May 25, 2005
Friend of FLAME:
By now weve all heard about the brouhaha and the rioting that
caused the deaths of almost twenty people that came about as the result
of six lines in a recent issue of Newsweek to the effect that
an American interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down the
The whole story is in all likelihood a hoax, and Newsweek shouldn't
have run with it. Have you ever tried to flush a heavy book down a
toilet? It is really very difficult.
But what is astounding in retrospect is the reaction of the famous
"Muslim street" to this non-event and how those concerned
(and many not even involved) jumped through hoops, trying to outdo
each other with abject apologies about this incident---an event that
had in all likelihood never occurred.
Representatives at the highest level of our government offered profuse
apologies. The editor of Newsweek virtually abased himself
in excuses and "retractions."
Jeff Jacoby's sober view of this matter, below, comes as a welcome
breath of fresh air. In it, he exposes radical Islam as a dysfunctional
movement, and he denounces those who are cowed by its tantrums. Jacoby,
a columnist for the Boston Globe, writes frequently about Israel
and the Middle East.
By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, May 19, 2005
you are concerned about the threat of fundamentalist Islam, as
we are, I recommend that you review FLAME's public relations message---"Worldwide
Islamic Terrorism: Are the U.S., Israel and other nations fighting
the same enemy?---which you can find at http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_75.html.
This piece cogently, yet powerfully addresses the danger of radical
Islam to Western democracies, and you may want to print it out
for friends and colleagues. Of course, as always, if you support
the dissemination of truthful messages like this in national and
international media, we welcome your tax-deductible donation.
Simply go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html
to make your contribution online.
It was front-page news this week when Newsweek
retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had
flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted
that Newsweek's story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting,
in which at least 17 people were killed.
But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years
by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.
No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed
out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's
"Piss Christ"a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine --
was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment
for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor,
appearing on "Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope
John Paul II.
There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence
in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient
shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah from
And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in
response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues
of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went
unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never
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 today 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 an international upwelling
of 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 slammedfor
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 -- not
a word -- 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?
That the Bush administration would redouble its efforts to defeat
the Islamofascist radicals who use religion as an excuse to foment
violence and terror?
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. We honor the sacred books of all the world's great religions."
Granted, Rice spoke while the rioting was still taking place and her
goal was to reduce the anti-American fever. But what "Muslims in America
and throughout the world" most need to hear is not pandering
What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration
of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done
to the Koran.
It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent
human beings in the name of Islam.
It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole.
It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an "insurgency"
in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up
for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred
and exhortations to "martyrdom."
But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet's
Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer
eating away at their religion.
It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization,
calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to "converge on our nation's
capital for a rally against terrorism" this month -- and having only
50 people show up.
Yes, Islam is disrespected. That will only change when throngs
of passionate Muslims show up for rallies against terrorism, and when
rabble-rousers trying to gin up a riot over a defiled Koran can't
get the time of day.
If you found Jeff Jacobyís article useful, we commend you to FLAMEís
piece on "Worldwide Islamic Terrorism: Are the U.S., Israel and other
nations fighting the same enemy?" You can find this message at http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_75.html.