It was very interesting today to see the different way in which Reuters and AP reported happenings in Denmark. I find myself in the surprising position of saying that Reuters did a decent job.
First, the lede and opening few paragraphs of the Reuters report:
Danish police arrest 8 Muslims in alleged bomb plot
Danish police arrested eight young Muslims in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack and having links with al Qaeda.
Jakob Scharf, director of the Danish police’s Security Intelligence Service, did not say what the alleged target was or in which country.
But he said it was the first such direct al Qaeda connection discovered in Denmark and that Danish intelligence had cooperated with unnamed foreign security services during an investigation that lasted several months.
“These are militant Islamists with connections to high-ranking members of al Qaeda,” Scharf told a news conference. “We believe this was a serious situation.”
Terror experts said Denmark was a target for extremists because of its military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and a crisis sparked last year after cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad were published in a Danish newspaper.
“Denmark is on the extremists’ radar screen for a number of different reasons — the first one of course being the controversial Iraq engagement,” Magnus Ranstorp, terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College, told Reuters.
Ranstorp said that a crackdown on asylum-seekers since 2001 and the Prophet cartoon crisis had further aggravated Denmark’s exposure.
“For some, this could probably become a catalyst for wanting to exact a price for what they see as an onslaught on Islam.”
The Muslims arrested ranged from 19 to 29 years old. They came from Afghan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish backgrounds and six were Danish citizens, Scharf said.
And now the lede and opening few paragraphs of the AP report:
8 Terror Suspects Arrested in Denmark
Eight men with alleged links to leading senior al-Qaida terrorists were arrested in the heart of Denmark on Tuesday, the country’s intelligence service said, claiming to have thwarted a bomb plot.
The pre-dawn raids sent jitters through a country that stirred Muslim anger and deadly protests last year after a newspaper printed 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
“This could indicate that (al-Qaida) now is able to pick up the phone and order a terror act in Denmark,” said Hans Joergen Bonnichsen, who retired as operative head of the PET intelligence service in 2006.
However, Jakob Scharf, head of the PET, said the foiled terror plot was not connected to either the uproar over the prophet cartoons or Denmark’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
The suspects — six Danish citizens and two foreigners with residence permits — had been under surveillance for some time when they were arrested.
“With the arrests, we have prevented a terror attack,” Scharf told reporters in Copenhagen. He did not identify the target.
The suspects, aged 19 to 29, were not identified but Scharf described them as “militant Islamists with connections to leading al-Qaida persons.”
In other words, with the Reuters story, from the headline you learned immediately that the terror suspects are Muslims, a theme repeated in the first paragraph. In the ninth paragraph, you learn that, while six of the eight are Danish citizens, they or their family come from Muslim nations. With the AP story, nothing in the title or first few paragraphs breaths a word about Islam. Indeed, the fifth paragraph says only that six of the eight “terror suspects” are Danish residents. Not until the seventh paragraph do we learn that the suspects are Islamists.
In other words, quickly scan the AP story, and you’re pretty sure that there are some angry Danes out there, planning acts of terror — something that is a bit surprising. Read the Reuters story, and you’ve got yet another of the almost daily stories flooding the media about Muslims planning on terrorizing people.
I guess the AP report is trying to avoid the heinous charge of Islamaphobia. But, to the extent a “phobia” is an irrational fear of something, I think Reuters (for once) has it right when it publishes a story reminding us that there is nothing irrational about a fear of certain practitioners of Islam the world over. (As for my last assertion, confirm that fact for yourself by reading LGF daily for a week. There’s never a day that goes by without Johnson relaying reports either of bombings that Muslims carried out or raids that police carried out against attempted Muslim bombers, all over the world.)