I should start by admitting I’ve hardly followed the story of U.S. military Koran abuse in Afghanistan that didn’t really happen as Newsweek reported, but still touched off riots in the Muslim world that killed several people. I know enough to know that it happened, that it’s another blow to the credibility of journalists, and that it’s touched off another abuse scandal in the U.S. military.
But I was talking to a friend the other night about the issue, and he wondered why everyone was so quick to blame Newsweek and the U.S. military. Surely some of the blame belongs there for irresponsible reporting and potential abuses, but neither Newsweek nor the U.S. military killed anyone. Why hasn’t anyone blamed the rioters?
Now maybe some of the editorials and op-ed pieces have pointed the finger at Muslim rioters, but I haven’t seen them. I admit I haven’t looked hard for them, I’ve only seen the general news media response and have hardly sifted through it. So maybe those voices are there, but they’re hardly being heard.
I understand that the Koran is a holy book for Muslims and it’s more sacred to them than the Bible is to us. But how does that justify riots that kill people? When people malign the Bible or even Jesus Christ some Christians get mad, but you rarely hear of riots where people are killed. That’s ridiculous. If Islam is such a peace-loving religion, why are deadly riots so easily incited?
I don’t really know the answers to any of these questions. I’m not an Islam expert and hardly know anything about the religion (have I expressed my lack of knowledge enough yet?). But it just seems like these are questions no one asks. Is the U.S. media afraid of offending Muslims across the world?
It also got me thinking whether or not this is an isolated case. Are rioters ever blamed when people are killed or property damaged, or is the cause of the riots blamed? It seems like all the attention usually falls on the cause of the riots. Isn’t that kind of backwards? Sure, the inciting event is important and deserves attention and response. But is it too much to expect people to keep their emotions in check and not blow up and flip over cars, break windows and trample a few people just because they’re pissed off?