Washington Post presented us with a classic ‘Republicans pounce’ headline: “Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West”. No ‘Muslims kill 359’, no ‘What are we to do about Islamic terrorism’. Clearly, the problem with Islamic terrorism is not Islam or terrorism, it’s that people whose politics WaPo doesn’t like are angry about it. A great way of shifting blame and focus from the actual culprit to a scapegoat who has done no wrong, but fits the agenda better.
A variation on that theme came from Dutch state news broadcaster NOS, which ran the headline: “Muslim group blamed for attacks”. Only after an onslaught of criticism, this was changed to “Muslim group behind attacks”.
And of course, the instantly infamous “Easter worshippers” made their appearance:
But there is more to Barack Obama’s message than just the “Easter worshippers”. Anything to prevent Christians being perceived as victims:
Dutch mainstream media spent a lot of time speculating about the attacks
possibly being Buddhist terrorism, refused to name the suspects even after their names had already be released, and predictably noted ‘an international rise in Islamophobia’ to indicate that Sri Lankan Muslims were at risk.
No speculating over possible Muslim involvement in the Sri Lanka attacks, no manhunt for possible ‘accomplices’, nothing similar to how critics of Islam were blamed for the Christchurch attack.
This is not new or unique. The same thing happened when mainstream media blamed President Trump for what happened in Charlottesville, but not Muhammed for what happened in Barcelona around the same time:
After the Christchurch attacks, security for mosques around the world was increased. Not so much for churches after the Sri Lanka attacks.