Talking Heads and Ticker News
When I waste time watching the news, I keep an eye out for the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” In any given ten yards of rolling script, we come across these watch words. A few days ago I read this (or close to it): “Muslim cleric says women without the veil are like meat.” The meat comment is unfortunate, but is it news? One guy says something stupid and the ticker editor must make a news judgment. Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, head religious authority of Australia's biggest mosque in Sydney, made the comment a month before it was reported. Firas Ahmad, senior editor of Islamica Magazine, questions the news value of meat-gate. You may read what he says in a brief article on Altmuslim.com. He wonders why Hilaly’s comment has received more media attention than, say, the Open Letter to the Pope signed by 38 prominent Muslim scholars around the world.
The article right above it, however, is far more disturbing, and its exclusion from national headline news is mind-boggling. Imam Zaid Shakir writes about "Alia Ansari, the Afghani-American mother of six who was gunned down in central Fremont last Thursday as she walked to pick up her children from school." God grant Alia mercy and give her family patience.
The refrain is predictible but still relevant: What if a woman of any other ilk (fill in the blank) had been gunned down while on her way to a school in what has all the signs of being a hate crime?