Jewish Journal


January 9, 2011

Muslims see double standard in Arizona shooting


There has been a lot of ink and opinions spilled over yesterday’s bloodshed in Arizona. Mollie has looked at some of the religion angle over at GetReligion. I mentioned one yesterday: Gabby Giffords is Jewish. So too was Gabe Zimmerman, one of her staffers who was killed.

I’ve only been following the big developments and was surprised to see this tweet from the blog Muslim Matters:

Muslim reaction to AZ shooting summed up: relieved (killer not Muslim), sad (innocent lives lost) and angry (double standards in coverage)

That sounds about right, but what double standards are we talking about? That led me to search for Muslim talk regarding the Giffords shooting. Here’s what the Washington Post reported:

Hundreds of comments in Arabic on Qatar-based al-Jazeera’s Web site focused on a perceived double standard: If the shooter had been Muslim, most surmised, it would have been a “terrorist attack.” Others cautioned that it would still be blamed on a Muslim.

“Thank god that the person who did the crime his name is not Mohammed or Muslim,” wrote a person who identified himself as Amr Mohammed, in posting from Egypt. “But maybe Mama America will yet conclude that the person who stimulated him to this kind of act was a Muslim.”

“If the killer was a Muslim or Arab, they would say this is a terrorist attack, but because this person is not, they will describe his act as ‘devastating,’” wrote someone from Saudi Arabia using the pseudonym Abu Omar.

True, the Arizona shooter’s action should be described as an act of terrorism. After all, he is a self-styled terrorist. But that doesn’t mean that the Times Square Bomber or the Fort Hood shooter are not terrorists too. And there is no contesting that those men were motivated by what they thought was God’s will for them as a Muslim. They were mistaken, but it still came from their misunderstanding of Islam.


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