....LMB: "Islam vs. Islam"....

October 28, 2002

I have some answers to some questions I asked in an LMB entry on Friday about the DC sniper. The mainstream media mentioned that he had converted to Islam after the Gulf War, and then implied a link to Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam organization. Although they use much of the same terminology and both call their members "Muslims," the two religions, Islam and Nation of Islam are very different, which begs the question "which kind of Muslim was John Muhammad?"

This is an important question to ask. If Muhammad was a "regular" Muslim, some of the speculation about his ties to anti-American Islamic fundamentalist groups like Al Qaeda would be reasonable. If Muhammad was a Nation of Islam Muslim, then his motives might be better traced to black militants in the United States.

We have a few answers. Farrakhan held a press conference this weekend where he admitted that John Muhammad was a member of the Nation of Islam since 1997. He also said that if Muhammad is guilty of these crimes, that he will be kicked out of the NOI.

My main concern in all this is that the sniper's link to "Islam" is just one more piece of imprecise evidence to support the widespread belief that "Muslims are violent," the sort of stereotype that is not very helpful to your average Muslim, American or otherwise. If John Muhammad was not a member of the Islamic faith, then maybe that piece of "evidence" can be excised. Or maybe it would be too late.

But honestly, I don't know if there are any religious, or political motivations for this crime. Didn't the sniper's note to the cops demand a $10 million payment to stop his killing spree? In the final analysis, was this all about making a buck?

Posted by Jake at 09:59 AM
Comments

I don't know if the sniper really wanted the $10 million or if it was just a red herring to mess with the police and public's mind.

Perhaps none of this has anything to do with religion or politics. Maybe the sniper just went insane. It happens occasionally...Urge to kill...rising...

Posted by: Eric at October 28, 2002 10:32 AM

I found this site very informative, and did not know that the snipers were a part of the nation of Islam, and not the pure Islam. Islam is stereotyped as violent when it should not be, and followersof the NOI should be distinguished from Islam because the two have very different concepts, and the pure and true Islam has no inferior race as the Nation of Islam does. People should be better educated about this monumental distinction.

Posted by: at August 7, 2003 06:24 PM

I found this site very informative, and did not know that the snipers were a part of the nation of Islam, and not the pure Islam. Islam is stereotyped as violent when it should not be, and followersof the NOI should be distinguished from Islam because the two have very different concepts, and the pure and true Islam has no inferior race as the Nation of Islam does. People should be better educated about this monumental distinction.

Posted by: at August 7, 2003 06:25 PM

I found this site very informative, and did not know that the snipers were a part of the nation of Islam, and not the pure Islam. Islam is stereotyped as violent when it should not be, and followersof the NOI should be distinguished from Islam because the two have very different concepts, and the pure and true Islam has no inferior race as the Nation of Islam does. People should be better educated about this monumental distinction.

Posted by: at August 7, 2003 06:26 PM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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