Refusing to say that Muslim terrorists are Muslims

I am alerted by Michelle Malkin to the amazing paucity of the “M” word in the Canadian Mounted Police’s announcement of the arrest of 17 Muslim suspected terrorists in Canada, and by blogger Roger Simon to a similar paucity in the New York Times’ coverage of the arrest. But the Times article, “17 Held in Plot to Bomb Sites in Ontario,” by Ian Austen and David Johnston, is much more remarkable in its politically correct delicacy than Simon lets on. It would be worthwhile to take a look at just how the Times manages to publish an 1,843-word article about a Muslim terrorist ring without ever saying that they are Muslims. The story begins:

OTTAWA, June 3—Seventeen Canadian residents were arrested and charged with plotting to attack targets in southern Ontario with crude but powerful fertilizer bombs, the Canadian authorities said Saturday.

Ok, they were Canadian residents. And who were these Canadian residents? In the sixth paragraph, the Times says that they are mainly of “South Asian descent,” and had no known connection with Al Qaeda:

The 17 men were mainly of South Asian descent and most were in their teens or early 20’s. One of the men was 30 years old and the oldest was 43 years old, police officials said. None of them had any known affiliation with Al Qaeda.

In the seventh paragraph, a Mounted Police assistant commissioner is quoted saying:

“They represent the broad strata of our society. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed.”

Students, employed, unemployed—yes, that’s quite a broad stratum, isn’t it? Truly taking in all the elements of society. Fortunately, Malkin lists the 12 of the 17 suspects who are adults:

1. Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto;
2. Zakaria Amara, 20, Mississauga, Ont.;
3. Asad Ansari, 21, Mississauga;
4. Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Mississauga;
5. Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga;
6. Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston, Ont.;
7. Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston;
8. Jahmaal James, 23, Toronto;
9. Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Toronto;
10. Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, Toronto;
11. Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, Mississauga;
12. Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga.

You can see what a remarkably diverse cross section of society is represented here. Do Austen and Johnston ever tell us that these suspects are actually Muslims? Let’s go through the article and find out.

In fact, we have to read to the 32nd paragraph of this 43-paragraph-long article (note to geeks: I didn’t count paragraphs to arrive at this information, but used a simple Word macro), before we see the word “Muslim.” However, “Muslim” in this paragraph does not refer to the terror suspects, but to the Muslim Canadian Congress. When one of the suspects is mentioned, his community is described not as Muslim, but as South Asian:

Tarek Fatah, the communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a national group, said that Mr. Jamal, the oldest of the suspects, is a well-known and fiery figure in the Toronto area’s South Asian community, and that he was the imam of the Ar-Rahman Quran Learning Center, a mosque in a rented industrial building in Mississauga.

Thus Jamal, who is the oldest of the arrested terror suspects and likely their ringleader, is an “Imam” at a “mosque” called the “Quran” Learning Center, but, according to the reporters, Jamal is not a leader of the Toronto area’s Muslim community, oh, no, he’s a leader of the Toronto area’s South Asian Community. A passage like this, in which the reporters blatantly refuse to name the thing they have just so clearly portrayed, can only be described as sickly perverse.

The next paragraph continues with the South Asian motif:

Immigration from South Asia greatly expanded in Canada beginning in the 1970’s, and, like several Canadian cities, Toronto and its suburbs have long had a large and prominent South Asian community. “He took over an otherwise peaceful mosque and threw out the old management,” Mr. Fatah said. “There were reports throughout the community of him making hate speeches.”

The word “Muslim” appears the second time in the article in paragraph 35, where Fatah is quoted saying:

“Law enforcement agencies have done a great service to the Muslim community by busting this terrorist cell.”

And that’s it. The word “Muslim” appears twice in the article, once to identify a Canadian Muslim organization which is unconnected with the suspects, and once to say that by busting the terrorists, law enforcement has done a great service to the Muslim community. This makes it sound as though the terrorists were threatening the Muslim community. Needless to say, Austen and Johnston do not quote any Canadian personage to the effect that law enforcement has done a great service to Canadian society by busting these Muslim terrorists.

Ok, so the Times is amazingly phobic to the word “Muslim.” But what about “Islam”? “Islam” first appears in the 22nd paragraph of this 43-paragraph-long article. However, the word is not mentioned as the religion of the men arrested in Canada, but as the middle name of a terror suspect recently arrested in the United States:

The F.B.I. issued a statement on Saturday saying there was a “preliminary indication” that some of the Canadian subjects might have had “limited contact” with two people from Georgia who were recently arrested. Those two were Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, an American of Bangladeshi descent, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, a Pakistani-born American.

In the next paragraph, the Times actually refers to “Islamic extremists.” However, this is not in connection with the suspects in Canada, but in connection with the fact that the two men arrested in Georgia are believed to have met with “like-minded Islamic extremists” in Canada. These “like-minded Islamic extremists” are not identified as the Canadian suspects:

Law-enforcement officials said the men arrested in Georgia had made “casing” videos of various sites in Washington, D.C., and have said that their case was linked to the arrests of several men in Britain last fall, and that the two were believed to have met with “like-minded Islamic extremists “ in Canada in March 2005.

In the next paragraph, Austen and Johnston inform us that the Georgia men had contact with the Canadian suspects, but they still decline to say that the Canadian suspects were themselves the “Islamic extremists” referred to in the previous paragraph:

A counterterrorism official in the United States said that while there was contact between the Georgia men earlier this year and those arrested in Canada on Friday, there was no evidence that the Georgia suspects were involved in the bombing plot.

And that’s it for the word “Islamic,” except for the 34th paragraph, where Fatah, making a point similar to the one I quoted earlier, refers to unspecified “many Islamists,” who, he says, are a danger to other Muslims, not to Canada in general:

“This is the work of people who believe they are victimized when they are not,” Mr. Fatah said. “Many Islamacists are preying on the Islamic community.”

Fatah’s reference to “many Islamists” suggests, without actually saying so, that the 17 suspects are themselves Islamists. And that’s as close as the story gets to the truth.

To sum up, in this 1,843-word article, the word “Muslim” appears twice, variations on the word “Islamic” appear three times, and nowhere do Austen and Johnston plainly identify the suspects as being “Muslims” or “Islamic.”

Try to picture the mental process of these Times reporters as they so carefully and systematically work around the fact that the suspects are Muslims, hinting at it one way, hinting at it another way, coming ever closer in a kind of tease, but never quite stating the truth outright. Such an exercise requires conscious effort, and conscious bad faith.

- end of initial entry -

Paul T. writes:

It gets even better. From a story in today’s Toronto Star about the 17 Muslim men who were arrested in the terror plot:

“Aside from the fact that virtually all are young men, it’s hard to find a common denominator.”

Yup, one’s a Chasid, one’s a Mormon, one’s an Episcopalian. All different! Collect them all!

LA replies:

Paul tells me that the quote in the printed version of the Toronto Star story, above, is slightly different from the online version, which is as follows:

In investigators’ offices, an intricate graph plotting the links between the 17 men and teens charged with being members of a homegrown terrorist cell covers at least one wall. And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.

The story continues:

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said yesterday the suspects are all Canadian residents and the majority are citizens. “They represent the broad strata of our community. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed,” he said.

People fairly regularly write to me and doubt my idea that the liberalism can be defeated and the West can be saved. But when I read something like that line from the Toronto Star about there being no common denominator among the suspects, I know that liberalism is doomed. When a belief system departs so floridly from reality as liberalism has done, it’s a sign of the end.

But I want to say more on this. What does it mean that the young men have no common denominator? If they were all software engineers, or if they were all fans of the same soccer team, or if they were all single, or if they were all married, or if they were all activists for the Liberal Party, then the reporter would have had no problem noticing a common denominator among them. But the characteristic of being a Muslim cannot be noticed, if we’re speaking of domestic terrorists, because liberalism forbids that any important non-Western trait be seen in a critical light. Since Islam cannot exist as a category with a negative connotation, the 17 accused terrorists have no common denominator.

Which brings me back to my above point. A belief system which as a matter of principle blandly denies the existence of very large, obvious, and important categories, shows by that fact that it cannot deal with reality and therefore cannot survive.

Spencer Warren writes:

The Canadian terror arrest stories in the New York Times and the Toronto Sun are perfect examples of political correctness as Cultural Marxism and of the growing “soft” totalitarianism of liberalism.

Contemporary liberalism’s highest ideal, as you eloquently explain, is to erase distinctions that might make any person or group feel inferior to the traditionalist majority, as Marxism-Leninism’s ideal was to erase all classes other than the proletariat. Distinctions and differences are of course inherent in human nature; thus these two ideologies are at war with human nature and society. They can advance their “ideal” only by employing coercion. The censorship and dishonesty of these two “news” articles are no different in their essence from Soviet Pravda. Indeed, in microcosm they embody the essence of any totalitarian state. For a long time I have believed the New York Times increasingly resembles Pravda; just like its communist relative, it unceasingly distorts, colors and misrepresents the truth—and even lies—in its fanatical promotion of what the communists like to call the “line,” i.e. party line. It also falls into moral corruption, which is an inevitable by-product of this fanaticism—e.g. the 2003 Jayson Blair affirmative action fiasco. Let’s call it from now on the Pravda Times.

A classic book on this dynamic of ideology and power is Soviet Politics: The Dilemma of Power, by Barrington Moore, Jr. This 1950 work is still admired by experts as one of the best books ever written about the Soviet Union.

Interested readers can see a brief catalogue of similar New York Times practices in my article, “The New York Times and the Left’s War on Truth.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 04, 2006 12:59 PM | Send

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