cruel to be kind
A newspaper has apologized for depicting Muslims in a *positive* light.
On September 11th, the Portland Press Herald published a story titled "A Show of Faith and Forgiveness: Muslims mark the end of Ramadan with a celebration of life and an outpouring for those less fortunate."
Almost immediately, complaints began pouring in, and the paper apologized: "We have acknowledged that we erred by at least not offering balance to the story and its prominent position on the front page."
In his Time blog, James Poniewozik wrote, "Here's where we are in America, 2010: There is now one group of Americans whose peaceful religious observance cannot be noted by decent people, unless it is "balanced" by the mention of a vile crime committed in 2001 by people, with a perverted idea of the same religion, from the other side of the world."
Poniewozik concludes, "If there's one silver lining, it's that the apology drew its own storm of complaints. From one: 'These people and their faith had nothing whatsoever to do with the horrific attack of nine years ago. Our state needs to be more tolerant, not less. Your apology implies that it is in some way OK to connect everyday Muslims and the attackers. I abhor such thinking.' Well said. The paper owed no one an apology. But it does now."
I recently wrote that we need to understand the viewpoints of those who support SB1070. I also think we need to understand the feelings and thoughts of people who are so frightened/angered by Muslims that they cannot abide any presentation of Islam in a peaceful way. However, trying to understand someone, and changing the facts of a story, or apologizing for speaking or printing the truth, sets a dangerous precedent.