By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A repulsive apology to hate-mongers in Maine

You absolutely cannot make this up: the Portland (Maine) Press Herald has published an apology for running a photo on Sept. 11 of Muslims praying. The photo, taken on Sept. 10, portrays Portland-area residents marking the end of Ramadan. Writes editor and publisher Richard Connor:

Many saw Saturday’s front-page story and photo regarding the local observance of the end of Ramadan as offensive, particularly on the day, September 11, when our nation and the world were paying tribute to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks nine years ago.

This should be as controversial as publishing a recipe for apple pie. Don’t take my word for it. See the photo and accompanying story for yourself. (The audio slideshow above is part of the Web version of the story.)

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more shameful and repulsive message from a publisher than Connor’s. As Henry Blodget writes at Business Insider, “it really sounds like [what] is going on here is that the Portland Press Herald is agreeing with some readers that Muslim Americans should not be considered Americans. And if that’s what the paper believes, it should probably just come out and say so.”

The fear and hatred being directed toward American Muslims these days is truly terrifying. The folks who’ve whipped up hysteria over the Islamic center that has been proposed for a site near Ground Zero have much to answer for, whether they did it for ratings or political gain.

My concern is that we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. And if a newspaper publisher won’t stand up and be counted, then we have reached a new low.

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  1. BP Myers

    More spineless perhaps is their not owning up to doing it on purpose, choosing to make some sort of political statement as opposed to, you know, covering the news. They deserve every bit of vitriol they get.

    I do appreciate reading Henry Blodget’s thoughts on it, and look forward to hearing what Stephen Glass has to say.

  2. Mike Stucka

    TIME picked up on the criticism.

    And then Farkers picked it up from there.

    Farkers also point out the comments on the actual story. One that seems to be among the majority:
    It is ridiculous to feel the need apologize for making a reasoned and sensible decision . The ONLY error was to believe that all of your readers are reasonable people. They are not. There are bigots and fools reading your paper. It is too bad you have decided that you must bow down to their ignorance.

    Mike, who is always surprised to find some Farkers have souls

  3. Christian Avard

    Well said Dan. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  4. Mike Benedict

    I can’t help but think what the reaction would be if the next Timothy McVeigh decides to blow up a building on Christmas.

  5. Bob Nelson

    On the ninth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on our country, when people of various faiths or no faith were
    reduced to dust due to religious extremists, they had a story about the end of Ramadan
    but no mention of NYC, Penn., and the Pentagon. A somber
    day for most Americans but if you’re liberal, then who cares.
    The people who are so “sensitive” apparently don’t give a crap over something like Islamofascist mass murder.

  6. Mike Benedict

    Bob, what you offer as rhetoric is just so much name-calling.

    The questions are, should the MSM be consumed with reminding readers of *random* past events, and if so, which ones, and how often?

    Consider: On every Good Friday — a much bigger event than 9/11, both in the US and worldwide — should a paper spend its column inches writing about how Pontius Pilate had Jesus (and others) put to death, and how those heretical mass-murderer Romans were to blame?

    Good lord.

  7. BP Myers

    @Bob Nelson says: they had a story about the end of Ramadan
    but no mention of NYC, Penn., and the Pentagon.

    Or Portland Maine, for that matter.

    Seems I recall Portland played a supporting role in the events of that day.

  8. Jack Sullivan

    So I’m hoping that on Dec. 7, I won’t see any media outlet with the bad taste or judgment to run a story about Japan or its people and I’ll be looking for apologies for those that have over the past 70 years.

  9. Brad Deltan

    Considering all the talk about repealing the 14th amendment, I imagine it won’t be long before we see talk about changing the First Amendment to exclude Islam from the Establishment & Free Exercise Clauses.

  10. John F.J. Sullivan

    Perhaps the entire religion of Islam should have moved the observance of Ramadan — just one or two days, mind you — in light of the sensitivity of 9/11. I mean, there are 365 days in a year. I’m certain Donald Trump could have made a deal, or the state of New York could have swapped some other desirable days — say Sept. 14 or 15 — that could have been used to mark the end of Ramadan.

  11. John F.J. Sullivan

    And while we’re on the subject, should we even allow 9/11 itself to be rendered in — Arabic numerals?

    From now on, I’m referring to the date as IX/XI. (But, then again, the Romans did execute Jesus … )

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