[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
It doesn’t show you what Jones as saying or doing, though.
So yesterday Terry Jones held his protest, but at City Hall. And well… let’s read how the New York Times covers it:
Michigan: Koran-Burning Pastor Draws a Boisterous Crowd
Tensions flared Friday as Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of a Koran sparked violence in Afghanistan, demonstrated Friday on the steps of City Hall in Dearborn, home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the nation. In rambling remarks over three hours, he mostly spoke against what he called “extremist Muslim influences” in the United States. Dearborn police made three arrests for misdemeanors. The department estimated the crowd at 700 people. Mr. Jones’s comments were often drowned out by the horns of passing cars and the boos and chants of protesters, some of whom carried signs saying, “Terrorist Go Home” and “Leave Us Alone.”
You got that? They were boisterous. And only three arrested. Move along, nothing to see here…
Except it wasn’t really that. It was a riot of about fifty people. Of course the local papers, such as the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press couldn’t very well ignore it. So in their news pages they editorialize that all of this is his fault.
So this is how the Detroit News covers it:
Florida pastor’s rally ends after brief fracas
Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones had his say in Dearborn. Few appeared to hear him.
Thunderous boos from a crowd of about 700 protesters drowned out much of his speech Friday afternoon at Dearborn City Hall. The 90-minute event momentarily erupted into chaos when Jones and several dozen of his supporters approached a metal barricade around City Hall and engaged his opponents.
A crowd of at least 50 people surged across Michigan Avenue, breaking a barricade, throwing water bottles and shoes. Riot police restored order within minutes and took at least two people into custody.
Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. said Jones is partly to blame. “Even though we said, ‘Please don’t go to the barricades,’ he just ignored it,” O’Reilly said. “My assessment is this is a man without character.”
Funny, I feel the same way about you, Mayor.
Jones said he approached the barricade to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with opponents, but witnesses said the pastor appeared to egg them on, opening his palms in a provocative manner.
Opening palms is provocative? Opening palms is a peaceful gesture. This is what this site says on the subject of hands and body language:
There are 2 basic rules you have to remember when looking at hand gestures: Open palms (when you can see the palms of someone’s hands) suggests openness, honesty, and a liking, whilst closed palms(when you can see the back of someone’s hands) suggests that they may be hiding something, are closed to your ideas, or are feeling like they are in authority.
And it’s something I have heard over and over again. It is believed that by opening your palm, the cave man parts of our brains recognize that this means you are disarmed and that creates greater ease. It is downright bizarre to tell us that opening your palms is an aggressive gesture.
And of course Mayor O’Reilly continues to be a tool:
“This is not man of great depth,” O’Reilly said. “We saw the extent of his knowledge today. If he comes back and gets coverage by the media, then shame on the media.”
Hey, Mayor O, maybe the media won’t cover it if (1) city hall stops trampling on his speech rights, (2) everyone stops pretending he is responsible when radical Muslims react violently and (3) when radical Muslims stop reacting violently. Seriously, what do you think would have happened to him if the police weren’t there?
And here’s the Detroit Free Press’ coverage of it.
Tempers flare at Pastor Terry Jones’ Dearborn rally
Don’t you love these headlines? “Tempers flare”? “Fracas”? They never mention who precisely was being violent, and they don’t correctly label the violence. Shouldn’t the headline be more like this:“Radical Muslims Riot at Terry Jones Protest”? I mean feel free to argue that should be tweaked a little, but isn’t that closer to the mark?
And here’s what they say about it:
Jones repeatedly provoked the crowd and insulted them. At one point, he ignored police requests by ambling down to the front of police barricades while taunting his opponents.
Angered, some of those protesters stormed past their police barricades and marched across Michigan Avenue as they hurled bottles and shoes at Jones’ supporters across from them. One woman spit in Jones’ direction.
Notice, of course the contrast. When a Tea Partier was falsely accused of spitting at a black congressman, this was taken as proof that the entire Tea Party were bigots. But when these people spit and riot, it’s Jones that is tarred.
The young crowd then pushed down a security fence that separated them from Jones’ supporters and surged forward, their faces tight with anger. For a moment, it appeared a major clash was about to break out.
But Arab-American leaders and police pushed back the angry group as dozens of police officers in full riot gear marched out in single file to separate the two sides. At least two were arrested. Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said afterward that Jones was responsible for creating the disturbance by ignoring city requests not to approach the barricade.
“He refused to comply,” O’Reilly said. “He was asked, ‘Please don’t come to the barricade.’ He just ignored us. … His goal was to start trouble. … That shows his character.”
Yeah, just like those evil black people who sat at lunch counters to protest segregation. Didn’t they know that by just sitting where they were not supposed to they were provoking violence?
And of course I am being facetious. Yes, those civil rights protesters did know. It was a sign of their courage that they knew and they went anyway. And yes, they did intend to provoke violence, to show the world that just sitting at a lunch counter could get those hateful, ignorant idiots to attack them. Yes, it was provocative, but only because the segregationists were easily provoked—unreasonably easily provoked. And we all understand that in that context. And none of us blame those civil rights protesters for the violence that did break out in those sorts of things.
But why don’t we apply those principles to acts like this?
Oh, right because they don’t like his point of view. And I will be first to admit that if this is true…
Jones launched an attack on Obama, questioning the president’s speech in Cairo, Egypt, in which he said Islam was part of the American story.
“Islam has never been part of the American story,” Jones said.
…that Jones is a bigot. I am reluctant to believe it because the media has been so shameful during this entire episode, but if he said it, that is a bigoted thing to say. But the fact remains that they are just words. And it doesn’t justify a riot. And it certainly doesn’t exactly prove him wrong when he says that Islam is a violent religion. Indeed, seriously, someone with moderate PR skills really needs to talk to these protesters…
The crowd grew as they spoke, with more Muslims appearing as the rally took place. Some waved shoes, an Arab symbol of disrespect. Others held up Qurans. American, Palestinian and Lebanese flags also were waved. More than 600 counter-protesters appeared to assemble.
Um, guys, if you want Americans to get on your side, don’t protest a man claiming that you are not part of the American story by waiving flags for Palestine and Lebanon. Consider that a free tip.
And of course they remind us of the injustice last week:
Jones’ rally at City Hall came a week after he failed to get permission to protest at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, the largest mosque in metro Detroit.
On April 22, a jury said Jones was likely to breach the peace if he carried out a rally there. Jones and Sapp were briefly jailed and then released after posting a $1 bond each. They were banned from the mosque and adjacent property for three years.
Well in fact, Jones did not once breach the peace. The protesters did. So they will be lifting that order any minute now, right? No, of course not. And it is a travesty that it remains in place.
All this city has done is make this man, who apparently is an anti-Muslim bigot, into a free speech martyr and put a state endorsement on the idea that Muslims can’t be expected to control themselves. Would it be too much to ask the media to treat these guys as badly as Tea Partiers, or conversely, to treat Tea Partiers as good as rioting radical Muslims?
Hat Tip: The American Thinker, who has more (American!) thoughts.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]