Friday, January 28, 2005

Pandering to Islamophobia

The following letter has been submitted to the Post Standard for publication:

Dear Editor,

You should be commended for your emphasis on a recent Cornell Study that found endemic Islamophobia in our country--44% of Americans favor restricting the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Bravo!

Conversely, another element of the Post Standard has consistently pandered to the most prejudiced members of our community by feeding them a diet of misrepresentations that demean Muslims should be chided. Shame on you.

The Dhafir trial is the case in point. When the Tsunami hit in the Far East there were innumerable articles on the suffering of the victims and the generosity of local donors. Compare this to the coverage of the Iranian earthquake a year earlier. When one of the members of Dr. Dhafir's charity appealed to you for help you chose to emphasize his connection to Help the Needy and raise the specter of terrorism.

Coverage of the trial, as numerous unpublished letters to you have pointed out, has been pro- prosecution. NY Post- like tabloid headlines often emphasized a miniscule pro-prosecution point that made Dr. Dhafir look bad.
In January when the bulk of the court time was taken by the defense's cross-examination, you choose to report only sporadically. Prior to that you reported mostly the prosecution's allegations on a daily basis.

It is clear that one of the objectives of your coverage of the Dhafir trial has been to pander to Islamophobia.

"First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7 :5

God Bless,
Madis Senner