Is Matthews playing the dhimmi? If what they’re saying about Modi is true (and I don’t know whether or not it is), then it appears not (although he gets no points for his mealy-mouthed “scheduling conflict” excuse). But why did the CAIR message go out on the Pentagon message server (as we saw yesterday)? From the New York Sun, and RB:
The host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews, announced yesterday that he would not appear as planned on March 24 at the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Due to a scheduling conflict, Chris Matthews has canceled this appearance,” an MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, said. He would not elaborate on the nature of the conflict.
In recent days, Muslim activists and others flooded the network with calls, letters, and e-mail urging Mr. Matthews to distance himself from the group. An Indian official billed as the “chief guest” at the meeting, Narendra Modi, has been accused of tolerating anti-Muslim violence in the state of Gujarat, where he is chief minister.
The president of the Indian Muslim Council-USA, Dr. Ashwini Rao of New York, said he does not credit the official explanation for Mr. Matthews’s action. “Most likely, that’s not correct, because we’ve been talking to him for the last week and a half, at least, and they’ve never said it’s a scheduling conflict,” Dr. Rao said. “I was hoping he’d take a more moral stance.”
Mr. Modi has been condemned by various human rights groups for failing to rein in anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 Gujarat residents.
The Indian governor was “directly involved in this pogrom and this hatred,” Dr. Rao asserted. He said Mr. Modi espouses a supremacist philosophy known as Hindutva. “This is an ideology that was inspired by Mussolini and Hitler. They want to have the same thing in India, where India is solely for upper-caste Hindus,” Dr. Rao said.
Last month, 30 human-rights activists asked Secretary of State Rice to block Mr. Modi’s trip to America. They labeled him an “egregious violator” of religious freedom and said he should be barred from the country under a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. Among the signatories to the letter are the director of the religious freedom program at Freedom House, Nina Shea, and the advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, Thomas Malinowski….
But here’s the rub:
In a bizarre and mysterious twist, some in the press corps
learned of Mr. Matthews’s decision from a Council on American-Islamic
Relations news release that was distributed to reporters yesterday via an e-mail list the Pentagon uses to circulate stories about the military.
The Pentagon later issued a statement calling the distribution unintentional and saying it had “taken steps to guard against a recurrence.”
A spokesperson for the Islamic group, Rabiah Ahmed, denied that her organization sent the message out through the Pentagon list. “We had nothing to do with it,” she said. “Apparently, somebody hacked into their computer system and sent out our press release on their listserv.”