Getting a handle on how mainstream Arab media are handling the NYC mosque issue

Once again Marc Lynch — aka Abu Aardvark — has a great piece. In his latest contribution — How Arabs view the anti-mosque movement — Lynch talks about getting away from the “clash of civilizations” meme. He also points out that many of the people on both sides of the issue have been cherry picking Arab columnists and news reports to bolster their arguments.

Most Arab columnists agree with the argument that the anti-mosque movement will badly harm Arab and Muslim views of the United State…but there isn’t as much active discussion of it in the forums as you’d expect. That isn’t a reason to relax, though. The impact is likely to be felt not so much on extremists, whose views about America are rather fixed, but on the vast middle ground, the Arab and Muslim mainstream which both the Bush and Obama administrations have recognized as crucial both for defeating al-Qaeda and for achieving broad American national interests

Many of the columnists and commentators see the anti-mosque movement as “just politics.”

A number of columnists argue that it is just Republicans cynically using the Islam issue to hurt Obama and help their re-election campaign. But even those columnists generally go on to worry that such forces, once unleashed, are hard to control. Fortunately, the courageous remarks of figures such as Michael Bloomberg have also received prominent coverage — something which gives moderate figures something to grasp onto when arguing against the extremists.

Lynch said even the extremist sites that he monitors rarely mentioned the anti-mosque movement as a primary force to recruit members. The planned Burn A Quran Day organized by that whack-job preacher from Florida got more mention on these sites, Lynch added.

So where is the U.S. mainstream media on this type of coverage?

It would be nice to see some stories about what the mainstream Arab press is saying. It would also be nice to see talks show hosts questions more deeply the comments made by their guests. (But I guess that would only interrupt the all ready agreed to narrative.)

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Filed under International News Coverage, Middle East

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