Monday, May 16, 2005

Apparently the body count over the Newsweek story is not high enough for Mr. Isikoff

"Obviously we all feel horrible about what flowed from this, but it's important
to remember there was absolutely no lapse in journalistic standards here,"
[Isikoff] said. "We relied on sources we had every reason to trust and gave the
Pentagon ample opportunity to comment...We're going to continue to investigate
what remains a very murky situation."

And so, with the "murky situation" not fully investigated, Newsweek chose to apologize for it by working in other baseless allegations about abuse to the Koran. Here's an idea, if Newsweek can't simply run a retraction/apology (they haven't retracted anything yet) without stirring up more Islamic hatred, then perhaps they could at least keep their trap shut while the US government cleans up the mess Isikoff made.

The initial report was irresponsible even if the source was not anonymous or the allegations true, given the negative repercussions that should have been predictable after the murder of Theo van Gogh and the shrill cries of jihad at the drop of a Koran. Also predictable, is that the retraction has been rejected by the muslim community. So there's no way Newsweek can undo the damage done.

All that said, the lion's share of outrage should be reserved towards the muslims that are so bent out of shape by Koran desecration, in the first place. Isikoff may have been ignorant in what he was doing, but regardless of his error, he didn't kill 16 people. Not that it matters, but I wonder how many Korans would have to be incinerated to match the number of American flags that have been burned, if each page was equal to each flag. Toss in the beheaded aid workers and no doubt that plume of smoke could be seen for miles and miles.

In trying to understand Islamic intolerance over abuse to the Koran, I was reminded of a recent Lee Harris article in which he talked about the nature of the Koran:

The Koran, however, differed radically from other sacred books. They were
inspired by God, but the Koran was the very word of God, and in the language
that God clearly spoke when he was by himself, namely, Arabic. Islam would never
have been such a challenge to the earlier faiths if it had claimed to have
discovered a new god; but it didn't. It claimed to be centered on the same god
of the Jews and Christians -- only the Koran represented this god correctly.


Nor was this the only stumbling block posed by the Koran. For the Koran does
not claim simply to have been inspired by God, the way that Jews and Christians
have traditionally interpreted their scripture; rather it is understood as
having been quite literally dictated by God, word by word. Or, more precisely,
Arabic word by Arabic word.

By this I don't mean that Allah
reveals his Word and that this Word is then encoded into Arabic, as it might
have been encoded into any other language; I mean that, according to Islam,
Allah's Word is itself Arabic. The Koran is co-eternal with Allah; it always
existed, and always will exist; and it has always been in Arabic.

This stands in profound contrast to the Christian concept of
inspiration as symbolized by the Feast of the Pentecost in The Book of Acts.
Here we find an explicit recognition of a God whose Word may be equally well
expressed in a multitude of tongues, so that no particular language can be
singled out as the language of God Himself. Divine thought transcends all human
language, and yet can be articulated in all human languages.

Austin Bay also had a good post on the issue.

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