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JIHAD IN N.C.: MSM WHITEWASH

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 8, 2006 02:24 PM

Clay Waters at Newsbusters finds the New York Times’ coverage of Tar Heel Terrorist Mohammed Taheri-azar lacking:

Notice how the Times blandly summarizes things.

“The man charged with nine counts of attempted murder for driving a Jeep through a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Friday told the police that he deliberately rented a four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could ‘run over things and keep going,’ according to court papers released yesterday by investigators. Details in the search warrant for the Carrboro, N.C., apartment of the defendant, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, suggest that he had planned his actions for months and was disappointed the attack had not done more damage. None of the nine people who were struck by the Jeep Grand Cherokee as they were standing in a campus commons area known as the Pit were seriously injured.

“According to statements taken by the police, Mr. Taheri-azar, 22, an Iranian-born graduate of the university, felt that the United States government had been ‘killing his people across the sea’ and that his actions reflected ‘an eye for an eye.’”

Which people, exactly? The Times doesn’t say. For that, you have to look at the local coverage in Chapel Hill. The national “paper of record” doesn’t even use the term Muslim in the story, even though the suspect told the police the attack was to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.”

Tony Blankley skewers his colleagues:

Most of the world today not only is in denial concerning the truly appalling likely consequences of the rise of radical Islam, it often refuses to even accept unambiguous evidence of its existence.

The latest minor example of the latter is occurring at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As has been generally reported, an Iranian Muslim student drove a jeep into a crowd of students, causing only minor injuries. He turned himself in and informed the police and the media that he was trying to kill the students to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.”

Neither the university nor most of the media has been willing to characterize this event as a terrorist attempt by a radical Muslim. Mr. Colmes, on “Hannity and Colmes” seemed to express genuine puzzlement as to why it mattered whether we called it that or merely an act of violence. Similarly, the attack at the Los Angeles International Airport a few years ago was for nine months just called a violent attack, before it was finally characterized by police as a radical Muslim act of terrorism…

… In Antwerp last month, according to the reporter Paul Belien, rioting Moroccan “youths” went on a rampage destroying cars and beating up reporters, but the police were instructed not even to stop them or arrest them. According to an anonymous policeman, “An ambulance was told to switch off its siren because that might provoke the Moroccans.” This event, too, was under reported, or not reported at all in American media.

And of course, last October in Paris and other French cities, hundreds of buildings were torched and tens of thousands of cars burned by Muslim “youths” through weeks of rioting, while both the French government and most of the “responsible” experts denied there was any radical Muslim component to the greatest urban violence to hit France since World War. It was all to do with poverty and teenage angst and alienation.

Of course poverty and alienation can’t explain the Iranian student in North Carolina. He has just received one of the finest educations available to a privileged American. He reportedly has received advanced degrees in philosophy and psychology from one of our top universities.

The media has pointed out that there is no evidence he was connected to Al Qaeda or another terrorist cell. But that is exactly the point. As I discussed in my book last year, the threat to the West is vastly more than bin Laden and Al Qaeda (although that would be bad enough.)

The greater danger is the ferment in Islam that is generating radical ideas in an unknown, but growing percentage of grass-roots Muslims around the world — very much including in Europe and, to a currently lesser extent, in the United States.

A nation cannot design (and maintain public support for) a rational response to the danger if the nature and extent of the danger is not identified, widely reported and comprehended.

At least one student at UNC-Chapel Hill gets it. Daily Tar Heel columnist Ginny Franks writes:

Taheri-azar didn’t just want nine funerals with nine gravestones to mark his crime. Taheri-azar wanted front-page photographs of our faces in anguish; he wanted to draw us into reactions of irrational violence against Muslims; he wanted his day in court.

He wanted us to fear standing in the Pit – the spot that represents everything Islamist terrorism seeks to eradicate.

On UNC’s campus, the Pit is a literal place where worship, art, music, poetry, relationships, celebration and charity thrive. It is a sacred space on our campus – a brick sanctuary for dialogue, nestled between two libraries full of mankind’s diverse ideas…

…Islamist terrorists find one true path, while we embrace the possibility of multiple truths. There are few things in this country that we harmoniously coalesce behind and even fewer times when we speak with a united voice.

And that in and of itself is worth fighting for.

Above all we believe in – and demand – a political space where we can disagree.

And we need to believe in that political space just as strongly and be willing to sacrifice just as much in order to maintain it as those to whom its very existence is blasphemy.

That political space is the Pit. It is UNC.

It is a country in which we believe that the battle of beliefs need not divide us and need not inspire hatred of our brothers in humanity.

We must rise to defend our political space – a box on the editorial page for an offensive cartoon, a place on a shelf for an offensive book, a protest in the Pit with offensive signs – because in the end that is what we have that is worth fighting for.

It is our commitment to dialogue – to offend or be offended, to teach or to learn, to engage and to inspire – that saves us from cowardice while Taheri-azar smiles into the cameras.

Shannon Blosser at NRO adds:

Mohammad Reza Taheri-azar tried to kill students in Chapel Hill last week in the service of a wicked ideology. In the process, he has exposed not only the continuing danger of domestic terrorism but also the inability of some leaders and communities to recognize that danger and take it seriously.

***

Joe Kaufman explores Tar Heel Terror at Front Page Magazine.

Jon Sanders
asks: “Are N.C. colleges still a magnet for Islamic radicals?”

I investigated al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s education at Chowan College in Murfreesburo, N.C., in 2003.

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