December 25, 2018 Bruce Bawer
It was only last July 29 that Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, a young American couple who had spent the previous year bicycling across much of Africa, Europe, and southern Asia, were murdered by ISIS members in Tajikistan. The story made international headlines. What added to the widespread interest in their fate was the fact that they had kept a blog of their journey, complete with photos and philosophical reflections. Repeatedly they denied the reality of evil and expressed the view that people are basically good. Reader comments on a New York Times article about the couple that appeared after their deaths celebrated them as “heroic,” “authentic,” “idealistic,” “inspiring,” “a Beautiful example of Purity and Light,” and so on. I disagreed. “Their naivete,” I noted in a piece I wrote about them, “is nothing less than breathtaking.”
They were in their mid to late twenties, no longer children. They had lived through 9/11 and all the major jihadist acts that have occurred in Western Europe in the years since then. Surely they had heard of ISIS. Surely they knew that Morocco is an Islamic country (although a supposedly “moderate” one). And yet they both decided that it was a good idea for them to spend their Christmas holiday hiking, unescorted, in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and sleeping, just the two of them, unarmed, in a tent, in the middle of nowhere.
To say that these poor young women were ignorant is not to criticize them but to point a finger at the people who shaped their image of the Muslim world. Both of them grew up in countries where, in the wake of every deadly act of jihadist terrorism, news reporters and politicians were quick to avoid, or deny, the connection of those atrocities to Islam. Throughout their formative years, the TV channels available to them were full of upbeat programs, and the newspapers and popular magazines on sale at their grocery-story checkouts full of cheery profiles, celebrating the wonderful contributions made to their societies by Muslim immigrants.
All that brainwashing plainly had an impact...........To Read More....
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