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Beer brews terrorists?

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 13, 2009 | 6:32 pm

In the coverage of the five Northern Virginian men arrested in Pakistan last week for suspected links to terrorism, Mollie at GetReligion picked up on a most unusual detail in a New York Times story:

At the I.C.N.A. Center in Alexandria, which occupies a modest brick building without a sign at the edge of a residential neighborhood, most people arriving for prayers on Wednesday night declined to comment.

One man who would not give his name acknowledged that he knew some of the young men but described them as good kids who had never been in trouble.

“They didn’t even know the price of beer,” the man said.

Whoa. If the the contrapositive is true, I have a lot of friends who might be homegrown terrorists. Wait! I know the price of a beer, too!

Fortunately, Mollie wasn’t as credulous as the NYT reporter, and she begged exactly what this detail was supposed to reveal. If anything, you’d think such a comment would suggest these were pious young teetotalers. Of course, wanna-be terrorists would probably also not know the price of a beer.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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