Saturday, March 05, 2005

New Jersey Holy War on Hold

Back in January, a family of four was murdered in northern New Jersey. Under normal circumstances, this story would have warranted a two minute report on New York television stations, and then maybe a 30 second update when the perps were captured. But this one was different.

The family in question was of the Coptic Christian religion, "Christian" being the operative word. Early on, there were reports of members of this family being targeted for death because of some anti-Islamic postings on an internet message board by the father of the family.

Ok, so we have two loaded terms. Christian. Islamic.

Wingnuts put 2 + 2 together and came up with eleventeen. Here's a couple of the headlines from back then:

CBN News - Jihad in Jersey City?
Coptic Christian Family in NJ Slaughtered by Islamic Radicals
Fatal wounds of New Jersey family suggest religious motive
New Jersey: an Islamic murder of Coptic Christians?

Yes, there was a lot of gnashing of teeth in Wingnutville. Islamofacists had murdered a Christian family on our shores! Even Fox News got into the act (surprise, surprise):

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A funeral procession for two parents and their two daughters found brutally slain in their home last week drew hundreds of mourners Monday and some in the crowd blamed the deaths on simmering religious tensions in the family's native Egypt...

...After revelations over the weekend that Hossam Armanious was active on an Internet chat site devoted to Coptic Christianity (search), Monir Dowoud, president of the American Coptic Association (search), told 200 people outside the family's church on Sunday that "Muslim terrorists" were responsible.

However, further down (below the fold) in the same article, the following paragraph, which received little notice in Wingnutville, appears:

Police have said that there were no signs of forced entry at the home, where the four bodies were found bound and gagged early Friday. Authorities said robbery remained a possible motive because no cash or jewelry were found in the home. Guy Gregory, first assistant Hudson County prosecutor, said the wallet of Hossam Armanious was found empty.

So, nearly two months have passed. A Google search finds that this heretofore unsolved murder was still a hot topic in whipping up anti-Islamic fervor on wingnut blogs, Christian bulletin boards and even "respectable" news sites. But then yesterday came this:

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The upstairs neighbor of an Egyptian Christian family found slain in their home in January was charged along with another man Friday in the killings, and authorities said the motive was robbery, not religious fanaticism, as some had feared...

Later today when I have a moment, I'm going to take a trip through some of the boards and news sites that posted the original article as proof that there is a holy war in progress in the Garden State.

I'm guessing that I'll find no retractions.

(Tip o' the hat to Mithras for the heads up.)