News & Politics

On 9/11 Anniversary, CNN Publishes Article Designed to Make Sure You Think Only Positive Thoughts About Islam

(AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

As I noted last Tuesday, the establishment media spent the days leading up to the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 jihad attacks publishing stories about how Muslims had been victimized by “Islamophobia” in the attacks’ aftermath. They didn’t put away the whitewash on the fateful day’s anniversary, either, and why should they have? Even Old Joe Biden, or whoever writes his material for him, felt it necessary to go out of his way on September 11 to decry “resentment and violence against Muslim-Americans — true and faithful followers of a peaceful religion.” But CNN went even farther Saturday: as the 9/11 memorial commemorations were going on, the “news network” published a lengthy piece entitled “9 tropes about Muslims that are a product of Islamophobia,” designed to ensure that all your thoughts about Islam are warmly positive.

Can you remember any CNN pieces attacking anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-Hindu or anti-Buddhist “tropes”? Neither can I. But when it comes to Islam, the establishment media feels a particular solicitude. “There are nearly 2 billion Muslims in the world,” CNN tells us, “and the religious group continues to grow rapidly. Yet Islam continues to be largely misunderstood by many, which has given way to Islamophobia and even violence against Muslims.”

Violence against innocent Muslims or any innocent people is never justified, but while anti-Jewish hate crimes are far more common in the U.S. than anti-Muslim hate crimes, CNN doesn’t publish any articles about how Judaism is “misunderstood.” And much of CNN’s windy article is thin gruel indeed, refuting misconceptions that no one really holds, or if anyone actually does, they’re hard to imagine as inspiring any violence against Muslims, such as “All Muslims are Arab”; “Muslims worship Allah, their own special god”; and “Muslims don’t believe in Jesus or respect his teachings.”

The article finally starts getting to the heart of the matter with the fourth “misconception,” “The Quran encourages Muslims to commit acts of violence against non-Muslims.” I won’t bother quoting the Qur’an’s many exhortations to commit acts of violence against non-Muslims, because CNN’s article anticipates such quotes: “Claims that Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims are usually the result of people isolating verses from the religious texts that grant Muslims the right to defend themselves.” It quotes Zainab Chaudry of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): “Cherry-picking verses from any religious text, including the Quran, and isolating them from their broader context and misapplying them to justify or condone any kind of violence is inappropriate and deeply harmful.”

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Apparently some comedy writers (Dean Obeidallah, is that you?) had a hand in this CNN article, because right after warning against “cherry-picking” verses, it indulges in some “cherry-picking” of its own: “In fact the Quran is very clear about violence. Chapter 5, Verse 32 states: Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.’”

That sounds great, until one realizes that it is isolated from its context, as the following verse tells Muslims to crucify or otherwise kill, or amputate a hand and foot of those who “make war against Allah and his messenger” (5:33). It is indeed misleading to “cherry-pick”!

CNN then goes on to claim that it’s also a “misconception” that “Muslims want to wage holy war by way of Jihad.” Obviously, not all do. However, on September 11, of all days, and after the Taliban just returned to power in Afghanistan, with a Taliban commander telling CNN itself that “one day, mujahedin will have victory, and Islamic law will come not to just Afghanistan, but all over the world,” and jihad will not end until the last day,” one wonders if CNN made this point with a straight face. That some Muslims are determined to wage holy war by way of jihad has been a dispiritingly common feature of the post-9/11 landscape worldwide, with 40,000 jihad attacks since then. That’s an awful lot of Muslims misunderstanding Islam, eh, CNN? Or maybe they understand it all too well.

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“Muslims want to bring sharia to the West” is the last significant CNN “misconception.” “As a matter of fact,” we’re told, “part of Sharia is that Muslims must abide by the law of the land in which they reside, said Chaudry, which debunks the notion that Muslims want to bring the guidelines to the West.”

Yet there are quite a few Sharia states in the world today that haven’t always been Sharia states. If it’s a universal principle that Muslims must abide by the law of the land in which they reside, how did that happen? CNN doesn’t bother to explain.

The renowned Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes said to me regarding this CNN article, “Why would Islamists need to engage in violent jihad when they have so many of America’s great institutions promoting their cause?” Indeed.