Bastille Day

Massacre in France: RNS promises debate on Islam and terrorism, but doesn't deliver

Massacre in France: RNS promises debate on Islam and terrorism, but doesn't deliver

"Bastille Day attack reignites terrorism and religion debate," trumpets a headline at Religion News Service. Big over-promise there. The article has less debating than intoning -- with one leader after another denouncing terrorism in the name of Islam.

Details are still emerging about the murderous drive of a 19-ton truck that killed at least 84 and injured 202 in Nice, France. Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the driver, left no note or video, as do many suicidal terrorists. 

Still, supporters of ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State have been “celebrating the massacre,” as the Washington Post reports. It notes also that five years ago, Al-Qaida's online magazine recommended using vehicles to “mow down” victims.

The possibility that Bouhlel was a jihadi prompted a range of religious leaders -- from Pope Francis to Shawqi Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt -- to condemn the attack. Here's a sample from the RNS piece:

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Terror with Tunisian DNA: Wait, how does Brexit figure into this hellish equation?

Terror with Tunisian DNA: Wait, how does Brexit figure into this hellish equation?

While watching various news channels last night as details of the horrors in Nice, France, emerged, I heard a commentator make an interesting statement. I think this was on CNN, but I am not sure, because -- as is often the case on live television -- I have not been able to find a reference online to confirm this.

So let's just talk about the world of TV commentary, in general. I heard the same formula several times on different channels.

While talking about the impact of the truck attack on Europe and the future, someone offered this equation: First there was Brexit and now this. It's hard to know where things are headed.

I don't think this was a statement of moral equivalency. I think the point was that Brexit was an attack on Europe and now there is other new attack, etc., etc.

No one ever stated the question the other way around: Might Brexit have been, in part, a reaction to the rising surge of terror in an increasingly tense and divided Europe? Continue with that logic and you end up with another question: Is the post-9/11 United States -- which often follows Europe, on a slow delay -- a few terrorist attacks away from a more blunt, dare I say "populist" discussion of terror and political, cultural and, yes, religious issues linked to it?

I am not, by the way, talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about the mainstream press.

Let's look at the top of two newspaper reporters about the truck attack in Nice. Which is from an elite American source and which is from a populist source on the other side of the Atlantic?

First there is this:

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