Media Underplays Muslim involvement

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 22, 2019   

Robert Spencer weighs in on Sri Lanka bombings

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The media in India has identified three of the attackers in yesterday's attacks that left over 200 dead and 500 injured in Sri Lanka; mainstream media in the West has not disclosed those names.

The three attackers identified in Indian media are Zahran Hashim, Abu Mohammad and Mohamed Azzam Mohamed.

Church Militant asked Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, his thoughts on an article by The New York Times — "Religious Minorities Across Asia Suffer Amid Surge in Sectarian Politics" — as well as mainstream media's general coverage of this tragedy.

When news of the bombings first broke, Islamic State (IS) supporters were portraying the attacks as revenge for strikes on Mosques and Muslims in general.

"Not just the Times, but the entire establishment media in the West, is ignoring the fact that the Indian media has identified three of the attackers," he said. "There seems to be no reason for this omission except that the media seems intent on downplaying or denying outright the motivating ideology behind jihad terror attacks."

News 18 reported: "The attack at Shangri La hotel was carried out by suicide bomber Zahran Hashim, while Abu Mohammad has been identified as the attacker at the Batticalao church."

"Carrying a plate, the man, who had registered at the hotel [Cinnamon Grand hotel] the night before as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed, was just about to be served when he set off his devastating strike in the packed restaurant, a manager at the Sri Lankan hotel told AFP [L'Agence France-Presse]," reported The Hindu.

Saif Khalid, a journalist for Al Jazeera, responded on Twitter to the Indian media's release of Zahran Hashim's name as being "blatantly Islamophobic.

According to The Jerusalem Post, "Hashim has likewise posted several YouTube videos during which he preaches comments that could be considered incitement."

Hashim's YouTube account has been terminated "for a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service."

U.S. News reported that the chief of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Yousef al-Othaimeen, called the attacks "cowardly" and condemned them, noting that the OIC includes some 57 nations and is headquartered in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea city of Jiddah.

The report also states that Saudi Arabia described the attacks as "terrorist explosions," and extended its condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Sri Lanka.

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The U.S. News report does not include that, when news of the bombings first broke, Islamic State (IS) supporters were portraying the attacks as revenge for strikes on Mosques and Muslims in general, according to SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that has been providing "governments and institutions worldwide with verified, actionable intelligence and analysis on terrorist and extremist groups" for over two decades.


Since 2017, Sri Lanka has seen a spike in Jihadi activity, according to One India. Establishment media in the West has not covered this in its reporting.

Vicky Nanjappa of One India reports that the IS has been rampant in Sri Lanka since 2016. She noted that the serial bombings bore the signature of the IS.

Her report also states that Sri Lankan police were informed that terrorists would target 11 churches in Sri Lanka, warning that Catholics would be the main target.

Today, Sri Lankan government officials are blaming a local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamath, for the attacks that involved seven suicide bombers.

Pope Francis and Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb, the current grand imam of al-Azhar — who, in February, signed a joint declaration entitled "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" — both expressed their grief and condolences.  

At the end of his Easter Urbi et Orbi address, Pope Francis said, "I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence."

"I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished," he added, "And I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event."

Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb tweeted the following through the al-Azhar Twitter account:

While the Holy Father and the grand imam of al-Azhar commented on this tragedy in more general terms, Cdl. Robert Sarah tweeted the following:

 

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