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Jihad in Jersey City

I want you to try to imagine how the major media might cover the following story.

A Muslim family of four, known for boldly proselytizing the Islamic faith in the shadow of where the World Trade Center stood before Sept. 11, 2001, is bound, gagged and murdered execution-style, throats slit, jewelry left behind.

I don't know about you, but I can almost envision the Page 1 New York Times coverage of this apparent "hate crime." I can almost hear the hand-wringing pundits fretting about this undeserved, unwarranted backlash against innocent Muslims. I am almost certain a week after such an attack there would be calls for new sensitivity in the way Muslims are portrayed in newscasts and entertainment programming. You can be certain the self-appointed Muslim-American and Arab-American spokesmen would be getting maximum face time brining international attention to America's intolerance toward Islam.

Tragically, an attack like this actually took place last week in Jersey City, N.J. -- though it wasn't a Muslim family, it was a family of Egyptian Coptic Christians who fled persecution in their homeland for the safety and security and freedom of the USA.

Yet, the media's focus hasn't been the horror of this kind of centuries-old anti-Christian persecution apparently coming to America. Instead, there has been a concerted effort, it seems, to downplay this gruesome slaughter as some kind of anomaly, to search desperately for motives other than religious hatred -- in effect, to ignore the kind of oppression that Christians and Jews in the Middle East have been experiencing since Islam became dominant in that part of the world more than 1,300 years ago.

I don't like it.

As an Arab-American, Christian journalist, it reminds me of the way law enforcement officials and the news media discarded any evidence that the Washington-area "Beltway snipers" had an Islamic terrorist motive. This mindset almost certainly resulted in more deaths as vital information -- the kind of descriptions that ultimately led to the capture of John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo -- was withheld from the public to avoid "hysteria," "panic" and, worst of all, "racial or ethnic profiling."

Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their two daughters, Sylvia, 18, and Monica, 15, were found stabbed dead in their home earlier this month. Their friends and many members of their Coptic Orthodox Christian community are all but certain they know why.

"The Armanious family members are modern-day martyrs in Islamic fundamentalists' war on Christianity," explained Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association

The Armaniouses loved to witness their faith -- especially to their Muslim acquaintances. They never missed an opportunity to do so -- whether it was in an Internet chat room or in their home.

Since there were no signs of forced entry into the Armanious home, some suspect the murderers were let in -- just like dozens of other "inquisitive" Muslims before them -- pretending to be curious about Christianity and possibly conversion.

Since the Armaniouses were not wealthy people, and the fact that jewelry was left behind by the perpetrators makes robbery an unlikely motive.

Since the jihad has already come home to America in real terms with the destruction of the World Trade Center building and the murder of 3,000 people just a few miles from the Armanious home, why is there such seeming resistance to making the logical assumption about this crime?

Rush to judgment? No.

But good detective work requires that we don't allow political correctness to lead an investigation. And so should good media work.

Joseph Farah

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