The Washington Post has published a dangerously deceptive piece by Kevin Sullivan, Elahe Izadi, and Sarah Pulliam Bailey. The article pushes a synthetic narrative about an intense backlash occurring against Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino massacres by a pair of married and (self-professed) devout Muslims.
There’s one key thing missing from the Post’s story: any intense backlash.
A closer read of the story (alarmingly headlined “After Paris and California Attacks, U.S. Muslims Feel Intense Backlash“) shows it’s all built on hype — it’s about fears of perceptions, and possibilities of a backlash.
Consider their lead incident of “backlash,” as told by Rabia Chaudry:
Rabia Chaudry kept her 7-year-old daughter home from her private Islamic school in Maryland on Thursday, fearing anti-Muslim backlash from Wednesday’s massacre nearly 3,000 miles away in San Bernardino, Calif.
“I think we are all feeling exhausted and very vulnerable,” said Chaudry, a lawyer and national security fellow at the New America Foundation. “I’m angry at those people who did this attack. And I’m angry at how this is being politicized. Everything boils down to, ‘We should fear Muslims. And they shouldn’t be here.’”
Feeling very vulnerable, Rabia? Welcome to the club.
But there are some problems in your story. For starters, notice that the lead “incident” in the story isn’t even an incident; it’s a feeling of a potential backlash. Pretty weak tea for the Post to illustrate an “intense” backlash.
A concern isn’t a backlash, at least in the English language.
Then there’s the part about sending her daughter to a private Islamic school. Did she fear a backlash from the other Muslim students? Perhaps the teachers? Or perhaps there is an infidel janitor that would have been the source of the backlash?
Naturally, the Post doesn’t ask the question or push back against her illogical position. She surely could not have feared some outsider attacking a school because of its religion. Those incidents have been very rare, and when they do happen … well let’s just leave it at that.
Let’s explore Chaudry for a moment. (You can too: @rabiasquared.)
She’s so concerned about her daughter’s safety that she routinely posts pictures of her daughter on Twitter. Chaudry is a left-wing activist out of central casting, but of course the Post doesn’t attach any ideological label to her. That branding is reserved for when conservatives or conservative organizations appear in their paper.
Let’s explore Chaudry’s employer, the New America Foundation. After all, the Post included it. The New America Foundation is living up to it’s name, as Daniel Greenfield has written:
One of those doors is at the New America Foundation. The NAF received $1 million from the State Department, the Ford Foundation, Bill Gates and Google’s CEO. Other donors include the McArthur Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Bank of Palestine, the Rockerfeller Foundation, the Tides Foundation and various Soros franchises.
At the Post, this fringe pedigree probably only increases Chaudry’s credibility. But to the rest of us who aren’t trying to unravel the American system and replace it, it tells us much about the “feelings” of backlash that kept her kids out of Islamic school this week. A short jaunt through the New America Foundation website reveals racial paranoia and plenty of narrative flipping about “white terrorists.”
Most of all, it reveals Chaudry is in the business of pushing a narrative about Muslim integration and relations in American society — a professional function the Post failed to reveal when it presented her personal story.
Her professional duties include (please click through; this isn’t all):
providing CVE and cultural competency training to law enforcement, correctional, and homeland security officials, and providing national security and CVE training to Muslim communities and institutions. Safe Nation’s objective is to equip stakeholders in the CVE effort with the tools and information needed for effective engagement and cooperation. To date, Safe Nation has worked with the US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Justice, the National Counter Terror Center, the Maryland State Police and Correctional Officer Training Commission, and local law enforcement agencies across the region.
A sad story about a woman’s fear of sending her daughter to school now appears to be something a bit more, shall we say, deliberate.
Then the Post recycles this debunked falsehood about Donald Trump:
Many Muslims said fear of Islam is being fueled by the heated rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates, particularly businessman Donald Trump, who has called for surveillance of some mosques and requiring Muslims to register with the government.
What’s a good Washington Post story without a dig at Republicans, even if they have to make it up?
Then without batting an eye, the Post goes full conspiracy theory:
Talk of creating Muslim databases and noting Muslims’ religion on their IDs has echoes for many of the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many mosques have asked local police for more security.
Internment camps? This is the new bloody shirt for the Left. Internment camps are the new slavery. It’s how they get critics to shut up. Never mind that absolutely nobody is calling for internment camps for Muslims, the Post will aid that myth-making without a whiff of scrutiny.
Had a Republican mentioned United Nations boxcars, an equally nutty myth, the Post would have splashed it on A1 for days.
Then the Post introduces us to Haroon Moghul, a “fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington.”
Moghul is an alumni of the New America Foundation.
Robert Spencer, in a piece entitled “Don’t Be Fooled By Haroon Moghul,” has more about this Post source. Obviously the Post was fooled, or at least didn’t ask about this:
Haroon Moghul is counting on his hapless CNN audience not knowing that Usama Shami, the President of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, has said that the gunmen were both members of his mosque and that he had known one of them, Elton Simpson, for ten years.
The Post article, finally, arrives at the two actual “incidents” representing the “intense” wave of Muslim backlash alluded to in their headline: 1. Someone yelled and almost ran over Haneen Jasim at an Ohio Starbucks; and 2. a Koran with bullet holes was purportedly left on the doorstep of a California clothing shop run by a female Islamic convert.
Writes the Post:
On Tuesday morning, Terry Cormier arrived to open her Anaheim, Calif., Islamic clothing shop and found a Koran, riddled with more than 30 bullet holes, left at the door. She made a report to police and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose officials called it “a note that says, ‘You’re not welcome here.’”
Time will tell whether the Koran was purchased and shot up by a non-Muslim, or something else.
I hope besides immediately calling CAIR, Jasim (and her three other witnesses with her) gave the police a description of the make, model, and tag numbers of the car. Usually that results in a quick arrest. Law enforcement has the tools to figure these things out and I suspect the shooter and perhaps the yeller will be arrested.
The Post does at least note a major failure within the Muslim community:
Other Muslims think that moderate Muslims need to be more aggressive about denouncing acts of terror and rejecting the Islamic State’s call to establish a caliphate — a Muslim homeland ruled by sharia.
Better yet, let’s have a dialogue that goes beyond just rejecting terror; let’s have a dialog about rejecting the theological underpinnings of the terror.
The terrorists believe they are acting in accordance with their religion. Why?
What about the text of the Koran gives them that view? Has modern Islam rejected that text as invalid?
The Post writers don’t ask these questions.
Finally, we can always count on Obama’s Justice Department to be on the wrong side of most issues. Attorney General Loretta Lynch took the opportunity to threaten anyone who “uses anti-Muslim rhetoric” that “edges toward violence.”
Yikes. The federal government? Words? Rhetoric? Jail?
Let’s test this theory:
I think anyone who confronts a jihadist terrorist with a gun should use their concealed carry weapon to kill them.
Is that “anti-Muslim rhetoric edging towards violence”? I think it is. Better yet, I’ll confess it is.
Be assured that the folks in Lynch’s Civil Rights Division will wonder. The Civil Rights Division is where the Kool-Aid flows freely and the Washington Post story is probably being passed around as required reading. It’s also the place that would prosecute any of the “anti-Muslim rhetoric edging towards violence.”
So have your lawyers goose step down to my office with cuffs, Loretta.
The problem for General Lynch is that rhetoric must do far more than “edge toward violence” to lose First Amendment protections.
If she’s looking for rhetoric that really does “edge toward violence,” she might send her Criminal Section lawyers from the Civil Rights Division to the next #BlackLivesMatter march, but we all know that won’t happen, and why.