People who approve publishing lists of gun owners cry foul over published list of Muslims

The recent “clock boy” protests in Texas surrounding one local mosque continue to generate controversy and before everyone headed out for Thanksgiving there was another “incident” in the Lone Star State. One spokesperson for BAIR (the Bureau on American Islamic Relations) went on Facebook and published a list of local Muslims and their supporters who opposed a law which would have forbidden Sharia Law (or any other religious court) supplanting civil authority. I first saw this reported at a link from TPM.

The leader of a group of armed anti-Muslim protesters in Texas posted the addresses of dozens of local Muslims and “Muslim sympathizer(s)” to Facebook on Tuesday.

David Wright III was behind an armed protest Saturday outside of a mosque in Irving, Texas by a group calling itself the “Bureau on American Islamic Relations,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

Wright prefaced the list of addresses, which appeared to be copied over from a city document, by writing that those named “stood up for Sharia tribunals”

Predictably, this had the usual collection of folks setting their hair on fire, with dire warnings being issued over the “targeting” of Muslims. (Washington Post)

“This is the first time I’ve been slightly alarmed,” Alia Salem, executive director of CAIR’s Dallas/Fort Worth branch, told the Dallas Morning News after the list was published. “As bad as things have gotten in the past, and especially recently, this is the first time where I see people taking this public.”

Referring to those who spoke at the city council meeting, Salem said: “This is my job to deal with this kind of stuff. But for an everyday citizen who was just exerting their First Amendment rights and their right as an American to speak up and speak out, they were just being good citizens to show up and be a part of the democratic process. Now they are targets.”

This has become a running question in the internet age and it involves a lot more than just members of a particular religious group. Public officials of all sorts have had their personal information published in various forums and in newspapers. Just how “private” is that information? If your address is available on all manner of forms and documents, both government and commercial, is that really a secret? At the same time, making it easier for critics (and possibly those who wish to do you harm) to find you raises concerns. As I said… it’s at least a valid topic of debate.

But with that in mind, some of these same authors haven’t seemed to be quite as concerned when other people’s names and addresses have been published. In fact, sometimes it’s the mainstream media themselves doing it. How upset do you think these same folks were when lists of registered gun owners were published in the Journal News of Westchester County, New York? In that instance, the liberal opponents of gun rights at the newspaper actually went to court to sue Putnam County when their sheriff refused to turn over the names.

Where was the editorial board of the Washington Post when that happened? Were they concerned about pistol permit holders being “targets” of crazed anti-gun rights activists? I was unable to find any such protestations on a quick search, though perhaps I missed it.

I’m not saying that publishing the list of Muslims from a public, city council document (which only showed up briefly on Facebook, not in a newspaper) was a great idea. But at the same time, other groups who are not as prized or protected by the mainstream media don’t seem to generate such concern over their privacy. The lack of balance between these two instances is probably proof of all you need to know.

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