People say all sorts of things

Is there any merit to this?

I don’t know of any plans to “criminalize” saying “Allahu akbar,” or to prosecute the religion that says it. On the other hand it does get pointed out when guys who drive trucks onto bridges or bicycle paths or shoot up editorial offices shout the phrase as they do so. Should journalists suppress that fact?

No. It’s evidence of motive, for one thing. The perpetrators themselves want us to know that that’s their motive; that’s why they shout it. We’re supposed to be converted, or frightened, or deeply impressed.

But for another thing it’s part of the picture. No doubt Linda Sarsour is worried that it’s not flattering to Islam, and of course she’s right, it’s not – but that’s not the fault of reporters who report the phrase or the rest of us who discuss it.

It’s fucked up. Thinking a shout that “God is great” equals a reason to murder a lot of random people is very fucked up. Human beings need to think about that fact. We need to understand that kind of god so that we can avoid it, and urge other people to avoid it. Sarsour doesn’t like that, because she likes her religion, but that’s not a good reason to expect the rest of us to shield it.

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