Thursday, May 19, 2005

The not-so-peaceful Muslims

I couldn't help but notice three articles on Islam or Islamic states in the big three Eastern newspapers today. The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby and the New York Times' David Brooks both had articles excoriating commentators who only blamed Newsweek for the anti-American riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of the magazine's wrong story about interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushing the Koran down the toilet. Instead, they said, we should look at the Islamists themselves.

Good point. So the Washington Post obliged (unwittingly, to be sure) with an article on a Briton who claims he endured torture in a Saudi jail for a crime he never committed.

Here's my perspective: Newsweek was wrong. They screwed up journalistically, no doubt about that, so one cannot deflect any blame for their own error from them or use what James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal likes to call "the fake but accurate" defense -- the story was right in its essence, but wrong in its particulars.

However, they are not to blame for the riots. It wasn't the Newsweek writers who got the crowds out on the streets. It wasn't the Newsweek editors who killed the 16 who died. That responsibility lies solely with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and their leaders, both religious and secular (or should I say religious/secular, or religiousecular?).

Peaceful Islam? Can't say that's an oxymoron -- but can't say that it isn't, either.

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