Monday, May 16, 2005

Islamic Sensitivity and Newsweek

Newsweek got itself in a mess by publishing the half-checked story alleging that US guards at Guantanamo Base in Cuba flushed a Koran down a toilet. The story spread and Islamic leaders called for anti-US action which resulted in riots that have killed about 20 people. 20 deaths for printed pages being desecrated. The Muslims are so sensitive. Except when they are not. In April, 2002, Palestinians occupied the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Being so sensitive about religious symbols and artifacts how did they act?
On April 24, [2002] the Jerusalem Post reported on the damage that the PA forces were causing: Three Armenian monks, who had been held hostage by the Palestinian gunmen inside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, managed to flee the church area via a side gate yesterday morning. They immediately thanked the soldiers for rescuing them. They told army officers the gunmen had stolen gold and other property, including crucifixes and prayer books, and had caused damage.... One of the monks, Narkiss Korasian, later told reporters: “They stole everything, they opened the doors one by one and stole everything....They stole our prayer books and four crosses...they didn’t leave anything. Thank you for your help, we will never forget it.” Israeli officials said the monks said the gunmen had also begun beating and attacking clergymen. 41 When the siege finally ended, the PA soldiers left the church in terrible condition: The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity seized church stockpiles of food and “ate like greedy monsters” until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They also guzzled beer, wine, and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests’ quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39-day siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for the entire ordeal.... The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the gunmen created a regime of fear. Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. “Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold,” said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.
Source: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs via Newsweek should recall its story, not just say they are sorry people took it wrong. Update.Newsweek did retract the story on Tuesday. But I don't blame the deaths on Newsweek. The response came from the leaders of Islam, so they are responsible. Update 5/17 The Strangest Take. The Los Angeles Times manages to put the blame on Bush.
Selective Outrage - According to chaos theory, the flapping of a single butterfly's wings can trigger a hurricane halfway across the globe, a phenomenon known as the "butterfly effect." Now the Bush administration thinks it has detected something that might be called the "Newsweek effect." It says the magazine's publication of an item in its May 9 issue, alleging that U.S. guards flushed the Koran down a toilet in order to humiliate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, was a cause of riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan last week that left at least 14 people dead.
You saw it. The LAT can't imagine a connection between the Newsweek false report and the rioting. But Bush and his people say there is a connection. The rioters, when asked, said the Koran-flush story was their motive. So why is it another strike against Bush say the same? The LAT just sees the deaths as ammunition to use against our president.

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