Release Date: December 10, 1996
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: -- Press Contact: Enver Masud

If Hutus And Tutsis Were Muslim Media Would Say So

WASHINGTON, DC, December 10 -- If the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda were Muslim the media would have said so. Repeatedly. Islam and Muslim would have become synonymous with evil.

Perhaps you haven't noticed this recurring pattern of the media identifying Islam at every negative opportunity, while not identifying the religion of non-Muslims. One could cite statistics of the number of such occurrences, but the disparities are so great that a few examples should suffice.

Oklahoma City: When terrorism "experts," based upon little or no evidence, blamed Middle Eastern terrorists for the bombing of the Murrah building , Muslims were immediately accused. Following the capture of the alleged bomber, The Washington Post, April 22, 1995, carried a story titled "Muslim's Burden of Blame Lifts," but that burden was not placed upon Christians.

World Trade Center and Tokyo Subway: The bombing of the World Trade Center was apparently directed against U.S. support for the policies of the Egyptian government. It was identified as the act of Muslim fundamentalists. Contrast this with the poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway which was identified as the act of a "cult," but not as a Buddhist or Hindu cult which it appears to be.

Bosnia and Chechnya: The genocide of the Bosnians was described in terms of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. Why not Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Muslims, or Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians? The brutal massacres of Chechen civilians by the Russian military was portrayed as Russia versus the Muslims of Chechnya, and not the Russian Christians against the Chechen Muslims.

TWA Flight 800: Within a week of the downing of TWA Flight 800, CNN identified Middle East terrorists as the likely perpetrators.The Washington Post in its July 23 editorial wrote that while the "evidence of terrorism is not yet there," that "courtroom-type proof" may be hard to come by, that "international validation before the act of punishment would be the best way to go, but if that is not feasible a national decision by the injured party, the United States, ought to suffice." Regular CNN viewers and Post readers have long beeen conditioned to believe that means Islamic terrorists and a Muslim country.

Afghanistan and Rwanda: The veiling of women, and keeping them from work temporarily, by orders of the Taliban in Afghanistan were identified by the media with Islam. Never mind that veils probably began with the Byzantines, and Islam is unequivocal in the equality of all mankind. Meanwhile, the brutal rapes and killings in Rwanda are merely the acts of Hutus and Tutsis.

Rwanda, according to the CIA World Factbook, has a population of 8.6 million which is 90 percent Hutu, 9 percent Tutsi. The religion of the people is one percent Muslim, 25 percent indigenous beliefs, 74 percent Christian.

[When the Belgians introduced compulsory passes for all Rwandans in the 1930s, a differentiation between Hutu and Tutsi was vital to their 'divide and rule' strategy. Attempts were made to categorise people using racial characteristics--skin colour, nose and head sizes. They failed. The dividing line between Hutu and Tutsi could only be based on wealth. A Tutsi was defined as someone who owned ten or more cattle and the division rigidly enforced. Traditional Tutsi leaders were expected to police the new order. Numerous new chiefdoms were arbitrarily created, paid salaries by the colonial administration and encouraged to levy taxes and 'customary' tributes. Hutu resistance was brutally suppressed, with many killed. Mutilation and amputation were favoured Belgian punishments--carried out by Tutsis. By the 1940s thousands of Hutus had fled from the barbarism to Uganda.--" Rwanda from the Hutu perspective"]

"SPLA Responsible for Sudan's Lost Boys," ESPAC, January 21, 2001

[Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. Most of the dead were Tutsis - and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus.--"Rwanda: How the genocide happened," BBC, June 7, 2001]

Emily Wax, "Islam Attracting Many Survivors of Rwanda Genocide," Washington Post, September 23, 2002

[. . . up to 4.7 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo's four-and-a-half-year civil war. The figure was announced this week by the International Rescue Committee, an American aid agency.--James Astill, "Counting the dead," Guardian, April 10, 2003]

[MLC members are reported to have cut out the hearts and other organs of their victims and forced families to eat them. One little girl was executed, cut into pieces and then eaten.--Ian Black, "Genocide court sets sights on Congo conflict," Guardian, July 17, 2003]

"Mass genocide verdict delivered," BBC News, August 1, 2003

[Gang rape has been so violent, so systematic, so common in eastern Congo during the country's five years of war that thousands of women are suffering from vaginal fistula--Emily Wax, "Extent of Violence Against Women Surfaces as Fighting Recedes," Washington Post, October 25, 2003]

[Their deaths triggered a 100-day wave of killings in Rwanda of an estimated 800,000 minority Tutsi and moderate Hutu by extremist Hutu.--Warren Hoge, "U.N. Finds Black Box Thought to Be From 1994 Rwandan Crash," New York Times, March 12, 2004]

[In theory the companies should be accountable under guidelines produced by the Paris-based agency, the Organisation for Co-operation and Development.--Martin Plaut, "Firms 'unpunished' over Congo war," BBC, March 17, 2004]

[The founder of one of China's biggest Christian sects has been sentenced to death along with two of his acolytes for the murder of about 20 followers of a rival apocalyptic group.--Jonathan Watts , "Christian sect leader guilty of killing rivals in China," Guardian, July 8, 2004]

[The earliest and most widely held theory blames Hutu extremists for shooting down the plane, over anger at the peace talks between Hutu and Tutsi leaders in Arusha, Tanzania. But some point the finger at Tutsi rebel leader Paul Kagame, claiming he is upset by the progress of the talks and knows the upheaval sparked by the plane crash will legitimise his invasion and begin his march to power.

In 2000, Kagame becomes president.

Foreign powers are also linked to the downing of the presidential jet. Rwanda's leaders have long counted on allegiances with external forces. The governing Hutu regime is in the Franco-Belgian camp. Kagame, whose military career includes a stint in the US, looks to his Anglo-US supporters. . . .

I didn't realise that Paul Kagame had been trained by the US, supported by the US.--Nick McKenzie, "Uncovering Rwanda's secrets," The Age, February 10, 2007]

AUDIO: "Rwanda's Rebirth," On Point, June 11, 2008

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