NPR: All Things Considered ... Except Evidence — and Scholarship.
On March 18, National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) All Things Considered (ATC) aired a segment regarding Philip Jenkins’ claims -- made in an unpublished book manuscript, Dark Passages, not yet even listed at amazon.com -- that the Koran had a lower “brutality quotient” than the Bible, and Islam, regardless, had undergone a “holy amnesia” (at some unspecified time point) until very recently, neutralizing the creed’s bellicosit, and rendering it “contemplative.”
Despite being interviewed by NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley for over thirty minutes, and providing her much additional written material countering Jenkins’ flimsy speculations, precious little of my rebuttal was included in the broadcast (see transcript here).
Moreover, NPR’s ATC subsequently ignored my request to have a written corrective of mine read aloud, as suggested by Ms. Bradley herself. The e-mail appeal to ATC’s producers and correspondents, and my brief statement debunking Jenkins, follow below.
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Bostom
To: Barbara Bradley; Melissa Block
Cc: Matt Martinez; Petra Mayer; Robert Siegel
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2010 9:56 AM
Subject: Edifying statement re: my ATC appearance on 3/18/10
Matt Martinez, Supervising Senior Producer, Petra Mayer, Associate Producer, Robert Siegel and Melissa Block, correspondents, “All things considered” (ATC), (and Barbara Bradley, NPR Religion Reporter)
Dear Ms. Block, Mr. Siegel, Ms. Mayer, and Mr. Martinez,
As per a discussion with Barbara Bradley this past Friday, March 19th (2010), I am pursuing her recommendation to submit a statement to be read on air at ATC as a corrective to the 3/18/10 segment, which included a very truncated representation of my meticulously documented scholarship on the jihad. As I explained to Barbara [Bradley], this severely limited presentation of my arguments is in the end disorienting to your own listening audience, when juxtaposed to the air time granted to Mr. Jenkins' apologetic views on Islam, reinforced by those of a second interlocutor, Mr. Ansary.
As one who has painstakingly researched these matters at considerable personal cost, I hope you share my belief that your vast, diverse audience deserves to be exposed to the factual data contained in my reply so they -- and you -- can place Jenkins' views in a sobering light.
Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS
I was not given a fair opportunity to counter Philip Jenkins’ claims during my very brief appearance on ATC. What follows are just a few of my rebuttals that did not air.
As of March 20, 2010, there were at least 15,022 documented fatal terror attacks committed by Muslims since the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism on 9/11/2001. This is by nature a gross underestimate given the horrific level of jihad violence in Sudan, Thailand, and more recently, Nigeria, which has gone underreported.
Dr. Tina Magaard -- a Sorbonne-trained linguist specializing in textual analysis -- published detailed research findings in 2005 (summarized in 2007, here) comparing the foundational texts of ten major religions. Contra the mere opinions of Jenkins, put forth without any objective comparison methods, Magaard concluded from her hard data-driven analyses:
The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with.
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