Eugene Volokh notes a significant discrepancy between the press release issued by the Department of Justice concerning a case of vandalism against an Islamic Center and the underlying facts of the case based on the plea agreement. According to Eugene:
The press release describes the graffiti painted on the Islamic Center this way:
The graffiti included explicit and offensive language in addition to such statements as “Bash Back,” “Now is our time!” and “You bash us in Pakistan we bash here.”
But the plea agreement reports that the graffiti, put up in early 2011, contained “the following statements”:
(i) “Allahu Fuckbar;” (ii) “Queer insurrection;” (iii) “It’s okay to be gay!” (iv) “Now is our time!” (v) “Bash Back;” (vi) “You bash us in Pakistan we bash here;” (vii) “Allah was gay;” (viii) “[illegible] unite;” (ix) “Satanic trans” (with circle around Star of David above); (x) “Fuck straights;” and (xi) “Bash Back lives.”
What’s more, Eugene explains that “Bash Back” is a gay and lesbian activist group. This context, Eugene writes, “puts a different cast on the graffiti that the press release did quote — at least two and possibly all three of those statements also appear to be pro-gay-rights.”
Eugene’s post points out the misleading nature of the press release. Here I want to speculate on the motivations for the deception.
It seems to me there are two possible explanations for leaving out all of the clear gay references. First, it is possible that the Justice Department did not want to publicize that (some) Muslims are anti-gay and that gays groups are concerned about it. Second, it is possible that the Justice Department did not want to publicize that a gay activist group was engaged in anti-Muslim vandalism, because it reflects badly on (some) gays.
Why would the Justice Department have these motivations? One possibility is that both groups – gays and Muslims – appear to be part of the Democratic coalition and the Democrats seek to protect their coalition groups. Another possibility is that it better fits the typical Democratic narrative to suggest an unidentified individual engaged in anti-Muslim vandalism rather than to reveal an incident of gays objecting to Muslim anti-gay attitudes.
Perhaps there is an alternative explanation for the Justice Department’s actions. Feel free to suggest one in the comments.
If there is a political explanation for the content of the press release, then it turns out to be more evidence of Justice Department politicization.