Accuracy in Media

usa today choudary

Last week, USA Today ran a column by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who questioned why the French government allowed the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to run cartoons that insulted Mohammed, and place its citizens at risk:

So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?

The backlash to Choudary’s column was angry and swift, as people wondered why USA Today would print such inflammatory remarks in the wake of the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hedbo, in which Muslim extremists killed 12 people.

Yet despite the outrage over Choudary’s column, USA Today editoral-page editor Brian Gallagher defended the paper’s decision to publish it, calling it a “tempered analysis,” and compared it to the response they receive when publishing opinions on global warming, race and the Keystone pipeline. He concluded that refusing to publish the column would have dishonored the memory of those who were slain:

His argument is neither an incitement to violence nor a defense of the murders. Both of those would have been unacceptable. Rather, it is a tempered analysis of the motivations behind tragedies like the Charlie Hebdo attack: Nothing is more central to Islam, he points out, than the sanctity of the religion’s founder, the prophet Mohammed. So Muslims, passionate in their faith, are duty-bound to reject Western standards of free speech that tolerate blasphemy to the prophet.

Perhaps that’s attributable to the nature of the Charlie Hebdo story. French satirists were murdered for being bold enough to criticize Islam. We would have dishonored their memories by refusing to publish offensive commentary from the other side.

The murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff—whether or not you agree with what they were publishing—is a despicable, vile act by Muslim terrorists who have no respect for human life, and who are dedicated to stamping out any dissent of their views. Choudary’s column is anything but “tempered analysis,” and only helps fan the flames of those who support his terrorist beliefs.

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