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Friday, July 15, 2005

Jonah Goldberg and the Washington Times on the Backlash

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large at the National Review Online, writes, "In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, The Independent ran a splashy frontpage story on the "backlash" against Muslims. Keep in mind that this was the worst assault on London since the Blitz and the "backlash" amounted to little more than a broken window and a man getting roughed up in a pub. One has to wonder how many more pub-beatings took place that same weekend because some idiot said something unkind about Manchester United."

Mr Goldberg is clearly incorrect both in his assessment of the extensiveness of the backlash and of the need for the popular press to report on the backlash. Indeed, the death of Kamal Raza Butt should easily refute his claim that the backlash is exaggerated or not worthy of public attention. And surely an assault carried out on the basis of someone's race or religion is more worthy of societal condemnation as opposed to violence commited because of a sports rivalry.

Mr Goldberg also asks why the outrage from the Muslim community isn't greater. In other words, "there's precious little evidence that the Muslim community is eager to turn on the enemy within with any admirable enthusiasm." (The op-ed is entitled "Where's the Muslim outrage?")

In fact, "Muslim communities in Britain have helped police with tips and information. British Muslim leaders said they were drafting a fatwa that would strip any bombers of the right to call themselves Muslims. 'Nothing in Islam can ever justify the evil actions of the bombers,' the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain said. 'We are determined to work to prevent such an atrocity ever happening again.'"

Also, perhaps Mr Goldberg would like to review these articles, which describe the Muslim community's outrage even in the United States:

The condemnation from the British Muslim community is also apparent, for example:

In today's edition of the Washington Times, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. writes, of the backlash: "so far [a backlash] has not [happened], save for a few broken windows at a mosque. That sort of thing is deplorable, but why was violence against Muslims among the first concerns of British elites? The answer is that local Muslims have orchestrated this concern."

First, again, there is more to the backlash than a few broken windows -- assaults, fires at mosques and gurdwaras, and even murder, for example. Second, it is highly unlikely to the point of absurdity that Muslims themselves would "orchestrate" the concern over hate crimes; the fear is not only undesirable, but warranted, given the numerous instances of racial and religious violence.

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