The Pensacola News Journal was first out of the gate this time around with what is a recurring feature of establishment media coverage of jihad attacks: the follow-up weeper about how the local Muslims are shocked (Shocked!) by the massacre, and are now cowering in fear of an “anti-Muslim backlash.” That backlash rarely, if ever, materializes, but when has the media ever allowed reality to intrude upon a good narrative?
The News Journal interviewed Salma Ashmawi of the Islamic Center of Northwest Florida, and Ashmawi hit all the expected notes, asking: “What can anybody do in a case like that except pray?” Ashmawi added, said the News Journal, that “the mosque’s membership is also raising money to help the victims.” She said: “We are all Pensacola residents. We’re hurt and we’re in mourning.”
Amid all this pious magnanimity, Ashmawi also remembered to play the victim: she “said parents who usually take their children to Sunday school at the mosque are planning to keep their children home this week out of fear they will become targets of backlash aimed against Muslims.”
Ashmawi explained: “I’m getting a lot of people telling me they’re not coming. Even teachers are not bringing their children. If the teacher doesn’t mind, her husband is like, ‘No absolutely not. You have no idea what people are saying out there, and I don’t want my kids to get hurt.’”
Nonetheless, the Muslims of Pensacola will bravely soldier on: Ashmawi told the News Journal that the Sunday school service would be held as usual, and would, of course, focus on the victims: “For the ones who come, we’ll use that time to talk about unity and standing by anybody who is injured or hurt. And how something like this [is] unacceptable just like any crime. It was murder. It’s a crime. It is unacceptable. We are in a civil society. We don’t do things like that.”
No claim that Muslims were the real victims would be complete without a bit of moral equivalence, so Ashmawi “said what the shooter did was an act against God and against humanity, though she added that Christians don’t have to live in fear or face calls to apologize every time someone claiming to be a Christian does something wrong.” She did not, of course, mention the fact that jihad murderers quite often scream “Allahu akbar” while killing infidels, while Christian criminals don’t generally invoke Jesus while in the midst of their evildoing.
Ashmawi insisted that it was all because “Islamophobes” don’t understand Islam: “But sadly enough, people don’t understand that this has nothing to do with our faith. In fact, what he did is totally forbidden and against faith. Somebody that does something so horrific is not blessed. God has said if you kill one human, it’s as though you have killed all humanity.”
That’s adapted from Qur’an 5:32. This is what that Qur’an passage really says:
Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land — it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one — it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.
First, note that this is not a general moral principle applying to everyone, as Ashmawi implied, but one only for the children of Israel. Nor is it a general prohibition of killing: there are big exceptions for those who kill “for a soul or for corruption in the land.” And it concludes that even after this command was given, “many of them, after that … were transgressors” — so all it is really saying is that Allah gave a command to the children of Israel and they transgressed against it. It isn’t anything more than yet another Qur’anic castigation of the Jews.
Also, it is followed in the Qur’an by 5:33, which specifies the punishment for the corruption and transgressions of the children of Israel: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
Thus this passage is explaining what must be done with Jews who reject Muhammad, not dictating lofty moral principles.
But in this article, in any case, we see how the establishment media narrative works. When Muslims murder infidels, Muslims are the victims. When racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” supposedly target Muslims, Muslims are the victims. And when Muslims fake “Islamophobic hate crimes,” Muslims are the victims. Always and in every situation, Muslims are victims, to be appeased and accommodated in every possible way. Once you understand that, we can all lock arms and march together into our glorious multicultural, diverse future.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.