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A Matter of Verbiage


By Jon Sutz, Editor, SaveTheWest.com

Why does the New York Times employ such loaded terms as “anti-Muslim venom” to describe the incitement of hate against Muslims — but shields Muslim influence leaders from being held to account for their incitement against other groups?

On July 12, 2017 the front page of the New York Times featured this story:

The story beneath that headline begins as follows:

Anti-Muslim Venom Fuels Rise to Power in India, by Ellen Barry and Suhasini Rajj, The New York Times, July 12, 2017.

LUCKNOW, India — A Hindu warrior-priest has been chosen to rule India’s most populous state, and the cable news channels cannot get enough of him. Yogi, as everyone calls him, is so ascetic and incorruptible that he doesn’t use air-conditioners, they say. Yogi sleeps on a hard mattress on the floor. Yogi sometimes eats only an apple for dinner.

But the taproot of Yogi Adityanath’s popularity is in a more ominous place. As leader of a temple known for its militant Hindu supremacist tradition, he built an army of youths intent on avenging historic wrongs by Muslims, whom he has called “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped.” At one rally he cried out, “We are all preparing for religious war!”

Adityanath (pronounced Ah-DIT-ya-nath) was an astonishing choice by Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, who came into office three years ago promising to usher India into a new age of development and economic growth, and playing down any far-right Hindu agenda. But a populist drive to transform India into a “Hindu nation” has drowned out Mr. Modi’s development agenda, shrinking the economic and social space for the country’s 170 million Muslims.

The story describes in detail the rise of, indeed, “anti-Muslim venom” in India, that has already led to several murders, and will likely lead to many more – and the fact that one bombastic Hindu politician and his supporters are leading the charge.  The story only alludes, however, to possible reasons for the anti-Muslim hostility in general –

Adityanath won a seat in Parliament, the first of five consecutive terms. Among his advantages was a new group he had formed: the Hindu Yuva Vahini, or Hindu Youth Brigade, a vigilante organization. The volunteers, now organized to the village level and said by leaders to number 250,000, show up in force where Muslims are rumored to be bothering Hindus.

Ironically, it was within the pages of the NYT itself, in November 2016, that details were provided about what Muslims themselves have done to Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh — and it was co-written by one of the journalists who wrote this story, Ellen Barry:

Hindu Temples and Homes in Bangladesh Are Attacked by Muslim Crowds, by Julfikar Ali Manik and Ellen Barry, The New York Times, November 2, 2016. Excerpt:

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Crowds of Muslims attacked Hindu homes and temples in eastern Bangladesh this week, raising concerns that the authorities are not taking steps to curb rising religious tensions.

Attacks on Hindus are not unusual in Bangladesh, but it is rare to see multiple crowds targeting temples in an organized way as they did on Sunday and Monday. The country’s human rights commission has initiated an inquiry into the episodes, which the panel’s chairman says appear to have been coordinated.

On Saturday, an Islamic group in Nasirnagar organized a protest against a Facebook post it found offensive. The post included an image of the Hindu god Shiva appearing at a Muslim holy site in the Saudi city of Mecca.

The crowd demanded that the young Hindu man who created the image be put to death. Nevertheless, the group was given permission to hold a rally the next day, and mosque loudspeakers were used to mobilize an even larger group, said Anjan Kumar Deb, the vice chairman of Nasirnagar subdistrict.

Why would the NYT refer to Hindus’ “anti-Muslim venom” in India, but not describe the atrocities in Bangladesh as Muslims’ “anti-Hindu venom”?  Especially given Muslims’ long, documented history of perpetrating violence against Hindus in the region, over the past thousand years, which is estimated to have claimed millions of lives?  And what about Muslim violence against others in India and Bangladesh?  More details on this anti-Hindu violence in the region is here.

This is not to excuse, in any way, Indian Hindus’ violence not just against Muslims, but against Christians and other religious minorities as well.

The NYT’s biased use of verbiage to rise to the defense of Muslims, however, is not limited to South Asia.

Violence-inciting imams in North America

Closer to home, imams in North America have been preaching anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual violence for a long time.  For example, in early 2017 in Canada, three imams were caught telling Muslims in sermons that they must “destroy Jews” (1, 2, 3).

And in 2016 alone, three notorious, homophobic, violence-inciting foreign imams were able to obtain travel visas under the State Department to enter the USA, to preach in Orlando mosques.  One of these incidents was captured on video — in which the imam openly declared that devout Muslims must murder gays and lesbians “out of compassion.”  This sermon occurred two months before the Pulse gay nightclub massacre, in which a devout Muslim, Omar Mateen, murdered 49 gays and injured 54 more, in an act that he explained in recorded calls to the FBI and 911 operators he was perpetrating because of his faith.