So-called “Rise in Anti-Muslim Sentiment” Isn’t

Monday’s Washington Post featured a front-page story, titled “Nowhere near Ground Zero, but no more welcome: Outcry over mosque proposals in Tennessee and elsewhere could be a sign of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country.”

It could be a sign of rising anti-Muslim sentiment?  The story, written by Annie Gowen, might as well be titled, “Americans are Racists.”  Rather than explore the real reasons behind the outcry, she lazily tries to link opposition to certain mosques with the small minority of real bigots out there.

From Newsbusters’ Ken Shepherd:

Gowen waited until 27th pragraph in the 41-paragraph story to introduce the man spearheading the opposition, “a stocky 44-year-old correctional officer named Kevin Fisher” who “spent his formative years in Buffalo, where a home-grown terrorist cell of Yemeni Americans was uncovered in 2002.”

Yet long before she ever got around to quoting Fisher, Gowen set out to portray the opposition to the mosque as the work of intolerant, ignorant rednecks.

-and-

When Gowen finally got around to quoting Fisher, she left a lot to be desired in terms of capturing the subject’s opposition to the proposed mosque. For example, Gowen failed to note that Fisher also opposed a Bible theme park that had been planned for the city and that many of his objections to the mosque are grounded not in fear of radical Islam or sharia law but in zoning and traffic issues pertaining to the 52,900-square foot size of the planned facility.

You can also read Gowen’s full story at

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/22/AR2010082202895.html

and Shepherd’s full analysis at

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2010/08/23/wapo-conflates-opposition-ground-zero-tennessee-mosques

Are there bigots overreacting to the building of mosques?  Yes.  But that makes other, more level-headed opposition no less justified.
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