Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Koran Abuse"

The Newsweek story that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushed a Koran down the toilet is now retracted. I caught this at Pardon My English, which quite appropriately slammed Newsweek for an irresponsible report with potentially forseeable consequences, and this from Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics, which places the blame for the actual physical destruction done squarely on the heads of the rioters.

But I think the words of the retraction are more revealing of the motive behind the story than anything else:


Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal
military investigation had uncovered Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay...

Quran abuse. My question is why that even rises to the level of a story. Would it matter if it turned out that it was a prisoner at Gitmo who did that just to create a problem? Or was this an effort ont he part of Newsweek to break the next Abu Ghraib?

This means that Newsweek had several assumptions in rushing a specious story to print: 1) The allegation that a Koran was destroyed at Gitmo was immediately presumed to be the act of jackboot U.S. interrogators and could never be the act of a prisoner, 2) no damage should ever come to a copy of the Koran at the hands of a non-Muslim American, but there is nothing wrong with a Muslim prisoner using his U.S. military-provided Koran as a tool to clog his toilet in order to work mischief at the prison, 3) mistreating a copy of the Koran fits the definition of "torture", and finally, 4) the media is to a degree requiring an accounting of the Koran copies which the military provides the prisoners, and the military must guard those books with the same seriousness as they guard the prisoners because Wahabism is a preferred sect to the western media.

Newsweek ran this story with no corroboration, knowing that, true or not, it would inflame certain hypersensitive Muslim sects who already have difficulty conforming their behavior to the bounds of civility. And for that, they should be ashamed. And so should the rioters.

I heard a fascinating question Monday night on Hugh Hewitt from a caller. She asked whether a Christian, seeing a Bible and a small child in the road, with a car racing towards them both and time to save but one, should the Christian rescue the Bible at the expense of the child, or the child at the expense of the Bible? This one's a no-brainer. But, for the hopelessly morally confused, you rescue the child. Bibles can be bought, and they say the same thing from copy to copy. Then she asked the question with a Muslim and the Koran. And I began to wonder. Because the way that I hear some of the radical Islamists speak, I would assume that they would let the child go in favor of the book. And when you look at the culture in which they live, it increases the doubt in one's mind.

Islamist culture is increasingly becoming anti-civility and anti civilization. Women are treated like criminals for being women. They must wear full body covering, and for even the slightest infraction, they are spat upon and beaten. Is it just me, or does anyone else believe that such barbaric behavior is not excused by writing it off to cultural norms? "That's just their way" does not justify wanton mistreatment of fellow people. It has become a culture of profound disrespect and lawless emotionalism designed to glorify nothing and reward nobody.

And while the Newsweek story is used as an excuse for the rioting, let's be really clear--there is no excuse for civil disorder random violence and murder. Newsweek certainly has some responsibility here, but they did not control the actions of these people whom I believe were just waiting for an excuse to get mad.

Nonetheless, I leave this post where I began it. The term "Koran abuse" says a good deal more than the meanings contained in the words themselves, and reflects an unfortunate bias on behalf of Newsweek which may explain why the story ran as it did.

And it reminds me of the term "Bible beating". Bible beating, rather than being the parallel to "Koran abuse", instead is a term used by the left to describe efforts by Christians to spread their faith by explaining it to the world. It's a particularly vulgar term which implies that Christians are wrong for spreading their beliefs. But Islamism is about spreading the religion with the sword. And I've never heard the term "Koran beating" used to describe their proselytizing.

The media preference for Islamism is quickly growing old. And one would hope that Newsweek would learn from Dan Rather that simply wanting a story to be true because it coincides with your biases doesn't make it true. But this goof played a role in getting people killed.

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