LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Unfair media coverage
When news breaks of a new domestic attack, a buzz of prayer swarms through Muslim communities: Please, God, don’t let the attacker be another crazy Muslim.
In some cases, it isn’t immediately clear, but American Muslims have learned to deduce the answer before any official announcement is made. It all depends on the placing the story gets in the headlines. If it isn’t the biggest, loudest story in the media, we can ease our nerves a little and assume it probably was not a convoluted individual with an ignorant understanding of Islam. Rather, as the narrative sometimes unfolds, it’s a man with some kind of mental instability that induced such a violent crime.
Worthy of noting is that in numerous cases where the attacker was Muslim, there were also strong indications of mental imbalance. But the FBI takes a very different approach when these individuals are identified. In a practice officially known as entrapment, undercover agents have repeatedly targeted Muslims suffering from poverty and mental issues; they entice them with money while planting or encouraging terrorist-related ideas in their minds and provide both financial and material support for them to carry out an FBI-produced plot. The use of agent provocateurs is an old practice within the Bureau and they continue to be used in unprecedented numbers within the Muslim community. When the domestic terrorist is created, this man, often simply the victim of a failing mental health system in our country, becomes another success story as the FBI hails a new victory in the War Against Terror.
There is, in fact, a huge discrepancy in the coverage given to an attack depending on whether or not the perpetrator is Muslim. As Muslims, we feel great anger toward individuals who commit atrocious acts in the name of Islam. And we are always deeply saddened by the loss of innocent life. But we are also deeply offended by the inconsistency in reporting and the disproportionate coverage that is directly correlated to the faith of the attacker. In this great nation, we suffer from severe shortcomings in areas of mental health. Perhaps if we reallocated a portion of our $16 billion counter-terrorism budget to helping those in mental need of assistance, we could protect our countrymen from another Sandy Hook or San Bernadino.