ABC, NBC Omit Arrest of Muslim Migrants Accused of Killing Christians

April 20th, 2015 3:24 PM

As of Monday morning, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts haven't aired any reports or news briefs on the recent arrests of 15 Muslim migrants from Mali, Senegal, and Ivory Coast, who allegedly murdered 12 fellow migrants by throwing them into the Mediterranean Sea – simply because they recited Christian prayers. On Friday, CBS This Morning devoted seven seconds of air time to a news brief on the possible mass murder. [video below]

The two former network's omission is even more glaring, as all three broadcast networks have covered the overall surge in immigration between the North African coast to Europe in recent days – especially since Sunday, in the wake of the sinking of an overloaded vessel that may have caused the deaths of hundreds of migrants. Since Friday morning, the Big Three's newscasts have set aside 15 minutes and 10 seconds of air time to the ongoing story. On Sunday's Good Morning America, ABC's Alex Marquardt underlined that the sinking might be the "deadliest migrant sea disaster ever" on the Mediterranean.

Fill-in anchor Vinita Nair gave the sole coverage so far of the arrests of the Muslim migrants on the CBS morning show: "Police in Sicily have detained 15 Muslim migrants accused of throwing 12 Christians overboard during another boat trip from Libya." Nair's brief followed a full report from correspondent Clarissa Ward, who reported from an Italian coast guard ship after it had rescued a ship full of immigrants from Eritrea.

Three days later, correspondent Holly Williams did bring up the wider context of Islamist groups' targeting of Christians throughout Africa and in the Middle East as she covered the sinking:

HOLLY WILLIAMS (voice-over): Some are fleeing the violence of Syria and Libya; others are escaping poverty. Many are now living in camps in Italy – like Emmanuel, a Nigerian Christian who says he fled Islamic extremists in his homeland.

EMMANUEL: We're not complaining much. We just have to take whatever they give us.

On Friday, The Daily Beast's Barbie Latza Nadeau detailed the alleged murders of the Christian passengers:

It is dangerous enough for the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on rickety fishing boats without religious tension thrown into the mix.

But in an unthinkable tragedy within an already unimaginable situation, 15 Muslim asylum-seekers reportedly threw 12 Christian asylum-seekers overboard as they made their way from Libya to Sicily this week. "We only pray to Allah here," the men said, according to others on the boat who said they clung together to protect the remaining Christians from being victims of religiously motivated murder at sea....

Apparently a group of 15 men asked the Christians to stop praying because only Allah would answer their Islamic prayers. When a young Christian man cried loudly asking God to not let the boat capsize, two Muslim men grabbed him by the neck and threw him overboard, according to witness accounts. Then, a group of Muslim men started throwing all who were praying with their hands clasped together overboard. Fifteen men were arrested when their rescue ship reached Palermo.  The prosecutor there says they will face multiple counts of aggravated manslaughter....

...In an interview with La Repubblica, one of the survivors said, "They seemed crazy, they were out of control.  They just grabbed the boy and threw him in the water because he was praying. We tried to stop them but they killed many," the witness said. "We made a human chain with all of our hands so they couldn't push more people overboard."...

The recent violent incidents play into fears in Italy that there are Islamic extremists among the genuine refugees trying to reach safety.  In February, ISIS threatened to march on Rome, putting Italians on edge with even politicians warning that the boat people coming from Libya could be a conduit for jihadi fighters to sneak into the country.  More than 11,000 people have been rescued at sea after leaving Libya and brought to safety on Sicily since April 11....