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July 24, 2017 11:19 am

New York Times Loves Nation of Islam-Style Bean Pies

avatar by Ira Stoll

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The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The New York Times devoted 11 paragraphs and three photographs last week to an article about Abu’s Homestyle Bakery, which it described as “a modest storefront in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant that specializes in the navy bean pie, the traditional staple of the Nation of Islam.”

Why this qualifies as news is left unanswered by the article, though some text alongside the article described it as an installment in a “weekly column about New York establishments that transcend being merely commercial.”

The Times reported: “Masjid At-Taqwa, a popular mosque just steps away from Abu’s, was founded by former members of the Nation who left in the 1980s to practice a more traditional brand of Islam. A member of the congregation, Idris Conry, opened his shop here in 2001. Mr. Conry’s eldest son, Idris Braithwaite, took over the business in 2011.”

Anyone wondering whether this mosque or its members, or the proprietors of the bakery, share the Nation of Islam’s notorious antisemitism and extremism were disappointed by the Times article, which totally avoided the issue. The Investigative Project on Terrorism does have some information about the mosque that does shed light. So does the Clarion Project.

The author of the Times article was Sam Kestenbaum, who in 2011 contributed an article to Mondoweiss, a publication that the Anti-Defamation League has described as “extreme anti-Israel.”

As usual with the Times, the adjectives are a giveaway. The Israeli defense minister is, according to the Times, “ultra-nationalist,” but this Brooklyn mosque is “popular,” and the bean pies are described by customers quoted by the Times as “healthy” and “mellow.”

The whole article just seemed like a miss, failing entirely to deal with issues that usually leap to the fore whenever the Nation of Islam is mentioned, and instead reading like an advertisement for the bakery.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.



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