Today the New York Times editorial board blamed Pamela Geller for her own attempted assassination, claiming that nothing can possibly justify offensive cartoons and harsh language toward Islam, not even ISIS.
Writing about the attack by two armed ISIS devotees in Garland, Texas on Sunday, the Times editorial board wrote, “she achieved her provocative goal in Garland — the event was attacked by two Muslims.” Her goal was to have people attempt to murder her? What the Times is really saying is that Geller was asking for it.
If the topic were rape, domestic violence, or even the intentionally provocative “slutwalks” that were popular a few years ago, no one at the Times would countenance this logic. Anyone suggesting slutwalk attendees had achieved their goal when a pair of men tried to rape them would, at best, be seen as intentionally obtuse.
The concept of slutwalking was premised on the idea that victims were being blamed for their own sexual abuse. Incredibly, the Times says there is nothing — not 9/11 and not even ISIS’ violence — that can justify Geller making her point.
Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event.
As it happens, that’s exactly what the would-be assassins thought.
We know that the attack on Charlie Hebdo resulted in 11 deaths and as many injuries. We know that al Qaeda murdered nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11 (none of whom were provocateurs). It’s probably impossible to know how many people ISIS has murdered, though it is certainly in the thousands. We’ve all seen the grisly beheadings and the immolation video. We also know that ISIS uses rape as a weapon of war and turns young girls into sex slaves. The same NY Times editorial board attacking Geller today called ISIS a “cult of sadism” last year. All of this led to a war in Afghanistan and ongoing drone attacks and airstrikes around the world. But to the would-be killers, and to the NY Times editorial board, even events which justify war do not justify cartoons critical of Islam.
The Times editorial board should be deeply ashamed of embracing the twisted logic of Geller’s would be killers. She was not asking to be murdered any more than women dressing provocatively to march in a “slutwalk” are asking to be raped. In fact, they are pointedly demanding the very opposite by saying the one can never justify the other. The NY Times doesn’t have to help convey that message it if it doesn’t want to do so, but it should stop blaming the people who are conveying it of provoking their own would-be assassins.