The Tallahassee Democrat, in an editorial about the dialogue centered around a picture of Muslims praying in Wakulla county, blatantly ignored facts about current events and published statements that severely questions the credibility of those in charge of the newspaper.
Using words like fear, loathing, paranoia and a condescending tone through out, the Tallahassee Democrat, headquartered in Virginia, poured gasoline on a fire that was in more need of a response grounded in context, facts, and questions.
In the process, the Tallahassee Democrat, not only showed a lack of concern for our community, but shirked its responsibility to facilitate an honest discussion, and instead, promoted discord.
I suppose the opportunity for the Tallahassee Democrat to dumb down one side of a complicated issue was too much for the top brass to pass up.
At one point on Friday there were three stories on the Tallahassee Democrat home page addressing the issue.
The opinion piece, among other things, implied it was un-American to question any behavior of groups based on freedom of religion.
This was followed by a statement I still cannot believe was actually printed and distributed to thousands of people in our community.
The Tallahassee Democrat wrote, “Its legal to advocate an idea, however offensive or alien.”
Tell that to Michael Todd Wolf.
He was sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison for attempting to aid the Islamic State. Source here.
Wolfe told his wife “his heart yearned to join his Muslim brothers, and that he was ready to die.”
Or tell that to California residents Nader Elhuzayel, 25 and Muhanad Badawi, 25 who were charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State. Source here
According to federal documents, on the last Friday of April, after prayer services at a mosque in Orange County, Elhuzayel and Badawi spoke enthusiastically about the Islamic State. The documents say one proclaimed a wish to join the group and die a martyr on a battle field.
Federal authorities said the men drew the attention of counter-terrorism agents with inflammatory comments on social media, prompting an investigation.
And finally, what about three Brooklyn residents, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboer, Akhror Saidakhmetov, and Arbor Habibov who were charged with conspiracy to provide support to ISIL. Source here.
The charges were announced by the current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York when the charges were filed.
William J. Bratton, the New York City police commissioner, said in a statement, “This case is another example of the reach that ISIL has within the United States through social media, and the fact that some are willing to follow that call.”
And get this, the FBI assistant in charge in New York told the local media; “we rely on help from the community, the public, and religious leaders to be mindful of those who could be radicalized. We cannot do this alone.”
Contrary to what the Tallahassee Democrat printed, there are some ideas and statements that can lead to investigations and serious charges by the federal government.
Now lets be clear about one thing. My comments here have nothing to do with supporting or speaking against a specific point of view on this issue.
It is a delicate issue that federal courts have wrestled with and it is clear it requires thoughtful dialogue in communities across our nation.
My comments are focused directly at the Tallahassee Democrat.
I believe this issue, based on research and the sources I have provided above, deserves more than the name calling and righteous approach put forth by the Tallahassee Democrat.
In my opinion, the Tallahassee Democrat, without much thought, took a complicated issue, chose a side, ignored relevant facts and wrote an opinion piece that promoted discord in our community.
For me that is unacceptable and there must be accountability. Our highly educated community deserves better.