The New York Post has no Shame: The Ugly Truth About its “Muslim Killers” Cover

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by Jack Mirkinson

“MUSLIM KILLERS.”

Sometimes the mask slips, doesn’t it? Sometimes the subtext is made text. The morning after a husband and wife allegedly murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, the New York Post decided to plainly and unabashedly articulate the racist framework through which we view crime in America. It turned out that the husband and wife were named Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, so the Post said what so many bigots were surely thinking: The most important thing about these two was not that they had just massacred more than a dozen innocent people, but that they were Muslim. To lift from Martin Luther King, the color of their skin was more significant than the content of their character. It would be difficult to find a more blatant example of racism.

Imagine if the headline had said “JEWISH KILLERS.” Actually, you can’t imagine that, because the Post would never, for a second, think of writing a headline like that. You can’t smear Jews like that. Muslims, though? That’s a different story.

There are actually two versions of the Post’s front page that went out. An earlier edition, posted on the Newseum’s daily roundup of front pages, is quite different. “MURDER MISSION” is the headline. Then, the Post decided, with evident glee, to go all in on Islamophobia.

The Post is published in New York City, where anywhere between 600,000 and 1 million Muslims live. It seems safe to say that the Post didn’t think about what it meant for them to have such a headline plastered on newsstands and in bodegas across the city, or what it meant for the hundreds of thousands of Muslim children attending New York’s public schools to be tarred in such a way. The casualness with which the paper deploys this particular form of hatred is beyond contemptible—though not especially surprising, given that this is the same outlet which was forced to reach a settlement with the innocent Muslims it libeled as the men behind the Boston bombing.

It is to be hoped that this sickness will pass—that it will become as reprehensible to target Muslims in the way that we are targeting them as it is to target black people, or Jews, or any other group we have deemed acceptable members of society. But that will only happen if we demand that it happen. We have to get incredibly angry about what is going on. We have to make it a huge problem for the New York Posts of the world to peddle their hatred. We have to make it stop.

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