American Proscenium

The Real Issue With the Newsweek Koran Fib

The obvious moral of the Newsweek affair is that journalists, and leftist journalists (the common type) in particular, are habitual liars unworthy of respect.  To those of us interested in Balkan affairs, the whole Koran to-do elicits a wry smile.  Front-page stories from the 1990’s, including countless fact-free accounts of “Bosnian rape camps,” “Kosovo genocides,” and “Racak massacres,” were far more pernicious inventions, but they remain largely unchallenged to this day.  Newsweek’s fib caused a dozen or two overexcitable Muslims to die rioting against the Great Satan; those Balkan lies, by contrast, caused a country to be bombed and a Christian nation to be demonized.  Yes, Newsweek is a bad magazine; journalists are riff-raff—so what’s new?

Three generally overlooked points still need to be made, and I will present them in ascending order of importance.

The first point is technical: The Koran cannot be flushed down a regular toilet.  That much should have been obvious from the outset.  It is a book of at least 400 pages, and a bilingual Arabic-English edition—which is, presumably, the general-issue Koran used in the alleged proceedings—may have over 1,000 pages.  (If there isn’t a G.I. Koran, I’d recommend Marmaduke Pickthal’s excellent bilingual edition, which is some...

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