Monday, December 9, 2013
First of all, I want to thank you for the manner in which you have brought about such a marked improvement in both The Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram.
While I do not always agree with your editorial positions, the two newspapers show a wonderful improvement both in content and layout. I particularly appreciate your bringing back an international focus.
I do not know which is greater, my positive response to your front page story and photograph on Saturday as the Maine Muslim community celebrated Eid al Fitr or my great disappointment at your apology in the Maine Sunday Telegram for your editorial decision not to use a 9/11 anniversary story along with it.
I am afraid that with that apology you have continued to perpetuate the myth that the Muslim community is a community that supports terrorism. This only feeds the frenzy of those who have used the tragedy of 9/11 to further their skewed political, cultural and religious agendas.
Editorial decisions are editorial decisions. The public will like some and not like others.
It is only when the media, the last great hope for this fractured society, courageously speaks the truth, in this instance that we are a nation of many valid religions, that we will come through our present cultural and religious crises. Then we will recapture the free and open country we have been called to be.
Charles Waite Maclin
I was appalled at the insensitivity and lack of forethought as I pulled The Press Herald out of my paper box Saturday, Sept. 11. Expecting to see tributes and photos of things commemorating the anniversary of the vicious attacks on our soil nine years ago, I was instead greeted with a picture of Muslims worshiping and celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
This amounts to the insensitivity being shown by Muslims in New York City where a Muslim community center may soon be built so close to the World Trade Center site you could throw a stone from the mosque -- and that's what it will be -- to the WTC site.
I cannot fathom the reasoning behind The Press Herald's celebrating the end of Ramadan and relegating the horrific attacks which this country suffered on that day to second-page status. Appalling.
I was angered and offended by the letter of apology written by Richard Connor on the front page of the Sunday paper. What was the horrible offense for which Mr. Connor saw fit to apologize? The publication of an article about a large (and peaceful) celebration of the end of Ramadan on the front page of the newspaper while 9/11 anniversary coverage was inside the paper.
All we hear from critics of Islam is that it is a warlike religion that is a threat to the United States. Maybe the offense was the presentation of all of the peaceful Muslims who live among us, with lives no different than our own.
Mr. Connor and the people who were so upset about this article do owe us something, and that is the set of rules by which the presentation of news will be governed in the future.
Among the questions I have are: in what year (2020? 2030? 2040?) will a picture of a peaceful Islamic festival be acceptable on the front page of the newspaper on Sept. 11? Or will this be banned into eternity?
Moving forward, what are the rules governing the publication of news about Muslims? Who are the groups whose responses of offense will determine what can and cannot be printed?
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