Newsweek writer Lorraine Ali defamed me in the "Periscope" section of its Sep. 27, 2004 issue, prompting a reader to point out a 2003 interview she gave at a website called redragmag.com ("rock entertainment in DM"). Asked there, "What's your favorite charity?" she replies:
Well, I would say, being an Arab-American, anything that helps kids in the Arab world right now. They're suffering greatly from West Bank Palestine to Iraq because of all this crazy witch hunting and all these charities being closed down that have anything to do Islam and Muslim and Arabs. These kids are really suffering now so anything that goes towards helping kids, especially in Iraq with the sanctions because the sanctions have been killing, like, 5,000 of them every month.
Lorraine Ali of Newsweek.
Saturday night's dinner and awards ceremony was the main highlight of the conference in which Lorraine Ali (Newsweek journalist), Hafez Al-Mirazi (Al Jazeera, Washington DC Bureau Chief) and Jim Avila (NBC TV Correspondent) were honored for their work.
Seasoned journalist Ray Hanania, editor of the Arab American View newspaper and main conference organizer, in his address, lashed out at hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for repeated injustices committed on the Palestinian people. He described Sharon as "murderous", "blood-thirsty", and a "Nazi," saying the Likud was the first terrorist organization created in the Middle East.
Defending the Palestinian struggle for independence, Hanania said: "Resistance is not terrorism. It is a right to stand up against injustice. Resistance is the only response to Sharon's Nazi government." Urging the community to take media seriously and support and respect Muslim and Arab newspapers, Hanania said, "We have a right to criticize and denounce the acts of the U.S. government when they are wrong." Directing his comments towards journalists, he said: "I, as a journalist, ask you to make products which will make us feel proud."
Lorraine Ali, music critic for Newsweek magazine, was awarded the National Arab Journalists Association's Excellence in Journalism Award. Ali, who is of Iraqi descent, urged young people to get into the mainstream media and make their voices heard, saying that the American public is seeking out the truth, as can be seen by the recent popularity of The Holy Qur'an. …
The keynote speaker of the evening was Hafez Al-Mirazi, Al Jazeera, Washington DC Bureau Chief, who was presented with the M.T. Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award for 2001-2002. In his address, Mirazi defended Al Jazeera's track record claiming it continues to be as objective as possible, saying that there is no way to present an Arab and Palestinian perspective in U.S. media, but that Al Jazeera presents all sides in its broadcasts.
My unsolicited advice to Lorraine Ali: stick to your music reporting, stay away from the political stuff. (September 29, 2004)
Mar. 6, 2007 update: In "Newsweek's Lorraine Ali and the Ghost of Walter Duranty," columnist Dennis Prager reviews a book review by Lorraine Ali, now a senior writer at Newsweek. The book in question is Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, Infidel. Prager starts by invoking the memory of New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who reported in 1932-33 from the Soviet Union
that there was no Communist-induced famine in the Ukraine, indeed, that no one was dying of starvation there. In fact, between 4 and 7 million Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin's regime. Though Duranty's name has since been synonymous with Westerners who hid the evil committed by enemies of the West and enemies of liberty, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his false reporting.
With this background, he looks at another reporter characterized by an "unwillingness to identify evil and a desire to hurt those who do confront it," namely Lorraine Ali. For Ali, "the Islamists are not the problem, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is." Ali calls her a "bombthrower" and describes Infidel as "single-minded and reactionary," written to appease "right-wingers." Prager suggests Ali is "an Islamist fellow traveler" – otherwise, how to explain her characterizing a woman who is a feminist, atheist, pro-gay, and who combats the greatest religious extremist menace of our time as "right-wing" and "reactionary"? Prager concludes:
Just as during the Cold War the Left was divided between those who fought Communism and those who fought anti-Communism, the Left today will have to decide whether it wants to fight Islamists or anti-Islamists. At least in this instance, Newsweek has decided to go with Lorraine Ali and fight those fighting Islamism, even when those fighting the Islamists are pro-gay, feminist atheists who only care about the greatest oppression of gays and women in the world at this time.
Meanwhile, in the morally inverted world of many Western media, where CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is described as "a civil rights organization" and where Ayaan Hirsi Ali can be described as a "bombthrower," Lorraine Ali, too, may well be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Oct. 1, 2007 update: Lorraine Ali is at it again, this time with a predictably inaccurate piece in Newsweek about the Khalil Gibran International Academy, "Speech Impediment." Winfield Myers replied to her mistakes concerning Campus Watch specifically:
In "Education: Speech Impediment" (Oct. 8), Lorraine Ali misrepresents Campus Watch's mission, its reasons for opposing Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), and the sophistication of its staff.
Contrary to Ali's assertions, Campus Watch opposes not the study of Arabic, which is much-needed and which we have repeatedly endorsed. Rather, we oppose the Arabist and Islamist overtones and demands we see in KGIA's curriculum and among its supporters. We insist that KGIA teach children Arabic rather than indoctrinate them with radical, anti-Western ideas.
Because she did not contact Campus Watch for our side of the story, Ali allows gratuitously insulting comments against Campus Watch by Mahmoud Al-Batal's to go unanswered. Al-Batal charges that CW promotes "censorship," yet we have neither the means nor the desire to censor those we critique. Al-Batal's charge that, "students are much more sophisticated than the people behind Campus Watch…. step aside and just allow us to learn," attempts to substitute ad hominem attacks for reasoned rebuttal. We stand in the way not of learning, but of crude attempts to provide a publicly funded platform for Islamists to spread their propaganda to children.
Apr. 16, 2007 update: On the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, Newsweek's rock music journalist misinforms the magazine's readers that there are 8 million Muslims in the United States, about three times their actual number.
June 28, 2008 update: Lorraine Ali writes in the ironically titled "Having Kids Makes You Happy" about the joys of childlessness. Thank you, Ali, for your insights.
Nov, 7, 2008 update: Our favorite music critic-political reporter weighs in after the U.S. presidential election with her wonted skill at "Islam and Obama." Some gems:
Ali takes seriously and spreads to a general readership dubious statistics provided by the "American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections," which, in the grand tradition of Islamist unscientific polling, released a fantasy figures today informing us that 89 percent of Muslims voted for Obama and 2 percent for McCain, and that no less than 95 percent of Muslims voted in the election.
She again spreads the nonsense that the U.S. Muslim population is "estimated at between 7 to 8 million."
She repeats the erroneous information about Muslims having "traditionally voted along conservative, Republican lines," a myth generated by Grover Norquist back in 2000 and quickly, decisively refuted by Alexander Rose at "How Did Muslims Vote in 2000?"
She makes things up, such as the assertion that in this election year "the word 'Muslim' was used as shorthand to connote anti-American leanings and a hidden love of terrorism."
June 13, 2010 update: Ali has an article in the New York Times, "Behind the Veil," that, unsurprisingly, sends a valentine to American Muslims who wear niqabs. The only positive thing I can say about the piece is that, perhaps under Times editing constraints, she refers to "the estimated three million to seven million Muslims in the United States." In the past (see above) she used figures of 8 million and 7-8 million. It's a tiny step in the right direction.