Yasher koach to Karen Milstein for noting the deficit in the reporting of the New Mexican (January 19, 2016) on the Muslim Women’s program held January 10, 2016 (“Muslim women speak out, answer questions on Islam” January 11, 2016). Had she not been present and witnessed the tirade from one panelist against Israel we’d never know about it and assume this was just a “feel-good, promoting understanding” session. More problematic is the reported amens of the audience members to the tirade, the lack of other panelists from countering the tirade with more measured responses, and the lack of the moderator from both controlling the tirade and bringing out from other panelists if they had other views. It appears that “peace” is only desired by both panelists and audience if it doesn’t involve Israel. Here is Karen’s letter to the New Mexican:
It is unfortunate that Anne Constable, in her recent story, (“ ‘We are part of the American fabric,’ ” Jan. 11) did not note the most dramatic moment of this event. After the panelists articulately depicted Islam as a religion of peace-loving, compassionate and concerned moderates, a question was posed regarding inflammatory material included in many Palestinian textbooks.
Only one panelist, who identified as an educator, responded. Her statements totally altered the picture that the women were weaving. She ranted about the “Israeli occupation,” implying that all Middle Eastern instability is attributable to this status. She did not address the question regarding textbooks.
The lack of concern regarding the often-distorted education provided for the children affected is problematic. An accurate knowledge base is one prerequisite for building peace. The panelist’s eruption and audience’s knee-jerk positive response to that diatribe were not conducive for peace. This telling episode merited inclusion in the article.
Karen K. Milstein, Ph.D.