Religion in the headline…

May 1, 2009

Muslims get long sentences for U.S. Army base plot

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Two Muslim men convicted of plotting to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base received long prison sentences on Wednesday for a plan prosecutors said was inspired by holy war against the United States.

Why would you title an article “Muslims get long sentences for U.S Army base plot”? Do you title other articles by using the religious affiliations of parties involved in other crimes? “Jewish person commits $80 billion fraud.”  “Christian army soldier in Iraq on trail for rape and murder.”

I think for a respected news source like Reuters to use Islamaphobic tactics is pretty despicable.


Several readers wrote us to say the religion of the men had no reason to be identified in this headline: GBU Editor

Faten Shnewer, the mother of defendant Mohamad Shnewer, makes remarks after her son was convicted with four others of conspiracy to kill U.S. soldiers in a planned attack on an Army base, after the trial at the federal courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, December 22, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

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The story centered around a planned “holy war” against US interests. Holy wars, or jihad, are encouraged primarily by Islamists. That makes the “Muslem” distinction relevant in the headline.

Once Islamists quit their uncivil behavior and join the human race perhaps the label won’t be quite so necessary for the protection of the rest of us.

Posted by Geoffrey | Report as abusive

then use the term islamists, or jihadists, or terrorists as is often used in many other headlines. perhaps if “americans” kept out of the “muslim” regions, maybe this would not be a problem. we took the war to their land and now they are bringing it to ours. its funny how everyone else needs to change to fit the american perspective, once we realize that other people’s problems and wars are not our business, then perhaps this won’t be an issue. let’s not forget the american history of plundering, pilaging, terrorizing, that occured here in america, in latin and south america, africa and now the middle east. I have a right to say this,as a tax paying american, i’m tried of seeing my country start problems in other parts of the world.

Posted by james | Report as abusive

I don’t have a problem with the men being convicted for what they were planning to do,infact, i’d prefer they get locked up in guantanamo permanently.why not identify the men by their nationality, race, age or various other form of demographic classifications. you see your use of the headline served its purpose, as evident in the comment made by Geoffrey, all the terrorist, islamists, jihadits, are now painted with one brush “muslim”. when you feed these type of stories and headlines, to uneducated and narrow minded people like Geoffrey it helps feed the islamophobia that runs deep in the western media. I live in the U.S so i see this on an everyday basis.I’m sure if you ask your correspondents in places like the middle east, africa, and even in latin america, they will tell you why america and the west is reffered to as the “great satan” and the deep resentment against the me being an american, i don’t like that, but then when i see headlines like yours, it basically justifies their reasoning of using the language they use.

Posted by Syed | Report as abusive

I agree it’s poor journalism with an obvious bias against muslims.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive

Considering the fact that holy war is of islamic origin and that non-muslims are not part of it I think the headline is accurate.

Posted by John Abramyan | Report as abusive