Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So what if the alleged Fort Hood shooter is a Muslim?

Independent news site Crikey and its Pure Poison blog are frequentlly referred to here as representative of left-wing Australian news reporting, opinion and "analysis".

Pure Poison's only post so far today takes conservative columnists and bloggers Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt to task for allegedly making "a big deal out of Hasan’s religion not because he’s (allegedly) a criminal who was a Muslim, but because [they] think there’s a broader point to be made about Muslims in general."

In fact the linked Blair post looks at excuses (PTSD, etc) for Hasan's alleged actions whereas the Bolt post is about segments of the media refusing to acknowledge that Hasan's religious beliefs might have some bearing on his alleged actions. Readers will be shocked, of course, to learn that Pure Poison is wrong, yet again.

The Pure Poison author also noting that religion doesn't seem to come up "whenever some Christian nutter prays to God and then shoots up an abortion clinic." This ignores that anyone attacking an abortion doctor or clinic is immediately assumed to be a "Christian nutter".

Is it significant that Hasan is a devout Muslim? Yes, of course. Was this the most significant factor motivating him? The jury's still out on that.

Regardless, it's obvious religion is important when the BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell sees it fit to comment about Hasan's contact with radical Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki:

 If a soldier, a Muslim unhappy about waging war on other Muslims, gets in touch with a man well-known for advocating terrorism, shouldn't that 'raise a red flag'?

That a segment, however small, of the Muslim community is preaching hate and violence is indeed a concern. This has been noted not only by Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt but by the wider community.

By the way, I'm an atheist, so there's no point in accusing me of religious bias -- there are religious nuts everywhere.


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