In today's Washington Times, National Review senior writer Rod Dreher makes a point that Weblog has been meaning to write about all week: "Last week in Nigeria … Muslims destroyed churches and beat and murdered Christians. Yet in many of the press accounts, there was no mention of who started the violence (Muslims), and who the victims were (Christians). Typical of the nonjudgmental approach was a report I heard last Monday from CNN correspondent Nancy Curnow, who mentioned 'religious violence between Muslims and Christians.'"
Likewise, The New York Times referred to "religious zealotry," and emphasized that Christians fought back. That's a common thread in media reports coming out of Nigeria—not that Christians are being attacked for no reason, but that they say they'll fight back if necessary. "No group of people should be allowed to invade the city of Abuja and molest law-abiding citizens," said Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan. "It is a Christian duty to protect yourselves."
This steams columnist Dennis Prager. "The Times assures us [that] what happened in Kaduna is merely another example of Africa's 'difficulty in reconciling people who worship separately.' Nigeria's and Africa's Christians are just as guilty … Fanatical Muslims are not the killers—'devoutly religious people' are."
This isn't terribly new. After all, Christians were blamed equally with Muslims for Indonesia's religious violence as well. Not to excuse the Christians who fought back, but let's not forget that the instigation is radically one-sided.
But at least the Times only spins the facts. Others dispense with the facts altogether, and make it seem like Nigeria's Christians used turmoil over the Miss World pageant to go kill some Muslims. "Many Nigerians, ...1
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