Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Party Time for bin Laden

Al Qaeda's Class of 2001 has much to celebrate this weekend on the anniversary of its biggest hits, not least of which is the fear and panic that has not only persisted but grown as a result of its 9/11 attacks.

Nine years later, Americans are divided by headline bigotry over building a mosque near Ground Zero while an ecclesiastical moron with a flock of fifty plans to mark the anniversary by burning the Koran despite bipartisan warnings by politicians and Gen. Petraeus that such antics could "endanger troops" and damage the war effort in Afghanistan.

What we have here is not a clash of cultures but the tyranny of lunatic fringes in which Osama bin Laden's fanatics on one side and U. S. counterparts of loudmouths who play into their hands hold millions of reasonable Muslims and Americans hostage to their attention-getting extremism.

The Koran-burners can't seem to grasp that incinerating the terrorists' holy book will offend not only them but the large majority of Muslims fighting them side by side with our own troops in the Middle East.

Speaking of loudmouths, Glenn Beck will be in Alaska to mark 9/11 by selling tickets for from $73 to $225 for some unspecified cause to an event that Sarah Palin promises will be "interesting and inspiring" for "patriots who will never forget."

In more solemn remembrance, President Obama will be laying a wreath at the Pentagon and Vice President Biden will attend services at the rubble of the World Trade Center in a show of respect to the innocent Americans who lost their lives nine years ago.

From whatever cave he is now occupying, Osama bin Laden will no doubt relish the divisive results of his strike at the American spirit, but his celebration should be tempered by the unique history of a nation that has overcome waves of religious intolerance and stupidity for centuries.

As book burners prepare for their work in Florida, another community--Hartford, Ct.--announces that it has invited local imams to perform Islamic invocations at its City Council meetings this month.

That may not match the heat of book-burning fires, but it will be a candle in the darkness.

Update: Two organizations, the Associated Press and Fox News, take a step toward media sanity by announcing they will not show the Koran burning on Saturday, if indeed it takes place.

If some journalistic purists find this to be "censorship," it may be useful to remember that news by definition is only a tiny fraction of what goes on all over the world and that editors have always made decisions about what's news and what isn't.

In the unfiltered world of the Internet, that function has been downgraded and has almost disappeared. Perhaps journalists should be grateful to the would-be Koran burners for the reminder that their judgment has not become totally irrelevant after all.

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