The Bay Ridge Courier is an anti-Muslim newspaper. It may not be what they’re aiming for, but it’s the end result—its only material coverage of the sizable Muslim community in Bay Ridge has been a near-weekly forum for hate-speech.
The problem starts on the editorial page.
The latest article from The Race-Baiting Shavana Abruzzo has arguably provoked a stronger counter-reaction than much of her other waste, but I cannot arguably say it is more bigoted and ignorant than the rest of her body of work. It’s not even the first hate-article of hers that the Courier has published this month.
In case you’re new to the dystopian alternate reality of the Courier’s anti-Muslim columnist, here’s a short primer:
- She has a column called “A Britisher’s View” that appears in the weekly Bay Ridge Courier newspaper, its sister publications in the Courier Life network (Bay News, etc), and BrooklynDaily.com.
- She’s really, really obsessed with the Muslims that are here to kill and/or impose their oppressive way of life on the rest of us.
- Which is all Muslims, obviously. There’s really no effort to hide the fact that in her view, Muslims are either terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers, but probably terrorists. Whether you’re the leader of ISIS or a woman walking a stroller down the street, its all the same to The Race-Baiting Shavana Abruzzo.
- She goes out of her way to twist the very names of Islam into demeaning insults, which include “Franken-Muslims,” “Islamo-scum,” “Islamo-lunacy,” and Huma Abedin’s “icky Islamo-resume,” to name a few just from this past summer alone. (Sidebar: if these are the ones that made it to print, what did her editor say “No” to?)
- Courier Life has been giving her this platform for years.
I imagine she’s the type of person that wears her key card for the basket of deplorables like a badge of honor. On one level, that’s her lifestyle choice—I say, go on being a paranoid white supremacist on 4Chan, or on lunatic-fringe Facebook groups where that sort of thing is tolerated and encouraged.
But I have two questions for Les and Jennifer Goodstein, the owners of the Community Newspaper Group, which publishes the Bay Ridge Courier, along with the Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Family magazine, and others:
- Why do you make room in several of your advertiser-supported newspapers for a weekly hate-speech column, and
- Assuming you mean the Bay Ridge Courier to be representative of the entire Bay Ridge community, why is there almost no other coverage of the Muslim and Arab portions of that community?
News coverage about Muslims rarely appears in the Courier.
Such articles aren’t nonexistent, but they are very rare. I had to go all the way back to July—more than two months—to find a non-bilious article about a Muslim in Bay Ridge on the BrooklynDaily.com web site. This one is about Sherihan Moustafa, a woman born in Egypt and raised in Bensonhurst who started a fashion company that caters to Muslim women. It’s the sort of story about a mom-and-pop-style independent business that should be in the Courier’s wheelhouse.
But when it comes to Muslims and Arabs in our community, such stories are very few and far between.
And to make matters worse, the links to “similar stories” suggest four more hate-speech articles:
- Never forget 9/11, which was Muslims’ fault
- Community Board 18 says no to booze, because Muslims
- Never forget the attacks on Paris, which was Muslims’ fault
- Muslims will kill us all before catastrophic climate change
Yeah—the similarities to the entrepreneurship of Sherihan Moustafa are striking.
The Courier’s hostility to Muslims in the Bay Ridge community needs to come to an end.
Most importantly, the people who run the newsroom need to stop treating Bay Ridge Muslims like they’re invisible, or a threat, or both. Every time I walk out my front door, I see Muslim neighbors that are a valued part of my community. When I pick up the local paper, I need to start seeing them in local news coverage. Radio-silence is no longer acceptable from the Courier—and hate-speech certainly isn’t, either.
As far as The Race-Baiting Shavana Abruzzo, I honestly don’t care whether she keeps her job or not. In fact, it would be unethical for her bosses to fire her for doing exactly the job they’ve asked her to do for all of these years. But its difficult to see how the editors and publishers can continue to offer her their platform as means to vilify a portion of their audience on a weekly basis.