Yesterday, US forces raided a compound in Northern Syria where ISIS Chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was hiding, leading to the world’s biggest terrorist killing himself. Considering the horrific nature of the crimes committed by the Islamic State, you would expect all members of the civilized world to be uniformly delighted by his end. Let’s hope he suffered.
But Western liberals beg to differ. The Washington Post carried an obituary of him with a frighteningly sympathetic headline, referring to him as an “austere religious scholar.”
The Washington Post later changed its headline in obituary of Baghdadi after outrage broke all around. But the thing is that this is not an isolated incident. It fits into an increasingly common pattern. Remember how the New York Times wrote about the 9/11 attacks being a case of “planes taking aim” at the World Trade Center?
Remember that ISIS carried out numerous attacks on US forces and civilians. They brutally beheaded American civilians and put the videos on the internet. And that some 3000 Americans lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
As such, this changed attitude from New York Times or Washington Post reveals something truly frightening about modern liberalism. In at least two ways.
For years, we Indians have chafed at the way “anti-India” bias of such international media outlets. Most recently, their one sided coverage of Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 left many Indians fuming.
But what explains their bias? One popular theory is that liberals in Europe and America simply don’t care enough about what happens to Hindus in India. Perhaps they just don’t know enough? This holds out the hope that if only they were more sensitized or more informed, they would be more fair.
But the stance of Washington Post towards ISIS blows this theory to bits. They may not know enough about Kashmir, but surely they know enough about what ISIS has done to Americans. The New York Times is based in New York : they know all about the pain of 9/11. So this urge to whitewash the crimes of Islamism is coming from a place deeper than ignorance.
Another popular theory to explain the softness of liberals towards Islamism is to follow the money. The finger of suspicion is often pointed towards the Saudis and their myriad investments (both direct and indirect) in all sorts of companies all over the world. Perhaps there are economic compulsions that make big media go soft on Islamism?
That explanation doesn’t wash in this case. The Saudi royal family absolutely despises ISIS. They see ISIS as the biggest threat to their own rule.
What explanation does that leave? If not due to ignorance, if not due to money, why is the modern liberal whitewashing Islamic terror? Could it be out of genuine support for extreme Islamism?
A truly frightening possibility.
If this is true, it radically changes how we have to interact with the global left. No amount of information or lobbying will suffice. You can’t change the minds of people who might sympathize with ISIS, can you?
If this is true, it leaves us with no option but to view the international left as an active security threat.
It’s more than just hypocrisy. They become active security threats who sympathize with terrorists. Calling them hypocrites or ignorant or foolish no longer makes sense. Their intent goes far beyond the scope of such words.
Where does that leave us? It is hard to say. How do we deal with a global media that is actively supporting terrorists? And they are not even in it for the money.