What if they were Muslim?

A gun rampage outside of Amsterdam last night left seven people dead. A 24-year old Dutchman, Tristan van der Vlist, has been identified as the suspect. The story is buried under the fold, on page 14 in the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal relies on the Associated Press for the information. The incident doesn’t even get a mention in the Financial Times. But what if Tristan had been Muslim?

Earlier this week the New York Times ran a story about Azra Basic, a Croatian émigré who was living in Kentucky until her recent arrest for alleged crimes she committed during the Yugoslav wars from 1992-1995. According to the front-page piece by Malcolm Gay, Azra is accused of being “part of a vicious brigade of Croatian Army soldiers that tortured and killed ethnic Serbs at three detention camps in the early years of the Bosnian war.” She is said to have “carved crosses into prisoners’ foreheads;” “slitting one man’s throat and forcing others to drink from the dead man’s wound;” “One witness says Ms. Basic made him drink gasoline, then set fire to his hands and face.”  She is awaiting extradition to Bosnia-Herzegovina where she would stand trial for war crimes.

Basic “confided” these details to her American “family,” Steve and Lucy Loman, long before the FBI came for her. For whatever reason neither of the small-town mid-Westerners were disturbed or concerned. “It wasn’t like it was a secret or anything,” Steve Loman told Malcolm Gay. Their neighbors agree. “I don’t think she’s guilty of anything but being a human being,” Eli Vires is quoted in the piece. “They should just let her out of jail and be done with it.” Wonder how they would feel if Azra were not a Catholic Croatian but a Bosnian Muslim?  Would they be willing to forgive her then?

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