The media must refuse to promote material maligning a race, religion, ethnicity or nationality in the name of freedom of expression.

Recently, a local newspaper featured a political cartoon which used Islamic symbols to satirize an Imam condoning the London terror bombings. Another cartoonist depicted a Hispanic coming to America solely with the intention of benefiting from our welfare system.

Such humor does not always bring laughter. In both cases, the respective communities responded with strong indignation and protest. When the media paint a community with a broad brush, knowingly or unknowingly, for the evils of a few, the entire community then feels compelled to respond.

American media attract global attention when our leaders speak out on issues through our newspapers, magazines, on radio talk shows, through the Internet and on TV. And the world understands that it is not a very sensible expression of facts to call the IRA “Catholic terrorists” or the abortion clinic bomber a “Baptist terrorist.”

But, it should equally be common sense not to name suicide bombers, whether in London, Israel or in New York, Islamic terrorists — these terrorists do not and must not be allowed to represent 1.3 billion faithful. Furthermore, Islamic leadership should not have to issue religious edicts denouncing such acts when an average Muslim has nothing to do with it.

Should we ask the pope to apologize for the IRA or have local Catholic communities come forward with statements denouncing IRA bombings in London? Do we constantly harass American fundamentalist Christian leadership to be sorry for the acts of Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh and Eric Rudolph? (MORE)


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