New Republic editor Martin Peretz set off a furor earlier this month when he wrote of Muslims: "I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse." (Read the full blog post here.) Today, he issued an apology, saying the sentence "embarrasses" him. "I wrote that, but I do not believe that. I do not think that any group or class of persons in the United States should be denied the protections of the First Amendment, not now, not ever."
He defends another sentence, however, in which he wrote, "Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, especially for Muslims." This one is a "statement of fact, not value," he says. Muslims are killing Muslims all over the world. "The idea that in remarking upon the cheapening of Muslim lives I was calling for the cheapening of Muslim lives, as some have suggested, is preposterous. There is no hatred in my heart; there is deep anxiety about the dangers of Islamism." Read Nicholas Kristof's blistering criticism of the original post here. For more on Islamophobia, click here.