Maajid Nawaz sees a change in world leaders’ tweets about the Christchurch and Sri Lanka terrorist attacks

Maajid Nawaz put up a short clip from his radio show about the reactions of three world leaders—Theresa May, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton—to the two terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand (against Muslims in mosques) and the bombings in Sri Lanka (against Christians in churches). He quotes tweets from these three leaders and shows a disparity between their reactions to the attacks—a disparity that, I think, really does say something about political attitudes. Click on the screenshot below to hear Maajid (a Muslim).

Here are May’s tweets.

Nawaz finds a difference in May’s reaction to the latest attack, in which she doesn’t mention terrorism but does note “acts of violence”. (It’s now clear that it was a terrorist attack, as the explosions were caused by suicide bombers.)

Things get more disparate when we get to the Americans. Do you notice a difference between the first and second tweets of Obama, and a similar disparity between the first and second tweets of Hillary Clinton?

Here’s a similar pair from Hillary Clinton:

Maajid says this:

“I’ve just named three global leaders from a Liberal and a Conservative perspective after two respective terrorist attacks.

“One in New Zealand against my fellow Muslims and one in Sri Lanka against Christians who are at worship.

“As you can see from the tone, when it came to the New Zealand one, almost all of them mention that it was an attack against the Muslim community and it was a terrorist attack.

“Yet when it came to Sri Lanka, why say Easter worshipers?

“Why not come out straight away and say this is an attack against Christians?” [JAC: Note that Clinton and Obama also use “terrorists” to refer to the New Zealand attacks but not to the Sri Lanka attacks.

I’m not trying to be a “terrorist truther” here, but I think Maajid has a point, and he’s not the first one to notice it. Why call Muslims “Muslims” but Christians “Easter worshippers”? This is not a coincidence between Clinton and Obama; it’s a deliberate decision not to say “Christian”, for that would imply that the terrorists were Muslims, which they almost certainly were. As Foreign Policy noted, “Sri Lanka’s government says the attacks were carried out by National Thowheeth Jamaath, a little-known radical Islamist group.”

What we see here, in Nawaz’s view, and mine, is an attempt to avoid blaming Islamic terrorists for the crimes. I’m not quite sure why they transmute “Christians” into “Easter Worshipers”, but it may be to downplay the animus of Muslims against Christians.(Why say “Muslim” but not “Christian”?)

I’m nearly certain, though, that this is a careful use of language to cater to Muslims, and bespeaks of how the Islamic community, through threats and claims of offense, have managed to sanitize our discourse. Nawaz doesn’t say this, but of course it’s what he means.

But you be the judge.

Oh, and I just noticed that HuffPost just pulled the same dodge. Their headlines (both for the same piece). Only the article identifies the organization as one containing Islamist militants:

Such circumlocution! HuffPo won’t mention in the headline that the “international network” is one of radical Muslims.


  1. jpetts
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The BBC uses the same weasel words:

    “A wave of bombings that killed 290 people in Sri Lanka on Sunday was carried out with the support of an international network, officials said.

    The government has blamed a little-known local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamath, although no-one has yet admitted carrying out the bombings.”

  2. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Maajid has a point, and is largely correct, although I don’t particularly like the increasing “policing” of people’s reactions to various news items, tragedies, and terrorist attacks, on social media.

    It is something we see on the Left and the Right.

    However, I think there is something of a blindness of the persecution of certain groups around the world, on the basis that they don’t, perhaps, further the narrative.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The intent is not to police, but to call attention to political currents and how language is used. Read Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language,” an earlier discourse on euphemisms and obfuscation.

  3. yazikus
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve been seeing these comparisons pop up on FB from my super-religious friends. I disagree – I think ‘Easter Worshipers’ is like saying ‘Christians’ but with added weight due to the celebration of a Christian holy-day. No one is confused about whether ‘Easter Worshipers’ are Christians.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      No one is confused about whether ‘Easter Worshipers’ are Christians.


      • max blancke
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        But have you heard the phrase “Easter worshipers” used before, in any context?

        I have not, and I find the coordinated use of the phrase odd. At least eight prominent democrats used the phrase “Easter worshipers and tourists” in their responses to the attack.
        (If you include “tourists and Easter worshipers” used by the Obama and the governor of Colorado)

        It appears to me that the phrasing was carefully chosen to send the intended message. I guess what what the message is will be a topic of speculation. I speculate that those using the phrase are very concerned about Muslims as a voting block, to the point that they refuse to publicly acknowledge that Islamic terrorism even exists.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          But have you heard the phrase “Easter worshipers” used before, in any context?

          I have no idea. It doesn’t strike me as odd.

    • Leigh
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Had the attack been made on any a other day, the word Christian might have been the natural choice. Using Easter does call attention to day chosen for the attack: not just any Sunday mass, but the Sunday mass that celebrates the essence of the Christian story. Since churches tend to be filled to capacity on holy days, the attack maximized the number of deaths and injuries. Seems to me a very proper choice of words.

      I see no reason to fault anyone for this choice

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Everyone choosing up sides and talking the talk of their tribe. My understanding of the terrorism in Sri Lanka much of it was suicide bombers. Lets see, who else is into suicide bombing? They went after christian locals and tourist. The terrorism in NZ was white nationalist.

    • gormenghastly
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 1:57 am | Permalink

      The terrorist in NZ was not described as Christian, although he could have been, if we felt the necessity to see everything through a religious lens.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        He should have been so described, assuming the near-obvious probability.

  5. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Maajid is grasping at straws here. Getting a little too conspiracy-minded.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I beg to disagree. Both Obama and Clinton have a history of avoiding use of the M-word. And look at how the press avoids using it. This isn’t, in my view, grasping at straws. There are just too many people refusing to name a Muslim group as the perpetrator.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        They didn’t use the M-word, neither did they use the C-word when talking about the New Zealand attacks.

        And I don’t think it was confirmed that it was Muslims responsible for Sri Lanka when those statements were made. (Of course we pretty much knew is was Muslims, but that kind of accusation shouldn’t be made without confirmation.)

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          If you have some non Islamic suicide bomber groups, please name them.

          • Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            Well, in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers comes immediately to mind.

            • sanguinelee
              Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

              Immediately thought it might have been them or possibly some extremist Buddhist nationalists, although I didn’t give the latter possiblity to much weight.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

              Absolutely! I was guessing Tamil Tigers, actually.

              But at the time the tweets were made, I don’t think any group had claimed responsibility.


          • Mike Anderson
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            To what end?

          • abear
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            The Tamil Tigers used suicide bombings as early or even earlier than the Palestinians and Islamists.

            • EdwardM
              Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

              The Tigers were also defeated and disbanded more than ten years ago.

              Sri Lankan authorities are now saying it was a little known native Islamist group with undoubted but as yet unspecified ties to international Islamist terror groups.

        • Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Well, had the attacker identified chiefly as Christian, or cited Christianity as his motive, he might have been characterized as auch. As it were, the press and these leaders, cheifly HRC, wasted no time pointing out his white identity and also how “white extremism/terorirsm” now has a “global reach”.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Yes, the spread of white supremacists terrorism is a global problems.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      You confuse conspiracy with pointing out tribe language.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      He never suggested it was a conspiracy. Where did you get that from?

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      He never suggested it was a conspiracy. Where did you get that from?

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Double post. Sorry, no idea how that happened.

        • Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Now apologize twice!

      • Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Anyway, define “conspiracy”. What do you call more than half a dozen Democrat leaders using “Easter Worshippers” and none using “Christian”?

        Anyway, yeah, concerted or not, it bespeaks the Orwellian hold on thought and language over these woke progressives.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          I call it “speaking English”.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted April 24, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            English is not my mother tongue and I’m not a Christian. However, for many years I’ve lived in three Christian countries (one Catholic, one Protestant, and one Anglican)and I’ve never encountered anyone calling Christians “Easter worshippers”. But I’ve observed very pronounced reluctance to admit that Christians are persecuted in countries where a majority or substantial minority is Muslim. Recently I translated an article about persecution of Christians in Africa and an outraged reader (of the “woke” variety) condemned me and the author of the article for using the word “Christians” instead of people. He wrote about the horrible role Christianity played in history and about the possibility that non-persecuted Christian churches in the West could use it to present themeselves as victim and strengthen their own, now weakend position. That’s why the author should’ve never written about persecution of Christians. But, of course, people were killed so why not write about people or formulate it some way which doesn’t give amunition to Christian churches in the West. I suspect similar reasoning behind “Easter worshippers”.

            • GBJames
              Posted April 24, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

              This has already been exhausted, but one more time…

              “Easter worshiper” is more specific than “Christian”, and therefore appropriate. When an attack on a mosque happens during Ramadan, one would not be surprised to see “Ramadan worshipers”. At a synagogue during Passover… “Passover worshipers”. These all carry more meaning than “Christian/Muslim/Jew” because they provide context.

              This language kerfuffle is, to my mind, silly. There are real problems on the left w/r/t the motivations for violence within Islam. This simply isn’t evidence for it.

    • Forse in Hing Kong
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Obama specifically banned any language that linked terrorism and Islam.
      Conspiracy minded? Not.

  6. Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, I dunno. These were both horrific but different types of attacks. Trying to decide if Muslims are getting a free pass on the basis of perceived nuances in tweets issued immediately after the events is not helpful, IMHO.

  7. sanguinelee
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with you and the conservatives on this one. Hillary’s tweet seems especially more careful and subdued in tone, avoiding the labeling of victims as Christians. That being said, the attacks were not only against Christians and it’s hard to guess motivations.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Hard to guess motivations? They seem pretty clear to me, to the extent that motivations for religious terrorism are ever clear.

      • sanguinelee
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Of Hillary and ilk.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          Oh. I misunderstood you.

      • Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        It’s shocking that you had to point this out.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Hillary believes emphatically that “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        This is, in fact, true for the vast majority of Muslims.

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          And for the vast majority of members of any group that shares any characteristic with any terrorist. This is as relevant as stating that the sun is hot.

          • EdwardM
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            I think, given the tenor of public discourse these days it is a good thing to remember and you are welcome to deny it.

            But then that wouldn’t be relevant.

            • Davide Spinello
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

              Yes, every time there is a terrorist attack we must state that only a negligible minority of the group sharing a convenient set of characteristic with the attackers (even better if the characteristics are immutable by birth) is responsible, and if possible link the action to Trump and/or Doug Ford (both outrageously shitty politicians by the way.)

              I guess I am just tired of the amount of platitudes that must be ejected before one can talk about any “sensitive” topic.

        • max blancke
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Most people of any faith or demographic are at least peaceful.
          However, if you do see someone taking a selfie with a bunch of recently severed heads, you do not immediately assume that the person is a Rotarian.
          I actually spent some time in Sri Lanka during the tail end of the civil war there. It was a mess. But even so, when I heard the news of the attacks, My first thought was not the LTTE. Especially with the target selection.

          But the fact that the vast majority of Islamic people are good neighbors is not the issue. The issue is the small subset of that population that are actively pursuing the goal of killing infidels. The number of those practicing Islam is a very big number. So the percentage of those seeking jihad does not need to be large for it to become a global problem.

          • EdwardM
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Good. I’m glad you agree with me – Muslims are, except for a small minority, not our enemy. One of our many problems today, beyond the small number of Muslims who are our enemy, are the ones imposed by those who demonize Muslims and who think that Clinton’s comments are wrong.

            • max blancke
              Posted April 22, 2019 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

              I do not think it is that simple. I think we would be well advised to objectively study the issue.
              Companies that do global business, including the one I work for, necessarily do a lot of risk assessment for facilities and personnel overseas. Not just about the threat posed by terrorism, but other potential disruptions, like civil unrest caused by corruption or income inequality. Right now, except for a couple of places undergoing severe economic distress, the primary risk globally is radical Islam. Those violent Jihadis are a tiny percentage of the population of the countries they inhabit, but they could not sustain their movements without support from within the larger population. They also tend to receive financial, training, and logistical support from State sponsors of terror.

              Here is an anecdote: I came back from a trip to the Horn of Africa, and I was talking about it at the dinner table. That trip, I had been eating lunch, sitting next to a window that had been shattered by sniper fire. One thing I was careful to say to my kids was that Islam is not our enemy, we are not at war with them. My 10 year old replied “Someone should tell them that!”
              There is some wisdom to that remark. If .01% of the Islamic population take all the Jihad stuff literally, we still have a problem. And that problem is linked to Islam in some way. That does not mean that Mr. Hassan at the shops is in any way to blame.
              Nor does pretending there is no problem, which seems to be HRC’s approach. appear to work very well.

            • Forse
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

              Hillary’s comment quoted above IS wrong. In that she implies ALL Muslims are peaceful. Whereas the facts are that a not insubstantial minority, numbering somewhere in the tens of millions, are Islamist or jihadist. (Ref: various polls).
              She consistently downplayed the threat, most obviously and egregiously over Benghazi.
              Sam Harris made a case that her failure to speak plainly about the threat of radical Islam was one of the factors in her loss.
              She continues in her wilful blindness.

        • Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          And around a quarter of those peaceful, tolerant people support terrorist acts and wouldn’t report a terrorist in their midst.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      The attacks were on churches during Easter. Who do you think were the target?

      • sanguinelee
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Christians. Like everyone else. If an attack is obviously directed at Christians and one is moved by that fact, do you leave out the most salient feature of the attack? It happened during Easter so does it naturally come to you to mention they were Easter worshippers instead? Thinking about it, yeah, I think that might be true but would Ramadan have been the only thing mentioned in the opposite case, leaving out ‘Muslim’? Not so sure.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          Three of the attacks were against hotels. Thereby catching people who presumably weren’t Christian enough to be in church. And some locals who probably weren’t Christian.


          • GBJames
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Since when have religious terrorists been concerned about collateral victims?

            • gormenghastly
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 2:00 am | Permalink

              So hotels are christian temples now? Who knew?

              • GBJames
                Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

                Come on, GG. Have you already forgotten the Mumbai attacks?

                In the eyes of Islamist terrorists, the world breaks into Ummah vs. non-believers. And you don’t have to be non-Muslim to be a non-believer, as countless attacks on Shia shrines by Sunni Islamists attest.

                So yes, hotels are very much legitimate targets to them.

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s not hard to guess motivations. These folks get off on being and sounding “woke”. It appeals to their burgeoning progressive constituency. No matter that it also drives folks in the middle towards the right.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Excellent observations

  9. Curtis
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I actually think the term “Easter Worshipers” is used to emphasize the atrocity not diminish it. Not only are they Christians but they are peacefully celebrating their faith on their holy day. Similar words were used during the Passover Massacre in 2002. Highlighting that the attacks take place in a church/mosque/synagogue during a particularly holy service is used to show the barbarity of the attacks. That they are Christian, Muslim or Jewish is clear.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, had the NZ attack happened during Ramadan it would most certainly have been emphasized.

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        The 2017 car attack in London was described as against “Ramadan worshippers”.

        I just looked.

        It’s still pretty weird, though, that every Dem politician and assorted SJW online is using the same phrase, while avoiding any use of the words “christian” or “Islamist”.

        • Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, it is because there is this Islamophobia thing. (Which, DGMW, is a real thing.) We don’t recognize Christianophobia.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I think one must strain a bit to find the distinction in Obama’s tweets. It’s there, sure, but it’s pretty subtle. In May’s and Clinton’s tweets it’s somewhat more pronounced, but still rather subtle.

    All of them are as nothing, of course, compared to the disparity one would encounter under the reverse circumstance from the current occupant of the Oval Office, where even the rumor of Islamist terrorist is enough to send him into paroxysms of fear-mongering (and Muslim-ban justification), whereas any violence against Muslims passes with little more notice than, say, the bone-sawing of a dissident Saudi Arabian journalist.

    Far be it from me to justify the disparity in the tweets of May, Obama, and Clinton, since I think it’s misplaced. But I do think I understand its roots: Both the US and the UK have Muslim-minority populations. Those populations have been sometimes subjected to backlash from the non-Muslim majority in the wake of Islamist terrorist attacks. Take the immediate aftermath of the 911 terrorist attacks, for example, which some falsely accused US Muslims of celebrating, and after which many Muslims — or anyone who to the occluded eye even vaguely looked to be Muslim, such as Sikhs — were ostracized, accosted, and in some instances physically attacked.

    There’s little danger that Christians in the US or UK will suffer similar reprisals following a terrorist attack perpetrated by a Christian, since they constitute the majority.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I agree with all you say. We don’t yet know for sure what the motivation of the Sri Lankan murderers were (even if we can guess). May, Obama, etc, are obliged to say something. What they can’t say, yet, is that it was Islamists who did it.

      And it would be grotesque to say that the Christchurch atrocity was an act by “Christians”.

      So language and nuance are important. World leaders need to watch what they say. I have some sympathy with most of them.

      • sanguinelee
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        I agree but I would like to propose that this mindfulness demands that the liberals consciously highlight the obvious target of most of these attacks, which were Christians, for strategic purposes of bipartisanship, which can be done in this particular case without sacrificing their outsized and legitimate care for their own oppressed group.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I never understood this spouting from the May-bot :

    We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.

    Isn’t the whole point of “faith” to instil fear of eternal damnation etc into the “faithful”? So “practising faith without fear” is as meaningless as talking about evidence relating to the existence of a deity.

  12. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I would not really have noticed the difference, were it not for Maajid. I do think he has a point though. When Muslims are the victims it is spelled out, when they are the perpetrators, not so much.
    Slightly off topic, most Shingalese are Buddhist, most of the Muslims (10%) and Christians (7%) in Sri Lanka are Tamils.
    There is a precarious peace now, after the Sri Lankan army crushed he Tamil Tigers (which entailed a huge amount of abuses if not plain Crimes against Humanity).
    There was a promise these abuses (and worse) would be prosecuted, but little came from that.
    Still, I cannot fathom what the motives of these Islamic terrorists were. If I read it correctly it was Muslim Tamil attack against Christian Tamils. What were they trying to achieve?

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      The Tamils are Hindu with a Christian minority.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      They have the same motivations as ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Abu Sayyaf, Al Queda, Boko Haraam, and all the other present and historical franchises of strict Islam.

      They desire to slay the unbelievers wherever they can find them.

  13. Jon Gallant
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    The Sri Lankan attacks got wide press attention, properly, because they involved mass murder of worshipers. There is far less press reporting on vandalism of churches in France and Germany, which seems to have increased markedly, at least according to the Gatestone Institute:

    In rare cases where perpetrators of church vandalism have been caught, the authorities and the press typically describe them as mentally ill, without a word about their religious/ideological tendencies or background. But one could speculate that few of them will turn out to be Buddhists or animists, or immigrants from Greenland.

  14. Steve Gerrard
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    My more jaded take is that the goal of these tweets is to be on record as having “said something,” to avoid the cardinal sin of “saying nothing.”

    It is more or less understood that these will be anodyne tweets, “little noted nor long remembered.” They are expected; they are duly noted; they then fade away as unremarkable.

    The main criteria seems to be to draw as little attention as possible. Thoughts; prayers; stand together. Done.

    • Robert
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I am also jaded. These tweets from government officials will soon be computer generated, if they aren’t already. Lincoln’s observation is spot on.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you about this.

      What I find repugnant is that some people are *obliged* to tweet and the tw*ttering classes will notice if they don’t. And then what they say will be carefully analysed for tone and political correctness.

      Why the hell should anybody be obliged to comment when it can only be a repetition of what ten million other twatters are already saying?

      P.S. I haven’t commented on the bombings yet. They’re a Bad Thing. Omission rectified, okay?

  15. Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Also worth noting is that no one even bothers about what FMOTUS did or didn’t say about this. He is automatically excluded from any discussion about what sensible people do.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


      (Not sure what FMOTUS stands for but I can guess who it is 😉


      • Posted April 23, 2019 at 3:23 am | Permalink

        Sorry for being cryptic — the M is for moron!

  16. Malgorzata
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    There are many more examples of difference in reactions to these two atrocities.

    Here is what Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Right Watch, wrote after Vhristchurch massacre:

    Kenneth Roth‏ @KenRoth
    The horrible New Zealand attack “was inspired by the populist politicians and their cheerleaders who claim the west is under threat from Islam.”
    09:53 – 18 mar 2019

    Kenneth Roth‏ @KenRoth
    Let us hope that the horrific New Zealand massacre finally convinces certain leaders to stop giving a wink and a nod to white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Islamophobia.
    07:48 – 16 mar 2019

    And here is what he wrote today:

    Kenneth Roth
    Whatever the ostensible aim of these coordinated Easter attacks, there is no justification ever for such targeting of ordinary people. It could have been any of us.
    5:34 AM – Apr 22, 2019

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      What can one say but Yes?!

  17. eric
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m not quite sure why they transmute “Christians” into “Easter Worshipers”, but it may be to downplay the animus of Muslims against Christians.

    To compound the problem, some of the victims weren’t worshipping at all, and may not even have been Christian! AIUI three of the attack sites were hotels frequented by tourists, not churches.

    My guess is that the bad guys conflate Christianity with ‘westerners’ in general, so they kind of see the targets (hotels, churches) as representing the same enemy. Whatever the reasoning for the conflation, it’s important because if we’re trying to predict and stop their next move, it would be a mistake to limit our surveillance or protection to churches.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The latest number I was briefed on is that 80% of terrorist attacks in the West take place in areas where tourists are likely to be concentrated.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      So it *could* have been Muslims, Tamil Tigers, Hindus, extreme nationalists of any sort. Even now (apparently) no-one’s claimed responsibility, it’s just the Sri Lankan government who has assigned blame. They could be right. But I certainly don’t blame any of the prominent Tweeters named for not jumping the gun.


      • sanguinelee
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        It’s a good point that we don’t know for sure yet. The notices that went out regarding Islamists is a good hint but no conclusive link has been made, that we know of, and given the staggering failure of the government to follow up on these leads and the current shuffle to divert blame amongst the politicians gives me little confidence in anything they say.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    It WASN’T just Christians.

    “More blasts ripped through three luxury hotels in the capital city of Colombo: the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.
    The Shangri-La in Colombo said the hotel’s Table One cafe was attacked just after 9 a.m local time. The hotel is popular with foreign tourists and the country’s business community.”

    A lot of those tourists would have been from Europe and hence mostly not Christians anyway. And many locals, who would have been mostly Buddhist apparently.

    But hey, locals don’t count, they’re just collateral damage.


  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    In fact Naawaz is just as guilty of distortion or omission as the people he criticises. Don’t the people killed in hotels deserve any recognition? May, Obama and Clinton recognised them in their tweets, Naawaz ignores that.

    And any locals, tough luck, nobody cares about them. Apparently.


  20. Caldwell
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    three world leaders—Theresa May, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton

    Which world are Obama and Clinton leading?

    Perhaps a standardized platitude generator is in order so nobody ever feels left out.

  21. simonchicago
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    At first, it was not clear what group was responsible. Both Christians and Muslims are relatively small minorities, and Sri Lanka has a bloody history of Tamil terrorism and Sinhalese extralegal killings.
    I believe the Sri Lankan government turned off social media not because they wanted to avoid it being used by the terrorists, but because they wanted to avoid creating fake news produced to inflame local ethnic hatred.

    So it was not at all a given that these were Muslim terrorists. Remember that the first reaction to the Oklahoma bombings was that it must have been the Muslims.

    Finally, the statement “worshippers at Easter ceremonies” would have been the most accurate. While the great majority of the people at the churches were Christian, it is not clear that all of them were. For example, my friends plan to go to an Eastern Orthodox Easter service, and they are Indian…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      If it was Islamic, it would be a new development. :
      “Sri Lanka does not have much history of Islamist terrorism. The country is predominantly Buddhist, with significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities.
      From 1983 to 2009, separatists from the Tamil ethnic group, which is mostly Hindu, fought a civil war against the government, dominated by the Sinhalese ethnic majority, most of whom are Buddhist.”


  22. dd
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    There is little question that the reason the West reacted as it did to Christchurh 59 Muslims murdered was the identity of the shooter.

    I remember that the NYTimes section was filled with thousands of comments decrying whiteness and white nationalism, etc etc.

    So, I checked to see how “excited” the Times commentariat is about this far, far greater crime in Sri Lanka and see this as of 8:30 Mountain Time:

    Comments 239
    (for an 8hr old article:
    H.A. Hyde commented 8 hours ago)

    • max blancke
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Terrorist attacks in NZ are very unusual.
      Attacks on mosques by non-Muslims are also unusual.
      Islamic attacks on Churches or predominantly Christian communities are a common occurrence.

      On 4/20/19, 13 Christians were killed and over 100 abducted in Tchakarmari, Cameroon, which was also the site of a church attack in 2015.

      On 4/14/19, 17 people were killed at a christening in Numa, Nigeria.

      On 1/27/19, 20 people were killed during church services in Jolo, PI.

      On 4/09/17, 29 Christians were killed in Tanta, Egypt during a Palm Sunday service.

      I am going to stop at four. If I were to try to list even attacks specifically on Christians, in which more than 10 were killed, in the last five years, it would be a fairly long list.

      And even though Sri Lanka is a lovely place, and has been fairly peaceful for the last decade, it has an association with terrorism.

  23. dvandivere
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    It’s pretty clear to me that the only people worshipping Easter would be Christians. I’m pretty sure my rabbi buddy doesn’t hide baskets for his kids (although he’s pretty cool about other denominations, so I wouldn’t put it past him).

    Makes a lot more sense to me that people are referring to Easter to I tensity the fact that it was a religiously motivated attack. Comparing it to Christchurch is not really relevant, since that attack didn’t happen on one of the most important Muslim holidays. An obvious experiment would be to Google, say ‘Eid worshippers attack.’ Guess what that turns up?

    It’s not that difficult to test your assumptions.

    • simonchicago
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      This is what comes up

      suicide bomber
      kills Eid
      worshippers at
      mosque, police …
      Guardian News
      The Guardian – Oct 26, 2012

      Exact parallel.

  24. Nate
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Could it be that ‘Christian’ is the default for such folk? That is, why mention the obvious?

  25. max blancke
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Also, both Clinton and Obama misspelled “worshipers” the same way.
    Do they share a writer?

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Both “worshipper” and “worshiper” are correct.

      • max blancke
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the correction. I see in the OED that “worshiper” is an alternative American spelling.

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