Update: The Daily Mail has photos.
The first news story I saw when I opened the computer this morning concerned a woman at a Moscow Metro station who had been arrested for murder after she held up the severed head of a child.
You’re a news junkie in the year 2016. What’s the phrase you’re most likely to hear in association with someone holding a severed head? “Allahu akhbar”, right?
Let’s take a look. I opened the article in the Washington Post. Nothing about allahu or akhbar there. Just this description:
The woman, a 38-year-old native of one of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, was believed to be the nanny and appeared to be mentally unstable, the statement said.
Central Asia, eh? Hmm.
“Mentally unstable” has become a sort of code phrase for “Muslim” in news reports about certain grisly events. How many times have we heard that a guy carrying a bloody machete — who we later learn is a Muslim — “has a history of psychological problems”? Either lunatics are attracted by Islam, or the tenets of Islam induce madness in its adherents. Take your pick.
Reuters was more forthright. The woman carrying the severed head was wearing a hijab and yelled you-know-what:
Woman charged with murder after brandishing child’s severed head in Moscow
MOSCOW Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on Monday and charged her with murder, in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack.
The macabre episode was caught on camera by passers-by, with footage showing the unnamed woman in a black hijab wandering around in the street holding an infant’s severed head high in the air.
“I am a terrorist, I want your death,” she can be heard screaming in heavily accented Russian in a rambling tirade in which she appears to criticize democracy and talk about the end of the world.
Investigators said they thought the woman, who they said was from a Central Asian country, had been working as a nanny for a Moscow family and had murdered a child in her care before setting fire to the family’s flat and fleeing.
The child was three or four years old, they said.
One eyewitness, a reporter from the RBC.ru news portal, said she heard the woman screaming “Allahu Akbar” (Islamic phrase meaning God is Great or Allah is Greater).
“I was on my way to the metro station from home,” Polina Nikolskaya, the reporter, told Reuters.
“She was standing near the metro entrance and caught my attention because she was screaming Allahu Akbar. I saw that she had a bloodied head in her arms, but I thought it was not real. People in the crowd said it was real.”
Lifenews.ru, an online news portal with close contacts to the police, said a policeman had first approached the woman to check her documents near the Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in the north-west of the Russian capital.
The woman had responded by removing the child’s head from a bag and shouting that she had killed the infant, it said, saying she had also threatened to blow herself up.
Footage of the incident showed a policeman wrestling the woman to the ground before a group of colleagues helped restrain her.
And what are human rights activists most concerned about at this point? You guessed it — a “backlash” against Muslims:
Some rights activists warned of a possible backlash against migrant workers from Central Asia who have in the past been targeted for beatings by far-right groups.
Fox News had a similar report, but used slightly different sources:
Nanny arrested in Moscow for carrying child’s severed head, reports say
Russian police arrested a nanny Monday and charged her with murder after she was found at a Moscow subway station holding the severed head of a child, yelling “Allahu Akbar,” according to media reports.
The woman is believed to be from Central Asia, investigators said, and was captured on CCTV footage holding up what appears to be a head near the Oktyabrskoye Pole station in Moscow, The Guardian reports.
In the video, the woman, dressed in a hijab, can be heard yelling “for a terrorist, for your death,” The Guardian reports.
Russian investigators said in a statement that the head was from a 3 or 4-year-old girl whose body had been discovered in a nearby apartment.
“Having waited for the parents to leave the flat with their older child, she killed the child for unknown reasons, started the flat on fire and fled,” the statement said, according to The Guardian.
“She was standing near the metro entrance and caught my attention because she was screaming Allahu Akbar,” RBC Daily reporter Polina Nikolskaya told Reuters. “I saw that she had a bloodied head in her arms, but I thought it was not real. People in the crowd said it was real.”
The nanny also was yelling that she would below herself up, but no explosives were found on her, LifeNews reported. A police officer wrestled her to the ground and took her into custody.
The woman later told police that she was upset over problems with her husband, the newspaper added.
The motive for the killing is unknown and the woman is undergoing psychiatric testing to see if she is mentally sound or aware of the crime she had committed, authorities said.
And here’s the most alarming aspect of the event:
The phrase “Allahu Akbar”, Arabic for “God is great”, began trending on Russian social media after the incident, the BBC reports.
This is how backlash begins. Xenophobes begin circulating stuff like this, and the next thing you know, Islamophobic people commit hate crimes against innocent Muslims. That’s why most news outlets are doing their civic duty and removing all the “allahu akhbars” and similar details that might incite hatred and prejudice.
C’mon, Fox and Reuters! Get on the stick!