It's become a widely-accepted
criticism in the United States that Muslims, including Islamic clerics and
theologians, have not sufficiently condemned Osama bin Laden and the 9/11
This "fact" has been used by
certain talk show hosts to imply that something must be fundamentally wrong
with the religion of Islam.
I've wondered since the beginning of
the War on Terrorism if there were really so few condemnations, or, if there
actually have been plenty of condemnations, but they just haven't been
My first inkling that the mass media
was inadequately covering the issue occurred when I saw representatives of
Muslim student groups on the Bill Maher
talk show "Politically Incorrect." After Maher asked them
why they weren't out in the streets condemning bin Laden, they replied that
they had been doing just that. But a large rally they had held to
express just such a viewpoint was ignored by the mass media.
I wasn't surprised, therefore, when
the New York Times finally did just run a piece
detailing the widespread condemnations of bin Laden among Muslims, including
by even the otherwise most militant, anti-Western Islamic clerics.
For example, one theologian in Qatar
with a long history of anti-American militancy has used language similar to that of
Mr. Bush and other American politicians.
"Islam, the religion of
tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack
on innocent human beings a grave sin" he said.
"Even in times of war, Muslims
are not allowed to kill anybody save the one who is engaged in
face-to-face confrontation with them."
"Killing hundreds of helpless
civilians," he added, "is a heinous crime in Islam."
Even the spiritual leader of Hezbollah
"has been relentless in his condemnation of the attacks in
Funny that it's only now, over four
months after 9/11, that these condemnations are getting substantial
Is the mass media's long delay in
providing the American public with this information just laziness on their
part? Could be.
Or maybe the delay is
deliberate. The purpose would be to first allow a certain impression
to gel in the public mind -- the lack of widespread condemnation of the 9/11
attacks by Muslims and their religious leaders. After this belief
takes hold, the media knows that later reports of condemnations taking place
will not do much to alter public opinion on the issue.
What would be purpose of fostering
such an impression? How about to make it easier to demonize Muslims in
the public mind, easier for the public to not be concerned about Muslim
civilian casualties in our bombing campaigns.
In other words, at the same time Bush
and government officials publicly stress "we're not at war with the
Muslim peoples of the world," the lack of reporting of Muslim
condemnations of bin Laden, and the talk show harping on this fact, allow an
acceptance of just such a war to develop in people's hearts and minds.
In comments to this site, certain
writers have actually expressed a total lack of concern for any Muslim
civilians we kill for just such a reason, because these civilians didn't
care about, or even supported, the September 11 attacks.
This is all admittedly speculative,
but such media manipulation wouldn't be inconsistent with present and past corporate media
practice of skewing their news coverage to advance the goals of U.S.