'Tis the season ... 'Open season,' that is

Category: World Affairs Topics: Osama Bin Laden Views: 804
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"By gee, by gosh, by golly; it's time for mistletoe and holly." Or so the traditional Christmas Season song goes. But this year, the only season for Muslims is "open season" as far as the media is concerned. It seems every other news report suggests a Muslim connection to either real or threatened acts of violence. If it's not Algerians slipping across the U.S./Canadian border, it's Bin Laden hysteria. And if it's not Bin Laden, then it's other potential foreign threats.

There is no doubt that various individuals who happen to be Muslim, and who profess Islam as their faith, have recently either participated in or threatened to participate in illegal activity. Did Ahmad Ressam attempt to bring seriously suspicious materials into the United States? Yes. Has Osama Bin Laden called for a war on America, including its innocent civilians? Yes. But do individuals such as these represent a credible mainstream threat of Islam as the driving force behind millennial terrorism? No.

Unfortunately, Muslims face a serious problem of semantics, a problem unlikely to resolve itself any time in the near future. At its most basic level, the problem stems from the media's failure to recognize that there are other motivations for violence than one's religious background. For instance, the Fox News Channel aired an interview with so-called "terrorism expert" Brian Levin Monday morning in which he focused on the current hijacking crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. His comments were replete with phrases such as "Islamic fundamentalism" and he made the implicit suggestion that there is a viable push by Muslims in Kashmir to establish some radical, militant Islamic state there. Not only that, but Levin also suggested that the Taliban were preventing the storming of the hijacked aircraft because they were loathe to move against their fellow "fundamentalists."

Mr. Levin is obviously misguided in his analysis. He also failed to pick up a morning newspaper, which would have informed him of the Taliban's plan to storm the aircraft should more passengers be injured by the hijackers.

I have news for Mr. Levin and any other self-appointed terrorism "experts." No Muslim that follows the true fundamentals of the religion would hijack a plane and stab a passenger to death.

Levin is but a cog in the wheel of semantic misrepresentation of Muslims. The Fox News anchor allowed him to make those statements unchallenged. And many other anchors are just as irresponsible; and accusatory language is allowed to slide through virtually unchecked most of time. And thanks to people such as Ahmed Ressam and his trunk-full of explosive material, the media have been given carte blanche to pursue wide-ranging conspiracy theories and to use language that maligns Muslims. It's not necessarily done with malice, but its acceptability results in the same amount of harm.

So in closing, let's recap this seasons highlights by all singing together:

On the 12th day of Christmas the media got for me:

12 bombs exploding;
11 unlawful border crossings
10 threatening phone calls
9 German mail bombs
8 embassy closings
7 FBI searches
6 suspicious Algerians
5 State Department warnings
4 extremist groups
3 Rouge states
2 Bin Laden plots
And a hijacked Indian Airlines plane

Ali Asadullah is the Editor of iviews.com


  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Osama Bin Laden
Views: 804

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