A double tragedy occurred this past Friday, one a physical tragedy unseen, unpredictable, and inhuman involving a right-wing extremist in Norway hell bent on causing apparent destruction. The full motives are yet to be disclosed but in the coming days it should be known what his motivation was, though it will not justify the killing of over 100 people most of them young adults on the cusps of life.
The second tragedy occurred thousands of miles away in the United States of America and it involved the usual suspects, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX NEWS. The minute this horrific attack on Oslo and the gun shooting on the Island of Utoya occurred the American media’s fearsome threesome with the sidekicks of the Washington Post, New York Times, CBS NEWS and others joined forces in equally condemning Islamic Terrorist as the perpetrators. Questions such as “Why Norway” and “What did Norway do to them” began to arise. I too began to ponder, why Norway and began to pray please do not let this be Muslim Extremist! Then to everyone in the media worlds shock the perpetrator turned out to be a right-wing extremist with Christian fundamentalist ties. The Norwegian media and several other European media bases still called him a terrorist and a madman and began to pry into his right wing/Christian fundamentalist history, while the American media did something I honestly couldn’t believe they stopped coverage of the incident and began to cover other stories such as a Casey Anthony. Example: Anderson Cooper at 9pm his main story: Casey Anthony. The American media which can be a bit dramatic sometimes seemed to turn off their drama machines and ignore the attacks and when mentioning the attacks never referring to the subjects ideological background or his religious affiliation and only calling him a lone madman. This “journalism” is sad and sickening. Over 100 people are dead and when the subject was believed to be Muslim the American media had an orgasmic field day with posts such as these:
|Article on FoxNews.com, July 22, 2011, by James Jay Carafano, Director of The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.|
When the subject was cleared of Islamist ties the American media ignored the story, a tragedy in itself due to the magnitude of the horror the attacks caused.
The automatic assumption by our “trusted” media sources was that the attack was a terrorist attack….that is accurate…..therefore the attacker must be a Muslim…..that is the inaccurate part. The only reason to why the American media abandoned the story is due to the narrative of the American media. Since 9-11 occurred the narrative is that Islamic terrorism is the biggest threat to this world (I am not saying it is not a threat that would be foolish but it is not the only nor the biggest threat) so any other threat is not as extreme and therefore deserves little to no coverage. The minute the attacker turned out to be right-wing extremist the news story was dropped. If the news was not dropped then the attacker was identified as being non-Islamist, but the news story or the article covering the story went on to cover how Islamic terrorist can benefit from this or how Islamic Terrorist inspired this. The American media refused to drop the narrative at some point. Pitiful and irresponsible.
|Article on NBCNews.com, July 22, 2011, By Robert Windrem, NBC News Investigative Producer for Special Projects|
Another issue that arose is the apparent monopoly Islam has on terrorism. Now I am not defending “Islamic terrorist” I am defending Islam. If a Muslim carries out a terrorist attack he/she is doing it for their religious beliefs and are just being devout. When a non-Muslim carries out a terrorist attack he/she is seen as a crazy lone wolf who is obviously demented, their political/religious affiliation does not have anything to do with their actions and the action itself is not considered terrorism. This narrative makes it seem that terrorism and Islam are something that go hand-in-hand, that Muslims invented this idea of terrorism; this narrative being sold destroys cultures and causes rifts in society that can only lead to more violence. I am not saying that we need to educate the people that Christians are just as horrible as Muslims, I am saying we need to educate people in the fact that terrorism is not monopolized by Islam, that terrorist regardless of religion or political ideology are all demented fools who use their religion or ideology as a mechanism to justify their sick and twisted acts. We need to educate the people that being a Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist, a member of the political left or political right does not equate you to being a terrorist, but rather that those who are terrorist are trying to equate themselves with members of these faiths or ideologies and are causing catastrophic damage when they hijack (no pun intended) these faiths and ideologies for their own sick and twisted actions. Groups such as Al-Qaeda, the IRA, The Japanese Red Army, and many other groups do not represent the whole of the community they claim to represent, instead they are the exact opposite of what they claim to represent. Unless we start realizing this we will end up tearing innocent communities apart in an attempt to “weed” out the terrorist.
Ashraf Barakat is an undergrad at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. His majors are History and Education. He is currently getting his certificate in Middle Eastern history. His blog http://arabspring2011.blogspot.com.