Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Innocent Until Proven Muslim

It’s difficult to comment on the events of last Thursday without being suspected of terrorism yourself.  After all, this country’s media (and perhaps its tribunals) run on a premise of “innocent until proven Muslim.”  That said, I offer condolences to the victims of the Fort Hood shootings and wish for swift, fair, and strong punishment against Major Hasan once he has recovered from injuries.  I also, as it should go without saying, condemn Major Hasan’s actions, which are indefensible by any means.

Nevertheless, I find the actions of the media from Thursday onward extremely troubling.  From Fox News’s Shepard Smith’s first question (“The name tells us a lot, does it not, senator?“) to the mainstream media’s drawing at straws for links to Al-Qaeda (see the Telegraph for some of the most egregious examples) to the rabid neocons on Twitter blaming the whole thing on the Muslim community at large, one thing is quite clear to me: anti-Islamic sentiment, not obesity as it is often claimed, is the last acceptable form of discrimination.

cagle00

Daryl Cagle’s cartoon, to me, epitomizes the problem with the media.  While those who terrorize in the name of Christianity (George Tiller’s murderer, for example) or Judaism (Baruch Goldstein, or more recently Yaakov Teitel, who is accused of “hate crimes” not terrorism) are not held up as examples of their religions’ more radical sides, every time a Muslim commits a crime, Islam is immediately put on trial.

The mosque in which Major Hasan prayed at happens to be where the 9/11 hijackers prayed.  Nevermind the fact that the Al Hijrah happens to be one of the largest and most influential (not to mention centralized) mosques in the United States, where many Muslims stop through during visits to the area; of course there’s a link, right?  Allegedly Major Hasan yelled “Allah Akbar” before committing his murderous acts.  Of course, that must mean that he was doing it in the name of Islam, right? Nevermind the fact that Muslims say that at least 5 times per day, each time they pray.  Nevermind that.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of my favorite columnists, had this to say in the Atlantic, in response to Zionist Jeff Goldberg’s extremely weak argument that the media holds Christians to the same standard:

I could be wrong, but I don’t recall a lot of “media elites” trying to divine what Tiller’s death said about Christianity, itself. Again, beyond the fact that some wacko interpreted Christianity to mean he had the right to shoot people, what else would there be to say?

Coates is absolutely spot-on in his assessment.  Hating Muslims is the last acceptable form of racism, apparently.  And have no doubt – in full awareness that Muslims do not constitute a race, it has all the characteristics of racism, just like the anti-Jewish sentiment of the last century did.

I have no doubt that the media will continue its witch hunt against Islam; for in America, you are innocent until proven guilty, unless of course you’re Muslim.

12 Comments

  1. Nice piece, prepare for some hate mail. (not from me of course!)

  2. Whatever happened with that Orlando shooter, or the house with all the dead bodies in Cleveland? Oh wait…they’re not Muslim.

  3. Thanks for this piece. I’ve really wanted to write something about it all, but other than a few comments to responses on my blog, I just can’t seem to get it all out. You’ve pretty much said exactly what I wanted to say- only more eloquently than I ever could. If only more people would think the way you do.

    As CMG said, “Whatever happened with that Orlando shooter or the house with all the dead bodies in Cleveland?…” is so true and I was thinking the very same thing. If you ask me, a house full of dead bodies must also have a terrorist living in it- but since he’s not Muslim, he’s just “a very bad man”.

    Last thing I’ll say…tonight FoxNews actually showed the news conference from the VA mosque you mentioned, but I noticed that they didn’t play it all when they realized the Imam wasn’t going to say something that would be useful in furthering their sensation and lies.

  4. when something like this happened, i feel hopeless. “oh no,there it goes again..”
    love your objectivity and whenever i read more of your predefined racism in the mainstream media, and hopelessness kicks in again, ill just think of your nice little post.

    thanks.

    • Hi Farah,

      Hope you didn’t mean to say “your predefined racism”! I’m guessing not. Thank you, if the compliment was indeed intended.

  5. your post similar in my mind, I think there it some still very jumpy when comes to religion specially Islam, Am not going in this but all around the word there are similar killing but they not Moslem that why not picking attentions.

    Here we got a biased media with manipulations for big stories.

    Did any media outlets mentioned this:

    The rabbis answer: Well you can publish a book without censorship,
    Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai “, whose leader published a book that permits to kill gentiles,

  6. Straighforward to the point. This post supports what I posted -in the same day of this tragedian shooting- as a critique for the media reaction. I liked the Daryl Cagle’s cartoon too beside this post so keep it up!

    • I read your post too Hicham, and I think your first point – about him being raised in America – is an excellent one. It’s difficult to discuss, because his crimes DO need to be condemned and there are those (former imam Alaqui, for example) who praise him. But at the same time, whatever and whoever shaped Major Hasan’s identity did so in the U.S.; he was born here, raised here, joined this country’s army, and if it is true (as is my belief) that he entered the military in good faith, then something did happen along the way. I’m certainly willing to accept the idea that it was a radical view of Islam, if the facts point that way, but I think that all other ideas must also be considered, given the myriad influences on his life.

  7. Reasons are important wether it’s mental illness or belifing in radical ideology but what last is the fact that he is Muslim and this what the media is focusing and returns us to the title of your post. A crazy world, isn’t it, Jillian?!

  8. Here’s how I see things. Maybe American democracy is going through an overhaul of new ideas, just like Islam is around the world and the media will catch up later.

  9. George Tiller dead? I didn’t know. Can’t say I’m going to miss that butcher.

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