Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Why was this article written?

I think that we should be careful about blaming Islamic extremists for the murder of the Egyptian family in New Jersey. Over the last decade, there have been plenty of seeming hate crimes that turn out to be no such thing.

But this AP article works very hard to dismiss the idea without really pulling together any pertinent facts.

Egyptian relatives blame violence of American society for slaying of NJ family
LUXOR, Egypt -- Relatives of the Egyptian Christian family slain last week in New Jersey blamed the violence of American society for the killings, saying Tuesday that they doubted it was a religious crime.
The reporter doesn't say what these relatives know that makes them believe this. Seeing that they are thousands of miles away they might not have the best insight into an unsolved homicide.
Milad Ibrahim, Armanious' cousin, blamed "the brutality of American society" and complained that the family's neighbors couldn't interfere to stop the crime.

Hosni Armanious, another close relative, said the killings would not have happened in Egypt, where neighbors are more involved in each other's lives.

"If a member of this family was attacked in Egypt, they would have screamed, yelled, and dozens of people would have interfered to protect them," he said.
The reporter takes this claim at face value. Which is surprising since the Coptic Church in Egypt has been under attack by Islamic killers for years.
During the nineties, the group's attacks on the country's Christians increased in both their brutal and indiscriminate nature. Copts, the Christians of Egypt, whose very existence was viewed by the group as a threat to aspirations for a fundamentalist Islamic state, were assaulted, terrorized and murdered.

During this decade, Copts, Jews, and Westerners were systematically targeted as infidels, whose wealth was declared by the group's leaders as forfeit and available for the plundering of the Islamic faithful. Coptic men, women, and children were killed; Coptic businesses ravaged and looted; and Coptic churches bombed and set on fire. This onslaught of violence on Copts in their homes, businesses, and places of worship paralyzed the Coptic community.
To be fair, the slant of the story follows on the official line out of NJ:
mourners in Jersey City on Sunday said the killings may have been religiously motivated. But prosecutors downplayed any religious motive and local Muslims vehemently disputed the claim.
Maybe the prosecutor has a reason to play down the religious aspects of the story. But how can Muslim leaders "vehemently dispute" the possibility until a suspect is captured?

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