Sunday, November 30, 2008

Media Reporting on Muslim Violence in Jos

Update: I no longer believe the Muslim rioting against Christians was spontaneous. See here and here.

Original Post: There have been three Islamic attacks against those of other religions this week: in Mumbai India, in Jos Nigeria, and in Cairo Egypt. While the horrific attack in Mumbai appears to have been carefully planned, the rioting in Cairo and in Jos seem to be spontaneous outbreaks of religious/ethnic hatred by Muslims against Christians. For the reporting in Jos, I noticed that the news stories seemed to be shifting shape over time to obscure the Muslim instigation.

The early Reuters report of the rioting in Jos attributed the outbreak of violence to Hausa youths, but did not explain that the Hausa are Muslim until the final paragraphs of the story:
JOS, Nigeria, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Youths with machetes hacked to death a policeman and burned tyres in the central Nigerian town of Jos on Friday in protest over the outcome of a local government election, witnesses said.

Demonstrators from the Hausa ethnic group began protesting overnight after a rumour spread that their ANPP party candidate had lost the local government chairmanship race to the ruling PDP party.

As the death toll escalated, a later AP report began by attributing the violence to both sides:
JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Feuding Muslim and Christian mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday as the death toll rose to 35 in Nigeria's worst sectarian violence in years.

After a night of assault-rifle fire and explosions, 20 bodies with fresh wounds arrived at the city's main mosque for quick burial in keeping with Islamic precepts.
The article in today's New York Times began the report at the location of a mosque so that the story begins with the Muslims as the victims:
JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) — More than 200 bodies have been brought to the main mosque in Jos in central Nigeria after ethnic and religious clashes, and the final death toll is likely to be higher, the Red Cross said Saturday.

A senior Nigerian Red Cross official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that 218 bodies were lying in the main mosque here awaiting burial.

“There are many other bodies in the streets,” the official said. That death toll did not include hospital figures, victims already buried, or those taken to other places of worship, meaning the final count could be much higher, officials said.

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