While We Condemn Newsweek
(and they deserve it), let's not forgot the true offenders. Boston Globe: Why Islam is Disrespected By Jeff Jacoby
Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers -- "They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols" -- was any reader surprised? The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek. From the White House down, the magazine was slammed -- for running an item it should have known might prove incendiary, for relying on a shaky source, for its animus toward the military and the war. Over and over, Newsweek was blamed for the riots' death toll. Conservative pundits in particular piled on. "Newsweek lied, people died" was the headline on Michelle Malkin's popular website. At NationalReview.com, Paul Marshall of Freedom House fumed: "What planet do these [Newsweek] people live on? . . . Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article." All of Marshall's choler was reserved for Newsweek; he had no criticism at all for the marauders in the Muslim street. Then there was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who announced at a Senate hearing that she had a message for "Muslims in America and throughout the world." And what was that message? That decent people do not resort to murder just because someone has offended their religious sensibilities? That the primitive bloodlust raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan was evidence of the Muslim world's dysfunctional political culture? No: Her message was that "disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States."