Many people from across the political spectrum have criticized me harshly in recent days for not apologizing or admitting I was wrong for my reporting on the Armanious murders. Numerous Internet Torquemadas are firing up their torches, demanding I recant. Some have resorted to the time-honored smear tactic of quoting comments at Jihad Watch as if I wrote them.
Much of this, of course, is politically motivated: Lefties in bed with the global jihad, or at least unwilling to resist it, have seized on this as a new stick with which to beat Jihad Watch.
I will not apologize because there is nothing to apologize for: I was not wrong. I said that Copts had contacted me and given me information about the killings, and that that information was being investigated. I reminded readers on several occasions that I did not know whether or not these allegations were true, and I never asserted that they were. I waited a considerable time after receiving this information before posting anything about it, and only did after some details were confirmed by a reporter.
Some are accusing me of being disappointed that the killers are apparently not Muslim, or clinging desperately to the "hope" that they were Muslim after all. These are despicable charges, and not worth dignifying; the arrests are a relief, and I am glad that this was apparently not a jihadist killing on American soil. Still, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that therefore such killings cannot happen, or forget that there have already been such killings: Rashad Khalifa and Mohammed Ali Alayed come to mind. Some questions about this case remain, as I have outlined here. I am confident that there will be entirely reasonable explanations forthcoming, but they haven’t yet.
My information came not from third-hand rumors, but from people who asserted that they were privy to plans to kill the Armanious family. Perhaps this information was complete fantasy on their part; perhaps it is an unfortunate coincidence -- a case of people talking big and doing nothing. The information I received about these plans seemed to coincide with what was reported about Hossam Armanious receiving a death threat on the Net; many have pointed out how common threats are in Internet discussions, but I would remind readers that around the same time we discovered posters at Barsomyat.com taking the further step of posting names, addresses and photos of Coptic Christians, along with hopes that Allah would grant them the privilege of allowing them to be the murderers of the people pictured.
Copts know all too well from their experience in Egypt that Muslims do indeed do carry out such threats -- and that is why these stories spread so quickly through the Coptic community in New Jersey.
I don’t know why these Copts passed on to me such detailed and apparently well substantiated information that turned out to be false. I am trying now to find out the full story. But in any case that is just how I reported it all here at Jihad Watch: as information from Coptic sources that may or may not be true. I called for it to be investigated, and as far as I know it was. Consequently there is simply nothing for which I should apologize.