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American Muslim groups are calling on the National Review to apologize for published statements by editor Rich Lowry who suggested that “nuking Mecca” would “send a signal” to Muslims. National Review online calls itself “America’s premier conservative website.”)
In an online forum called “The Corner,” editor Rich Lowry wrote on March 7:
“Lots of sentiment for nuking Mecca. Moderates opt for something more along these lines: “Baghdad and Tehran would be the likeliest sites for a first strike. If we have clean enough bombs to assure a pinpoint damage area, Gaza City and Ramallah would also be on list. Damascus, Cairo, Algiers, Tripoli and Riyadh should be put on alert that any signs of support for the attacks in their cities will bring immediate annihilation…”
“This is a tough one, and I don’t know quite what to think. Mecca seems extreme, of course, but then again few people would die and it would send a signal. Religions have suffered such catastrophic setbacks before…And, as a general matter, the time for seriousness-including figuring out what we would do in retaliation, so maybe it can have some slight deterrent effect–is now rather than after thousands and thousands more American casualties.”
National Review writer Rod Dreher also took part in the discussion of an attack on Mecca. He wrote: “…I’d say Baghdad, Tehran and Riyadh should make the list, tout ensemble, and maybe even Damascus. As for Mecca, well, it would feel good, but we’d have every Muslim on the planet enraged unto ages of ages…”
“These statements are a call to violence against Muslims and Islam. Inflammatory rhetoric suggesting mass murder and the destruction of religious sites is wildly irresponsible and beyond the bounds of reasoned debate. The National Review should apologize immediately and discipline Lowry and Dreher for their offensive remarks. Hate speech can never be justified or excused,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad added that these statements are part of a disturbing trend in which some commentators attack the faith of Islam under the cover of political debate. (Lowry now says his remarks were merely “sarcastic.”) In a September column published on National Review, Ann Coulter wrote: “…We should invade their [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”