A senior journalist with the New York Times yesterday wrote an apology to Muslims worldwide about the misconception most Americans (including the media) harbor toward them since the Sept 11, 2001 extremist attacks.
Nicholas D Kristof, a columnist for The Times since 2001 and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes op-ed columns that appear twice a week, said moderate Muslims should also speak up and work alongside moderate Americans in correcting the unbalanced view about Islam (read his article here).
"... and as a moderate myself, I’m going to take it... I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you.
"The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs," he wrote.
His article is, perhaps one of the most encouraging effort by the American media to neutralise the adverse general public labeling of the religion, which links Islam to terrorism. I personally commend Kristof (whom I met when he studied Arabic in Cairo in the 80s).
"I apologize to Muslims for another reason. This isn’t about them, but about us. I want to defend Muslims from intolerance, but I also want to defend America against extremists engineering a spasm of religious hatred."
(I wonder whether Malaysian media and bloggers would also apologise for some of their 'inciting' news and postings, especially with regards to race and religion).