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CNN Editor Compares France to Ferguson

Curtis Kalin
By Curtis Kalin | January 14, 2015 | 2:09 PM EST

In another attempt to explain away the Paris terrorist attack, CNN’s Religion Editor compared the situation Muslims may feel in France to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

CNN’s Daniel Burke appeared on the network this morning and was asked about the treatment of Muslims in France and if that contributed in any way to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Burke uncorked a stem-winding response that laid blame for the attack on France’s “secular history” and a failure to integrate religious minorities.

“I think it’s kind of like what we saw in Ferguson. That this was a kind of, in some ways, the tinder that lit the spark, but the embers were already burning. There is a prevailing feeling in France among many Muslims that they are not treated as part of the state at large. France has a very proud, very long secular history, and it’s not always done the best of integrating any of its religious minorities, French Muslims included.”

First off, the contention that an Al-Qaeda directed, sponsored, and funded terrorist attack was somehow the fault of France is absurd. It is another in a long line of attempts to blame the victims of violence for the acts perpetrated upon them. In some ways, this statement is worse than those expressed blaming the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for their own deaths. Burke lays blame for an act of foreign terrorism on an entire country.

Second, the nonsensical comparison with the events of Ferguson, Missouri underlines the lack of understanding Burke seems to have for the Michael Brown case itself. He shifts blame from looters and rioters in an American suburb to the town itself just as he blames France for the Paris attacks.

While it can be said that discontentment exists along racial lines in Ferguson and religious lines in France, to jump to the conclusion that the communities themselves share more blame than the actual perpetrators of a terrorist attack or looting and rioting is intellectually perilous and simply wrongheaded.

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