Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Not all Muslim's are raving lunatics

Muslim jounalist arrested in Jordan for suggesting the beheading prisoners on camera might be doing more harm to Islam's reputation then a few Dutch cartoons.

In a direct challenge to the international uproar over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, the Jordanian journalist Jihad Momani wrote: "What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?"

Yehiya al-Abed, an Al Hurriya reporter in Yemen, pointing, with Abdulkarim Sabra, its managing editor. They were accused of insulting Islam.

In Yemen, an editorial by Muhammad al-Assadi condemned the cartoons but also lamented the way many Muslims reacted. "Muslims had an opportunity to educate the world about the merits of the Prophet Muhammad and the peacefulness of the religion he had come with," Mr. Assadi wrote. He added, "Muslims know how to lose, better than how to use, opportunities."

To illustrate their points, both editors published selections of the drawings — and for that they were arrested and threatened with prison.

Captain's Quarters

One measure of this victory has been the reticence of the Western media, especially the American media, to even show the cartoons to its readers before condemning them as offensive. The media moguls could take a lesson from the Muslim journalists about editorial choices:

Mr. Momani expressed exasperation when asked why he printed the cartoons. He insisted that it was the work of journalists to inform, and that he did so after speaking to many people who were outraged without ever seeing the cartoons.

Too bad American editors have forgotten this basic principle of journalism. Momani will pay for his adherence to journalistic integrity with his livelihood and perhaps his life, but he understood why a free press exists. Our leading media lights appear to have forgotten that in circumstances much less dire than Momani's -- to their everlasting shame.

This acquiescence is not helping moderate Muslims to take control. It cedes the center ground to the Islamists and encourages them to make ever-increasing demands on the West for submission. As long as they keep winning those battles, the moderates do not stand a chance.