Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Letter To The Editor That Didn't Get Printed

Since the Daily News-Record chose not to publish the following letter submitted by members of the local Interfaith Association, I am posting it here. I share it with the simple concern that every effort be made to treat our Muslim neighbors and other minority groups with fairness and respect.

I will be glad to publish any official responses the DNR or the HPD may wish to make.

Dear Editor, DNR:

RE: “Police Probe City Robbery” 9/28/15

A number of us in local faith communities are concerned about the inaccurate reporting in this front page story, in that it implies that a Muslim committed crimes of which in fact he was neither suspected nor charged.

The Harrisonburg Police Department press release does not name Mr. Ezzulddin Mohammed. But if the paper goes to the trouble to find and publish the name of this 18-year-old, why not dig deeper into the story?  The HPD press release simply says that “One adult and one juvenile” were taken into custody and that “On scene investigation led to charges of malicious wounding and robbery.”

To make matters worse, the paper ran the story without checking the actual charges, which are a matter of public record. Mr. Mohammed was not charged with robbery. What happened to reporting a story with enough nuance to indicate that the charges are allegations rather than facts?

Members of the Interfaith Association are concerned that this inaccurate reporting will recklessly inflame anti Muslim sentiments against one of our religious minorities.

Daniel D. Robayo, President
Abbas Rawoot, Vice-President
Ramona Sanders, Secretary
Rev. Jennifer Davis Sensenig

Interfaith Association of Harrisonburg-Rockingham
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