Saturday, June 11, 2005

Islam's "bloody borders" and the press

A look at the web site of the Committee to Protect Journalists reveals a disturbing but unsurprising correlation: writing is a risky occupation if you are Muslim or live among Muslims. Of the fifteen most recent alerts and protests posted by CPJ, nine relate to attacks on or threats against journalists in places that are clearly Muslim-dominated (Lebanon, Bangladesh, Libya, etc.). four of the remaining six are about day-by-day developments in Nepal. Another attack is listed as occurring in Serbia and Montenegro, when in actuality it occurred in the predominantly Muslim enclave of U.N.-controlled Kosovo. And the last presumably non-Muslim case of journalist intimidation took place right here in my home town of New York City. Oh, but wait ... it's about Asra Nomani, an author and former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Asra Nomani

It seems some of her fellow Muslims have taken offense at her writing, so they plan to "slaughter" her and her parents, "halal style." The FBI is looking into it while the mainstream media (with the exception of the Washington Post) ignore the plight of a journalist under attack. The last time The New York Times mentioned Nomani was back in March. I wonder if they would see fit to print her name should the NYPD find her murdered for speaking out.

I'm not suggesting that Islam universally condones the harassment and murder of journalists. The problem is that Islam does not condemn such acts, at least not consistently and not with any moral fortitude. There is a reason that the datelines on CPJ's alerts and protests do not read, "Denmark," "Japan," or "Canada." The fact that one of them reads "U.S.A." should give us pause.


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