Dear Editor,

I write to express my dismay at the cover article in [the March 22nd] publication titled, "Falls Church mosque holds Israel responsible for attack on staff members" written by Angela Woolsey. I am sincerely sorry to hear of such a stressful event affecting three women who live in our community. But I'm afraid I must take issue with the way this story was shared with your readers.

1. This story took place in Israel, not in Fairfax County. Is your newspaper in the habit of sharing harrowing stories of our neighbors when they travel abroad? I don't recall seeing other such front page headlines/stories. Why is this the lead story on the front page? I believe Israel is being singled out in this instance because the author wants to tie this story to the false narrative that the Israeli government is unfair to Arabs and Muslims during a week when the world was horrified by the violent mass murder in at a mosque in New Zealand.

2. The author cites several historical events to provide background on the complicated story surrounding modern day Jerusalem. That is appropriate and appreciated. I feel, however, that her sources for recent facts and figures are not from diverse sources. Instead, the author cites several organizations that have a long history of bias against the state of Israel and all of its government policies. That is not fair or balanced.

3. Speaking of fair and balanced, the only people quoted in the article were the members of the Dar A-Hijrah Islamic Center who spoke of the experience of the three women who are congregants and employees. The author made no effort to describe any other possible perspectives of the alleged assault that took place in Jerusalem. The author did not offer any quotes or statements from any government officials in Israel or the United States regarding the events described in the article.

4. I understand that the author, Ms. Woolsey is in charge of Editorial for the Fairfax County Times so why was this article placed on the front page as a news story? It reads like an editorial, so why not identify it as such? To omit any overt description of the piece as opinion/editorial is dishonest.

5. Finally, the headline is sensational. It makes it sound like the government of Israel authorized or committed an attack on staff members of a local mosque on U.S. soil. The headline gives the impression that Israelis (meaning Jews) are invading Fairfax County to attack innocent Muslims in their place of worship. The headline and the article make a false equivalency to what happened to dozens of innocent people last week in New Zealand and what allegedly took place in Jerusalem.

I believe you owe your readers an explanation if not a full retraction of this inflammatory article.

Jane Shichman


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