BEDIER: MEDIA DISTORT ISLAM
TAMPA - Ahmed Bedier called the horrific acts carried out by the Virginia Tech shooter terroristic.
Yet nothing in the mainstream media described them as such or said Seung-Hui Cho was a terrorist, he said.
Had the shooter been Muslim, Bedier said, news reports would have highlighted his faith.
"If he were Arab or Muslim, he would have definitely been called a terrorist," said Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "I don't remember the last time I saw 'a Christian terrorist,' 'a Christian thief' or 'Christian child molester'" in a news story.
During his speech Friday at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club luncheon, Bedier talked about stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam and used examples where beliefs about the religion have been taken out of context.
"The majority of people in this country are not Muslims," he said. "But almost always, when a Muslim commits an act, his faith is tied to it."
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Bedier said, he has been busy speaking to groups like Tiger Bay that want to know more about Islam.
"There's nothing in our faith that says it's okay to kill anyone," Bedier said.