The odd tale of Muslim violence that none dared call by its name

posted at 2:41 pm on February 18, 2015 by Noah Rothman

It seems a straightforward enough of a story, and one that has become lamentably familiar to observers of current affairs. A Detroit man, a self-described Muslim, walked up to a group of individuals at a bus stop and asked them if they, too, observe the Islamic faith. When they replied that they did not, he stabbed them multiple times. It seems prima facie about as cut-and-dried an incident of radical Islamic extremist violence as you can get unless you work in America’s newsrooms apparently.

For America’s editors, however, relating this story in a manner that they subjectively determined to be responsible enough proved vexing. Their readers cannot be trusted not to draw the conclusion that the world is facing an epidemic of Islamic violence, particularly given the mounting empirical evidence that makes this condition plain. So, for many media outlets, an agonizing and public display over how to present this story unfolded yesterday.

“A Detroit man stabbed two people at a suburban bus stop after asking his victims whether or not they were Muslim, according to police,” read the lede in The Washington Post’s report on this incident. “Federal authorities are now looking at the case as a potential hate crime, police said on Tuesday.”

This paragraph greeted the reader who clicked through to the headline, “Police: Man stabs two after asking if they are Muslim.”

For the casual reader, the implication is clear: The backlash against Muslims that so many eagerly anticipate but which never seems to materialize is finally upon us. An anti-Islamic zealot executed attacks on harmless mass transit riders. Panic is the only appropriate response.

Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. The outraged response from social media users to this misleading report forced The Post and this article’s author, Abby Ohlheiser, to amend the headline so as to more accurately reflect what had actually happened. “Police: Muslim man stabs two after discussion about religious beliefs.”

Yes, of course. An edifying and enlightening theological debate was cut short when one of the interchange’s participants got a little stabby. It could happen to anyone.

Suggesting that this attack was inspired by some form of discussion is like claiming the 21 Copts beheaded by ISIS militants in Egypt were simply on the losing end of an ecumenical colloquium. It does not explain or convey the details of what occurred in Detroit; it obscures them and misleads the reader, which was a result that seems deliberate.

Finally, after several hours, The Post settled on a final version of this story’s headline. “Police: Man stabs two after asking about religious beliefs.” Because the real problem here was identifying that there was a Muslim involved in this altercation at all. That’s what really needed to be addressed.

At this point, it seems that The Post simply gave up on trying to fix their reportage on a story that they so inexplicably fumbled. It is not, however, as though The Post was alone in misreporting this event.

“Religious hate suspected in Southfield bus stop stabbings,” reads the most recent version of a headline gracing a Detroit Free-Press dispatch on this incident. The copy that accompanied the story did accurately convey the details of this episode. Nevertheless, many social media users assumed from this headline (and presumably The Post’s myriad efforts) that what had occurred in Detroit was an anti-Muslim hate crime.

“Many social-media users spreading a Detroit Free-Press version of the story Tuesday misinterpreted the story to mean the suspect was trying to attack Muslims,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

This was so utterly irresponsible that it nearly defies explanation. It reflects a judgment call made by a number of editors across the country, and that judgment was simple: You cannot be trusted with these facts, lest you draw some inconvenient conclusions about the threat posed by Muslim violence.

That reflex is even odder considering how unreflective the attacker was of the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists. This attacker was discovered to have marijuana on him by police (all smoking, let alone drug use, is prohibited for devout Muslims), and was said by officers to be “somewhat incoherent” upon his capture. This attack was more likely the act of a mentally disturbed individual than a self-radicalized, lone wolf, ISIS sympathizer. But that makes the media’s reaction to this story all the more unfathomable.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this episode, in fact, is that the nation’s editors are more afraid of you, dear reader, than they are of Islamist extremists.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

If DogEater had a son ..,

ShainS on February 18, 2015 at 2:44 PM

There is nothing in Obama’s head that is American. He is an antithetical American, a polar opposite of its values that he is routinely undermining. He is an unabashed member of the transtribal supertribe that Muhammad created 1,400 years ago; he is of the umma, not of America. His finger in the air at the African Leaders’ Conference is unambiguous evidence.

And it is evidence that you have been had America. God, have you ever been had.

Biggest threat

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Muslim bus stop, Christians to the back of the bus…

PatriotRider on February 18, 2015 at 2:46 PM

“…high horse…Crusades…the Inquisition” — joke of the world

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2015 at 2:46 PM

Biggest threat

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2015 at 2:45 PM

America has indeed been had…

d1carter on February 18, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Seems completely random to me. And they had it coming because of the Crusades.

ConstantineXI on February 18, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Nails her butt

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2015 at 2:48 PM

We need to introduce him to Marie Harf.

BuckeyeSam on February 18, 2015 at 2:48 PM

How about…

“Man who was not truly a Muslim stabs two people at bus stop because they didn’t understand his confusion with his faith”

Walter L. Newton on February 18, 2015 at 2:49 PM

NOT a hate crime…because Crusades!

Just Some Random Bus Stop violence: Random Knifer knifes Some Random Folks for Some Random Reason.

Marie Harf: Move along, folks. No Islamist Extremism to see here.

If only he had received Obamacare, free community college, an ObamaPhone, midnight basketball, and a GREEN JOB, this would never have happened!

Resist We Much on February 18, 2015 at 2:50 PM

“Two Intolerant Christians Surround Muslim, Forcing Him to Act in Self-Defense!”

Colony14 on February 18, 2015 at 2:51 PM

“Muslim looking for a job stabs employed Christians”…

PatriotRider on February 18, 2015 at 2:51 PM

If DogEater had a son ..,

ShainS on February 18, 2015 at 2:44 PM

He’d be named Jhai-quel Rai-Tez Black.

Resist We Much on February 18, 2015 at 2:52 PM

If he had only had a job….

d1carter on February 18, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Obama beheading to the golf course…

PatriotRider on February 18, 2015 at 2:54 PM

This attacker was discovered to have marijuana on him …

So, under muslim law, this filthy animal should be beheaded immediately.

Pork-Chop on February 18, 2015 at 2:55 PM

The infadels should have payed him a tax.

Oil Can on February 18, 2015 at 2:55 PM

I take it this is not a concealed carry area. That may have slowed down the stabbing.

Just spitballing here.

tru2tx on February 18, 2015 at 2:58 PM

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this episode, in fact, is that the nation’s editors are more afraid of you, dear reader, than they are of Islamist extremists.

And 1 + 1 equals 3?

How do you conclude anything from this, other than a demonstration of the usual snivelling cowardice of the LSM towards the muslim grievance industry, lest they be provoked by mention muslims in any criminal context?

This attack was more likely the act of a mentally disturbed individual than a self-radicalized, lone wolf, ISIS sympathizer.

There’s a difference? ISIS, which by the way is most definitely islamic, is acting out a 700 year-old story. Intentionally. That’s not “mentally disturbed”?

And if you need any further proof, on the WaPo website, following the article in question, are links for “More reading:”. The titles of the first two links are:

“Anti-Muslim hate crimes are still five times more common today than before 9/11”

“For Muslim Americans, N.C. shooting brings fear of discrimination into open”

Get their drift?

bofh on February 18, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Muslim man stabs two women because they’re not Muslim.

or

Man stabs two women because they’re not Muslim.

The truth will set you free.

WisRich on February 18, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Obviously caused by nuclear winter I mean global warming I mean Climate Change (r)

Wino on February 18, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Yes, of course. An edifying and enlightening theological debate was cut short when one of the interchange’s participants got a little stabby. It could happen to anyone.

Happens all the time in discussions about whether Mormons are true Christians.

Given that its Detroit the guy was probably jobless.

rbj on February 18, 2015 at 3:03 PM

o/t

Atlanta Libs Trying To Open Gay-Only School For Kids As Young As Pre-Kindergarten…

‘Segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever!’

Everything old is new again and Democrats are up to their old tricks.

Resist We Much on February 18, 2015 at 3:03 PM

He’d be named Jhai-quel Rai-Tez Black.

Resist We Much on February 18, 2015 at 2:52 PM

I saw that article, and was totally mystified by that name. Additionally, the “Obama Mart” where the shooting occurred even uses the “O” logo on its sign.

This is what America has become…

bofh on February 18, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Did you know there was a Muslim gang sign?

Here is 0b00ba flashing it to African leaders, some seem delighted by it.

Akzed on February 18, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Are you people intentionally dense? Just because some people declare themselves muslim, it doesn’t make them one.

This simple fact is pointed out to you people after every one of these incidents…practically daily, and on many occasions multiple times per day.

But it’s guaranteed, tomorrow there will be dozens or hundreds of self-proclaimed muslims committing burnings, beheading, stabbings, or some other atrocities and you people will be back saying the same ‘ol crap. It’s truly like Groundhog Day around here.

Frank Lib on February 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this episode, in fact, is that the nation’s editors are more afraid of you, dear reader, than they are of Islamist extremists.

As well they should be, but not how you mean it.

Akzed on February 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM

Seems completely random to me. And they had it coming because of the Crusades.

ConstantineXI on February 18, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Where did it say the victims were Christians? All they said is that they were not moslems. That was their crime a lack of the state of being a moslem. It had nothing to do with the crusades.

KW64 on February 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM

This is coming to a town near you. I highly recommend you get a CCW permit.

hardrock230 on February 18, 2015 at 3:08 PM

It’s just an act of random bus stop violence. Leave this bug eyed cutie alone!!!!

MrsVoorhees on February 18, 2015 at 3:11 PM

Carry your pistol. Pack high capacity magazines. Put them on the ground. Move on.

Kuffar on February 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

This is clearly a case of discrimination against Muslims, who aren’t even allowed to ask a simple question!!!

~CAIR

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

Let’s not forget the almost complete suppression of the arrest of Ali Mohammed Brown last summer for the murder of 4 people, at least two and maybe three of which were gay.

jvermeer on February 18, 2015 at 3:17 PM

Just because some people declare themselves muslim, it doesn’t make them one.

Um… That’s exactly how it works. To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction.

Wino on February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

This guy looks like Crackhead Bob from the Howard Stern show.

Mark1971 on February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

The perp looks like the fruit of one of Jesse Jackson’s wayward ministerings.

Anti-Statist on February 18, 2015 at 3:20 PM

This guy looks like Crackhead Bob from the Howard Stern show.

Mark1971 on February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

He’s exactly how I picture weedisgood.

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:20 PM

Frank Lib on February 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM

You might be happier over at the cesspools known as DailyKos or DU.

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Shaping up as another “bad week for ‘religion’”….

Axeman on February 18, 2015 at 3:23 PM

You might be happier over at the cesspools known as DailyKos or DU.

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

I would miss Frank. He’s one of the funniest mock trolls we’ve ever had at HotGas.

Axeman on February 18, 2015 at 3:24 PM

If he had only had a job….

d1carter on February 18, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Sung using the music from the Wizard of OZ(IF I only had a heart)

jmtham156 on February 18, 2015 at 3:26 PM

50 years of commie Democrat Party lies enabled and covered up by the MSM and at long last some one noticed the lies.

Ain’t thus special.

Kerry still with the “CIA” hat in his briefcase.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 18, 2015 at 3:26 PM

RWM, that seems ambiguous as to whether it is the parents or the students that are supposed to be gay.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2015 at 3:26 PM

“Bus stop, one day, she’s there. I say, “Please share my Mohammad!”

Ricard on February 18, 2015 at 3:39 PM

They, like the Administration, are boxed-in by their previous lying.
Time to be dusting off those Mea Culpa’s.

Another Drew on February 18, 2015 at 3:48 PM

Muslim man stabs two after discussion about religious beliefs.

A discussion:

Man of Faith: Are you of my nondescript faith?
Other Participants: No.
{Stabbing}

Axeman on February 18, 2015 at 3:55 PM

“Bus stop, one day, she’s there. I say, “Please share my Mohammad!”

Ricard on February 18, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Cant.Stop.Laughing.

PXCharon on February 18, 2015 at 3:58 PM

George Orwell would respond, but he’s too busy laughing his ass off.

In the mean time, flaming liberal MSM editors are busy wiping egg off their faces.

GarandFan on February 18, 2015 at 4:02 PM

Um… That’s exactly how it works. To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction. Wino on February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Howsabout just flippin’ the sign for it, does that suffice?

Akzed on February 18, 2015 at 4:02 PM

• The WaPo can publish an article about a “discussion about religious beliefs”.
• The Administration can proposed “Jobs for Jihadis”.

… and people were worried about what Walker’s answers about Evolution (which he’ll make an average of 0 decisions about, ( ± 1.0e-6 )!) might portend …

Axeman on February 18, 2015 at 4:04 PM

You might be happier over at the cesspools known as DailyKos or DU.

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Frank Lib is 100% satire.

TarheelBen on February 18, 2015 at 4:10 PM

You might be happier over at the cesspools known as DailyKos or DU. WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Straighten up or you’ll have to sit at the Muslim table.

Akzed on February 18, 2015 at 4:17 PM

Again, calling that a discussion is like saying the radio play The Death of Mary Queen of Scots, in the Monty Python sketch, depicts “a discussion about royal succession”:

Q: Are you Mar-r-ry Queen of Scots?
A: I am.
{5 minutes of Screaming, clamor, power tools…}

Axeman on February 18, 2015 at 4:29 PM

Wino on February 18, 2015 at 3:18 PM

WhirledPeas on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Dudes, Frank is a sock-troll.

Sung using the music from the Wizard of OZ(IF I only had a heart brain)

jmtham156 on February 18, 2015 at 3:26 PM

More appropriate. ;)

Ricard on February 18, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Was *just* listening to that song!

GWB on February 18, 2015 at 4:51 PM

Talk about a face that only a mother could love….

elvis lives on February 18, 2015 at 4:57 PM

This was so utterly irresponsible that it nearly defies explanation.

Nearly.

Midas on February 18, 2015 at 5:02 PM

“Bus stop, one day, she’s there. I say, “Please share my Mohammad!”

Ricard on February 18, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Oh, shit you didn… oh, you did.

r.o.f.l.

Dude, that is freaking *epic*.

Midas on February 18, 2015 at 5:03 PM

This attack was more likely the act of a mentally disturbed individual than a self-radicalized, lone wolf, ISIS sympathizer.

What’s the difference? No, really, aren’t self-radicalized lone wolf ISIS sympathizers mentally disturbed?

I’m just saying the Venn diagram would have significant overlap.

cptacek on February 18, 2015 at 5:19 PM

If DogEater had a son ..,

ShainS on February 18, 2015 at 2:44 PM

A real “man bites dog” story…

Occams Stubble on February 18, 2015 at 5:22 PM

Why were the two on the bus?

right2bright on February 18, 2015 at 6:02 PM

Obviously caused by nuclear winter I mean global warming I mean Climate Change (r)

Wino on February 18, 2015 at 3:00 PM

The next step is going to be Climate Extremism.

People exclaiming “Wow, this has been the hottest dang summer!” or “Oh, man, I don’t remember evah gettin’ this much snow!” will be heralded as proof that the weather has been hideously twisted into dangerous climate extremes.

We will be told that well, yeah, it may look like regular weather for winter or summer, but its EXTREME, not like the vast majority of weather at all.

But I think we can stop it as long as climate scientists have good jobs.

Dolce Far Niente on February 18, 2015 at 6:37 PM

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this episode, in fact, is that the nation’s editors are more afraid of you, dear reader, than they are of Islamist extremists.

Nope. They are afraid that calling out anyone claiming to be Muslim for religious extremism will get them shot up by Muslim extremists. The left press is terrified of Muslims and don’t want to attract their ire.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on February 18, 2015 at 6:37 PM

The brown version of Homer Simpson.

Or, the typical Detroiter or resident of Dearbornistan.

Nuke. It. all.

Andy__B on February 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM

The odd tale of Muslim violence that none dared call by its name

Or…”Why the parrot refuses to live in a cage lined with newspaper

landlines on February 19, 2015 at 12:46 AM