John Leo

In an excellent article last week, Colin Nickerson of the Boston Globe said the crime was being attributed to a “predominantly Muslim youth gang” notorious for  “virulent anti-Semitism.”  The gang’s taunting phone calls to Halimi’s father were filled with anti-Semitic slurs and a rabbi had been told, “We have a Jew.” The Globe said hatred of Jews is now a hallmark of what’s cool in France, even among young immigrants from non-Muslim nations. Very strong article. No dancing around, just good reporting.

Governments and the media often avoid calling terrorism by its proper name. Presumably the idea is to calm the public and avoid embarrassing Muslims. It took nine months for the FBI and the government to admit that the attack on L.A. airport in 2002 was a terrorist operation. We had been told that personal reasons might explain why a pro-Palestinian gunman, who openly admitted the desire to kill civilians, would kill two people at an El Al counter. The same verbal dance took place recently when the Iranian student rented a large van and tried to run down and kill as many students as possible in North Carolina. He said he was attempting to: “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.”  But the university tried desperately to avoid the obvious T-word.

Tony Blankley wrote a column, March 8, on the underreporting of Muslim violence. He said British politicians tell him there is increasing radical Muslim street violence, explicitly motivated by radical Islam, but not reported or characterized as such. Blankely said rioting Moroccan youths in Antwerp went on a rampage, beating up reporters, and destroying cars, but police were instructed not to arrest or stop them. A database search shows little reports on Antwerp riots. The scary riots in Australia last December, pitting Lebanese immigrants against native whites, were well covered.  But nobody seems quite sure that we are getting the full story about other serious disturbances. From time to time, the Internet carries reports of riots that don’t make the newspapers, but they are mostly uncheckable.

Suppressing news, whether out of multicultural deference or fear, is a perilous business. We can’t know how to react to upheavals if we aren’t told about them.

John Leo

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

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