Who is shouting “God is great”?

allah akbar 2For those of you who are interested, I have a very GetReligion-ish column up today at Poynter.org that deals with some of the themes we have wrestled with on this blog in recent weeks.

It’s called “Shouts in the Fires” and here is how it opens:

Some of the people involved in the fiery riots in France have been shouting “Allahu akbar!”

If you read The Observer in England, you will learn that, “Spirits had been calmed thanks to the intervention of a handful of young men from the mosque, known as les grands-frères, who stood between the rioters and the police, shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ — ‘God is great.’”

If you read David Warren, in the Ottawa Citizen, you will learn about gangs of street thugs, openly Islamist, whose “war cry, while hurling missiles and setting fires, is ‘Allahou Akbar!’ — ‘God is great!’”

If you use a search engine to scan American newspapers, you will not read about this at all.

It sounds like a crucial detail, to me. I would like someone out there in the mainstream press to answer this question for me, as a journalist who cares about religion news: Who is shouting “Allahu akbar”? Is anyone shouting “Allahu akbar”?

You can comment here or comment at Poynter.

We have moved into a quieter stage of this story, but I do not think that it is going away. Plus, from the journalism point of view, we face the same questions in Jordan, the West Bank, Holland and other places, too.

This is not about trying to assign blame. It’s about providing crucial information. I want to know why some MSM journalists are covering this side of the story and others are not.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.ethicsdaily.com Cliff Vaughn

    Thanks for this article. I saw it first at Poynter. Engaging and provoking. Are you suggesting that mainstream journalists don’t provide better coverage because they’re ignorant, or trying to be PC, or just what exactly? Again, thanks so much for this. Cliff

  • tmatt

    I was sincere when I said I do not know. I know that some journalists say they do not want to attack Islam. The problem is, WHICH ISLAM? They may need to attack some in Islam in order to defend others. Like I said, no one is in more danger right now than moderate Muslims.

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/ Bartholomew

    One key to look at the wider context, and there is a useful piece in WaPo about Marseille that deserves consideration:

    “…Residents complain of police harassment based on skin color, of joblessness and substandard schooling. But the prevailing sentiment is that people feel at home here and that’s why Marseille didn’t burn.”

  • http://www.anotherthink.com Charlie

    It does seem that a decision was made early on by the American MSM to frame these riots as about grievances with the police and a lack of economic opportunity. In the US, we almost always use these same filters to report similar stories: for instance, the New Orleans debacle was understandable because people were poor and the police failed to help.

    It’s a shorthand that American readers understand, so perhaps it’s just easier to go there than to try to explain the growing Islamification of Europe and how that fact is transforming European culture.

  • http://shushan37.blogspot.com/ Salar

    good links. Those articles said the local newspapers had missed.


  • http://getreligion Luna Ramphaga

    Good day.

    I am a new journalist in the religious beat and would like anyone to comment on the following. I am just curious that we read so much about natural disasters, but no journalist ever ventured to write about the prophecies that went out before this natural disasters hid planet earth. i am currently working on such a piece, but need input from more experience journalists, because i am also trying not to offend other religious. so can anyone come to my rescue by giving some comment on the issue of prophecies, christian perspective.