Friday, June 13, 2014

The New York Times Defends Al-Qaeda

June 11, 2014

Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, proudly claims responsibility for the abduction and forced conversion of hundreds of Christian schoolgirls, in a recent video pictured here.

Why are some of the biggest Western mainstream media outlets — especially the New York Times [NYT] — often apologetic, not only for radical Islamists, but for al-Qaeda, an organization responsible for, among other atrocities, killing nearly 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001?

A recent NYT report, "Abduction of Girls an Act Not Even Al Qaeda Can Condone," tries to exonerate al-Qaeda of the horrific actions of a similar jihadi organization, Nigeria's Boko Haram — when both groups are remarkably similar in outlook and method, and often Boko Haram is affiliated with al-Qaeda and is frequently even worse. The report begins "As word spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook that Nigerian militants were preparing to auction off more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls in the name of Islam, a very different Internet network started quietly buzzing too," one which, according to the NYT, reflects "the dismay of fellow jihadists at the innocent targets of Boko Haram's violence":
"Such news [the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls] is spread to taint the image of the Mujahedeen," wrote one dubious poster on a web forum used by Islamic militants that displays a picture of Osama bin Laden. "I have brothers from Africa who are in this group," wrote another, insisting that they were like "the Quran walking the earth [i.e. righteous and just]." 
Boko Haram, the cultlike Nigerian group that carried out the kidnappings, was rejected long ago by mainstream Muslim scholars and Islamist parties around the world for its seemingly senseless cruelty and capricious violence against civilians. But this week its stunning abduction appeared too much even for fellow militants normally eager to condone terrorist acts against the West and its allies. 
"There is news that they attacked a girls' school!" another astonished poster wrote on the same jihadi forum ...
There is really nothing "stunning" about the recent abduction. What the NYT calls a "stunning abduction" pales in comparison to the many other atrocities Boko Haram has committed, and as documented in Gatestone Institute's Muslim Persecution of Christians series, where not a month goes by without countless atrocities committed by the Nigerian jihadis, including the bombing or burning of hundreds of churches, especially on Christmas Day and Easter Day, which have left hundreds of worshippers dead or dismembered in the last few years.

Back in 2012, in fact, Boko Haram warned that it would do what is now referred to as "stunning." It declared that it was preparing to "strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women." Before and since, it has kidnapped, raped, and converted countless Christian girls.

Perhaps the only thing "stunning" is that this latest raid on schoolgirls, the majority of whom are Christian, was widely reported and managed to reach the Western mainstream media.

The NYT next quotes a supposed al-Qaeda expert saying, "The violence most of the African rebel groups practice makes Al Qaeda look like a bunch of schoolgirls."

Is the incineration of nearly three-thousand Americans on 9/11 the act of a "bunch of schoolgirls"? (For a long list of atrocities committed by al-Qaeda and the Taliban before September 11, 2001 — many which make the recent Nigerian abduction seem like kindergarten — click here.)

What is "too much even for fellow militants" is not the act of abduction itself, but rather that the world finally heard about it. Muslim clerics and the NYT therefore had to respond — the clerics with formal disavowals of Boko Haram, the NYT with articles whitewashing al-Qaeda.

The NYT is never the first to report on atrocities committed by jihadis against Christians and other minorities, but it is always first to try to whitewash and apologize for the jihadis' role whenever news of jihadi atrocities appears from other media outlets. The article, by Adam Nossiter and David Kirkpatrick, continues with information that is simply false:
Its [Boko Haram's] violence is broader and more casual than Al Qaeda or other jihadist groups. Indeed, its reputation for the mass murder of innocent civilians is strikingly inconsistent with a current push by Al Qaeda's leaders to avoid such deaths for fear of alienating potential supporters.
The NYT totally fails to mention that most African Islamic groups waging jihad to enforce Islamic law — from Nigeria's Boko Haram to Somalia's al-Shabaab — are affiliated with al-Qaeda as regional branches of the terrorist organization, both in their ends and their means.

For example, in 2012, after Somalia's al-Shabaab had decapitated countless Christian men and women accused of apostasy, among other atrocities, it was heartily welcomed into the al-Qaeda fold by Ayman Zawahiri.

Boko Haram also has deep connections to al-Qaeda. Boko Haram is affiliated with the core leadership of al-Qaeda as well as its nearby Maghrebi branch, according to the United Nations Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

The NYT then goes on to make yet another false assertion: that Boko Haram's extreme violence "was the subject of the dispute that led to Al Qaeda's recent break with its former affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."

This invention seems meant to distance al-Qaeda from yet another brutal savage Islamic organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS], which has also been committing any number of atrocities—including crucifying people, bombing churches, and raping non-Muslims. In reality, "atrocities" are hardly the reason for the conflict between ISIS and al-Qaeda. ISIS was committing atrocities even when it was connected to al-Qaeda. The dispute was about power politics.

Why is the NYT trying so hard to make al-Qaeda and other Islamists look better by attempting to distance and excuse them from the widely exposed crimes of Boko Haram and ISIS?

If people started to connect the dots and understand that all Islamists (al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, al-Shabaab, al-Nusra Front, etc.), when they commit atrocities against non-Muslims, do it simply out of religious hate, the narrative that Western governments and mainstream media so stubbornly uphold — that al-Qaeda's terrorism, including 9/11, is based on "grievances against the West and Israel," and not Islamic supremacism and religious hate — would quickly unravel.

The NYT article even manages to invoke the grievance paradigm when discussing Boko Haram's terror: it states that "Boko Haram tapped into growing anger among northern Nigerians at their poverty and lack of opportunity as well as the humiliating abuses of the government's security forces." Boko Haram may well have tapped into a poverty level — most people in "developing countries," including southern Nigeria, are poor. But the NYT totally disregards that many noted jihadis are doctors, engineers, well-educated and often affluent, including al-Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mohammed Atta, and Major Nidal Hasan.

A recent Danish statistical study of immigrant families even finds that "Muslims [are] 218 percent more criminal in second generation than first," despite the fact that the second generation are more prosperous and educated than their first generation parents.

Yet the NYT insists on portraying terrorists as victims.

Al-Qaeda itself already put this question of grievances to rest. The late Osama bin Laden, in a private letter to Saudi Muslims, rhetorically asked:
Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue... Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam... Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.
Related Topics:  Nigeria  |  Raymond Ibrahimreceive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list

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