslims after 9-11, and there certainly hasn’t been one recently. Far more “hate crimes” (an amorphous definition anyway) have been committed against Jews in America than against Muslims, with no outcry from the Times. And consulting Islamic law in American court should be offensive on its face to any self-respecting media outlet that has battled so fiercely in other contexts for the complete separation of church and state.