Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Best of the Web Today

Just a reminder that James Taranto is a great columnist, and if it isn't already, the Best of the Web should be on your daily reading list. The following two stories are from today's BOTW.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 2:46 p.m. EDT

Moderate Terrorists
"The first Muslim to be crowned Miss England has warned that stereotyping members of her community is leading some towards extremism," reports London's Daily Mail:

Hammasa Kohistani made history last year when she was chosen to represent England in the Miss World pageant. . . .

She said: "The attitude towards Muslims has got worse over the year. Also the Muslims' attitude to British people has got worse.

"Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway. It will take a long time for communities to start mixing in more. . . ."

So let's see if we follow this argument. According to Kohistani, Muslims are so thin-skinned and so violent that they respond to prejudice with terrorism.

Um, isn't that an invidious stereotype?

Maybe she got the idea from a 1997 Onion piece, datelined Hebron, West Bank:

In an emotionally charged press conference Monday, crazed Palestinian gunman Faisal al Hamad expressed frustration over the stereotyping of his people.

"As a crazed Palestinian gunman, I feel hurt by the negative portrayal of my people in the media," said al Hamad, 31, a Hebron-area terrorist maniac. "None of us should have to live with stereotyping and ignorance."

He then began screaming and firing into a busload of Israeli schoolchildren.

"It hurts that in this supposedly enlightened day and age, people still make assumptions about other people," al Hamad said. "We should not rely on simple generalizations. Each crazed Palestinian gunman is an individual."

For another angle on the stereotyping of Muslims, consider this Reuters dispatch:

Al Qaeda called on non-Muslims especially in the United States to convert to Islam and abandon their "misguided" ways or else suffer, according to a video tape posted on a Web site on Saturday.

Now Reuters for the past five years has refused to call al Qaeda a terrorist group or even acknowledge that 9/11 was a terrorist act. "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." So when the word terrorist appears, it's generally in scare quotes.

But no scare quotes around "Islam" in the passage above. In Reuters' view, the men of al Qaeda may or may not be terrorists, but they are true Muslims.

"U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured a top al Qaeda in Iraq leader who ordered the bombing in February of a Shiite Muslim shrine in Samarra that started a wave of ferocious sectarian killings, Iraqi officials said Sunday," the Washington Post reports from Baghdad:

The arrest of Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, described by officials as the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was the latest in a series of blows to the Sunni Arab insurgent group, believed responsible for numerous suicide attacks on civilians and other deadly violence. . . .

"The al Qaeda organization in Iraq has been seriously weakened and is now suffering from a leadership vacuum," Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, said at a news conference. . . .

Iraqi officials said al-Saeedi, an intelligence officer for then-President Saddam Hussein, was captured within the past few weeks as he hid among women and children in an unspecified location just north of Baghdad.

This is all lies! All lies, we tell ya! Everyone knows Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda. It's just a distraction! Even more preposterous is the claim that "an intelligence officer for then-President Saddam Hussein" would join al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein was a secularist, whereas the al Qaeda guys are religious fanatics. Everyone knows that, except maybe the boobs who watch Fox News! The kind of transformation the Post is describing would violate the laws of physics. It's just another example of the Bush administration's war on science, and it's sad to see the Post drinking the neocon Kool-Aid.


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