John Leo

Like many news junkies, I’ve noticed that stories putting Muslims in a bad light tend to be sketchy and underreported. A minor example is the comment - “the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House”--by the head Muslim chaplain of New York City’s prisons.  In Manhattan, remarks like that are nearly as conventional as talk about the weather, so the controversy was fairly small. It might have been larger if the media had shown any interest in other points the imam made. For instance that Muslim prisoners are being tortured in Manhattan, and that Muslims must be “hard against the kaffir” (i.e., nasty to infidels), which presumably city employees are not paid to recommend. (By the way, why are clergymen city employees at all?)

A much bigger example is the misleadingly low-key reporting of the Ilan Halimi murder in Paris. We now know that Halimi was killed as a classic expression of Jew Hatred. But with so much evasiveness and misdirection by police, government and press, it took a month to get that fact clearly on the table. Halimi, a cell phone salesman, was kidnapped and held for ransom by a mostly Muslim gang. He was horrifically tortured for three weeks, then slain.  From time to time, neighbors had come to watch the torture or to participate in it. Nobody called the gendarmes. At first the government and the press presented this story as a straightforward kidnapping for ransom. A spokesman said Jewishnesss may have played a role simply because the kidnappers thought Jews were rich. AP and UPI, in feeds to the U.S., barely mentioned the possibility of anti-Semitism. After arrests were made, the BBC worked hard to avoid using the word “Muslim,” though verses from the Koran were recited during the torture.

The Los Angeles Times account of February 28 shows how hard candor can be. It reported that the gang made hundreds of abusive phone calls to Jews and had systematically tried to kidnap Jews. But the reporters wrote this: “Rather than a premeditated anti-Semitic murder, it seems a more complex product of criminality and dysfunction in the narrow world of thug culture: a poisonous mentality that designates Jews as enemies along with other faces of ‘outsiders.’”  Oh, please. If whites had tortured and killed a black man, I doubt that reporters would be carrying on about how complex and unpremeditated it all was. They would just say it was a lynching

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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