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An “Untold Story”

Mere hours into the horrific attacks in Mumbai, CNN/Newsweek bloviator Fareed Zakaria inaugurated the typical “root causes” debate by “explaining” away the terrorists’ motivation:

One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last ten years. There is still a lot of institutional discrimination, and many remain persecuted. There’s enough alienation out there that there are locals who can be drawn in to plots.

Of course, there’s a lot that stinks about Zakaria’s so-called “explanation.” As Abe noted, early reports indicate that some of the attackers were British citizens of Pakistani descent – i.e., not “persecuted” Indian Muslims. Moreover, a Chabad house was among the targets – i.e., an institution not frequented by “discriminating” Indian officials. In short, the empirics don’t point to “institutional discrimination” as a “root cause” of the Mumbai attacks.

Yet Zakaria’s instant analysis of the attacks is pernicious for a second reason: if “institutional discrimination” against Indian Muslims is truly an “untold story,” Zakaria deserves a good deal of the blame. After all, Zakaria is one of the most prominent foreign policy journalists in the world – he is the former editor of Foreign Affairs, the editor of Newsweek International, and host of CNN’s weekly Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is also, arguably, the most prominent Muslim of Indian descent in America, and his father was a prominent Indian Muslim politician.

So check out Zakaria’s archive: how many of his articles have addressed the plight of Indian Muslims? How often has he told the story of their apparent exclusion from India’s economic development? More specifically, where are Muslims’ ostracism mentioned in this Newsweek cover story that Zakaria wrote on India’s boom? At what point did Zakaria reference India’s Muslims during his CNN interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Pakistani politician Imran Khan, or fellow India-jet-setter Thomas Friedman, among others?

Indeed, if “institutional discrimination” against Indian Muslims is truly a “root cause” of the Mumbai attacks, we should ask Zakaria how he managed to neglect this “untold story” for so long. He is either a shamefully unobservant journalist or a blatant apologist for terrorists.


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