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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Moroccan Imam recruited suicide bombers

From AP, but hardly published anywhere (only three mentions in Google News):
Moroccan police have arrested a Muslim prayer leader who is suspected of recruiting young men to be suicide bombers in the insurgency in Iraq, a newspaper reported.

The imam, identified by police simply as Abdelilah according to Aujourd'hui Le Maroc newspaper, was arrested Monday in Tetouan, a city in northern Morocco near the Strait of Gibraltar.

Abdelilah preached at a mosque in Mezouak, a vast slum on the city's outskirts, exhorting Moroccans to "fight the American-Zionist occupation in Iraq," the newspaper quoted police as saying.

Two young men who attended the mosque carried out suicide bombings in Baquba, Iraq, last month, and a further five Moroccans linked to the mosque are believed to have joined the Iraq insurgency, the daily said.

Last night on O'Reilly a representative from CAIR was disputing whether most terrorism comes from Muslims. It is instructive to see that a story where a religious leader is recruiting young men to blow up themselves and as many others as possible is completely buried. I suspect that it is not because of political correctness but simply because this is not newsworthy.

A priest who fondles boys, or a rabbi who embezzles money, deservedly get headlines exactly because they are behaving in a way that is utterly foreign and disgusting and hypocritical. This is what makes a story interesting and therefore newsworthy.

Objectively speaking, the fact that two suicide bombers in Iraq came from the same small mosque from thousands of miles away in Morocco, and three other members are suspected of being in Iraq right now, is noteworthy. But it is not considered unusual by the media, because we know there are many imams exhorting their flocks to jihad. It is the old dog-bites-man standard of news. (In fact, one of the three news outlets that mentions this story only prints it as an afterthought with a story about a German man jailed in Morocco for converting Muslims.)

While the media's stance is understandable - they are in the business of selling their product and they choose news stories based on that fact - it is still irresponsible. Treating Muslim clerics with a different standard than others plays right into the hands of those who try to sell the world on a wholesome Islam that doesn't support terror. Stories like these should not be shunted aside by newspaper editors.