The Corner

Headless Body in Legless Story

Kathryn, that self-pitying imam is part of a now familiar pattern: Pay no attention to that dead body; the real victim here is Islam.

Beheaded woman in Buffalo? “Shocked friend says murder damages Islam’s image.”

Hindus, Jews and Christians massacred in Bombay? “The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India highlight the dangerously vulnerable situation of India’s Muslims.

But enough about all these corpses: Let’s talk about me.

Yet we never do. Jonah writes today about the reluctance of journalists (a profession that congratulates itself on its “bravery” and “courage” far more than, say, firemen do) to speak truth to politically correct power — or, as I put it in my testimony in Toronto last week, their willingness to serve as eunuchs to the PC sultans.

Oddly enough, the one story that did decline to take spokesimams at face value came from, of all people, The Toronto Star’s reporter:

Aasiya Hassan recently filed for divorce, authorities said. According to Buffalo News reports, she obtained an order of protection on Feb. 6, barring her husband from their home in Orchard Park.

Under sharia law followed by Muslims, a woman can ask for a divorce, but only a man can grant the request, and he can refuse, according to a book on sharia published last month, Cruel and Usual Punishment, by Egyptian-born American author Nonie Darwish.

Under Islamic law, crimes such as apostasy (leaving Islam), adultery, theft or drinking alcohol are punishable by beheading, stoning, amputation of limbs or flogging, the book says.

As a Canadian reader wrote: “Wow. Someone at the Star hasn’t been reading the employee handbook.”

But that’s the point. Spousal murder is not unusual. Beheading your wife is. If Muzzammil Hassan decapitated his as an Islamic ritual, then his entire professional life — Mister Moderate Muslim — was a lie. In other words, it would be the work of moments for even the laziest hack to work up exactly the same “hypocrisy” angle that the press stampede after when some evangelical preacher turns out to have a thing for fetching young rent boys.

As I noted at the weekend, when Mr. Hassan launched his Bridges TV station to counter “negative stereotypes” of Muslims, he got the traditional tongue baths from NBC’s Brian Williams, NPR’s “All Things Considered” et al – even though the station was entirely unwatched. Don’t they have a responsibility to revisit the story now that it’s got a little more complicated – or, as old-school editors would say, “newsworthy” – than the press releases they read out a couple of years back?

From The Chicago Tribune, November 30th 2004:

Although many may welcome the channel as a vital voice missing from the mainstream media, scholars say it must transcend a number of obstacles to survive.

John Voll, director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, said some audiences might have a hard time accepting Islam and modernity in the same package, which is exactly what the network hopes to demonstrate.

Not as hard a time as Mr. Hassan had reconciling Islam and modernity.

From NBC Nightly News, December 9th 2004:

[REPORTER RON] ALLEN: It’s the brainchild of Aasiya Zubair, an architect, and her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, a banker, who are disturbed that negative images of Muslims seem to dominate TV, especially since 9/11.

Ms. AASIYA ZUBAIR: I did not want my kids growing up to watch Muslims being portrayed as terrorists.

No, indeed. Instead, it’s their father who turned out to be the terrorist — no different from the London School of Economics-educated British subject behind the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

That’s what makes this a story rather than one family’s tragedy. If you’re not intrigued by the apparent fraud at the heart of this man’s life and work — a fraud in which the U.S. media cheerfully colluded — you lack the elementary curiosity necessary to be a journalist.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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