When criticisms have come couched in extravagant and misleading rhetoric, most papers have offered little pushback outside of the editorial pages. In a report on Republican criticism of the Park51 development, the Times ran Newt Gingrich’s now infamous statement that “building the mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks ‘would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.’” It would not have been ideological editorializing to challenge that assertion, adding, as many have pointed out, that the analogy is extreme and inaccurate. Instead, it was left to stand.
We can’t leave the inflammatory and misleading to stand. We must be as vigilant about correcting the record on all matters of Islam as we have been on the president’s faith. More so. The stakes for him are political; the stakes for Muslim Americans are far greater. From this week’s Time cover story:
…to be a Muslim in America now is to endure slings and arrows against your faith — not just in the schoolyard and the office but also outside your place of worship and in the public square, where some of the country’s most powerful mainstream religious and political leaders unthinkingly (or worse, deliberately) conflate Islam with terrorism and savagery.