October 13, 2010

Who is islamophobic now?

In its misguided editorial endorsing the planning board's approval of allowing the ground zero mosque to be built, the Washington Post wrote:

We understand the sensitivities and the emotions that have accompanied every decision related to Lower Manhattan since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But many of the protests used the murderous actions of 19 Muslim fanatics on that awful day to smear the entire religion of Islam. To succumb to that kind of bigotry would be to give in to the extremists who want to finish what those hijackers started.

First of all, the editorial condemns what is commonly called "Islamophobia." That's what it means by bigotry. Second of all it considered opposition to the mosque as "giv[ing] in to the extremists."

There were of course valid reasons for opposing the mosque, but the Post continued:

Despite the demagoguery, support for the project was solid where it counted. The local community board gave its nonbinding nod in May by a vote of 29 to 1, with 10 abstentions. The City Council has the power to overturn decisions on landmark status, but the council speaker made it clear that wouldn't happen. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) never wavered. Neither did state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who has rebuffed repeated calls to investigate the finances of the group behind Cordoba House.

Now refusing to investigate the financing was just wrong. But the Post was praising Cuomo for his failure to execute his job. As Barry Rubin wrote at the time:

So let's forget for the moment about favoring or opposing construction of this massive project and merely evaluate it without taking any position on the issue. Here's what we see: rather than being the victim of discrimination, the mosque project was the beneficiary of special privilege that would not have been accorded to someone else, all other things being equal.

Last week the Washington Post didn't publish a cartoon out of fear that it would offend Muslims. In response Matt Welch wrote (via Instapundit):

"No, Martel/Brauchli, you pulled the cartoon because your fear of Muslims outweighs your commitment to free expression, period."

Note two things about the Post's refusal to run the cartoon. One is that the decision gave in to the extremists. The other is that fear of Muslims can be called Islamophobia too. The Post in one action (or actually inaction) did the two things it condemned two months ago!

Regarding the Cordoba mosque, the Washington Post preached that community sensitivities should take a back seat to (phony) religous freedom concerns. Now, regarding the Wiley cartoon, the Washington Post practice is to limit a free press in deference to community sensitivities. Who knew that the Bill of Rights was so elastic?

Posted by SoccerDad at October 13, 2010 8:17 PM
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Comments

James Taranto said

'Islamophobia' Double Standard
Blogger David Gerstman makes a very astute observation about those who lecture Ground Zero mosque opponents on the evils of "Islamophobia." Gerstman quotes from a pro-mosque editorial that appeared in the Washington Post in August:

We understand the sensitivities and the emotions that have accompanied every decision related to Lower Manhattan since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But many of the protests used the murderous actions of 19 Muslim fanatics on that awful day to smear the entire religion of Islam. To succumb to that kind of bigotry would be to give in to the extremists who want to finish what those hijackers started.

Last week, as Reason's Matt Welch notes, the Post pulled a syndicated Non Sequitur cartoon titled "Where's Muhammad?"--it did not actually depict the Muslim prophet--for fear of offending Muslims. Gerstman:

Note two things about the Post's refusal to run the cartoon. One is that the decision gave in to the extremists. The other is that fear of Muslims can be called Islamophobia too. The Post in one action (or actually inaction) did the two things it condemned two months ago!

Regarding the Cordoba mosque, the Washington Post preached that community sensitivities should take a back seat to (phony) religous freedom concerns. Now, regarding the Wiley cartoon, the Washington Post practice is to limit a free press in deference to community sensitivities. Who knew that the Bill of Rights was so elastic?

This isn't precisely right: Freedom of the press gives the Post the right not to publish the cartoon if it so chooses. But Gerstman is right that to suppress speech out of fear of how Muslims will react is precisely "Islamophobia," the term the Post wrongly uses to describe the offense most Americans take when Muslims seek to exploit the 9/11 atrocity.l

Posted by: Sabba Hillel at October 14, 2010 4:15 PM
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