It was an editorial by the News Herald's Executive Editor that has some local Muslim-Americans upset about the way the media generalizes all people in the Islamic World. The piece was in reaction to the images of burnt American bodies hanging from a bridge behind a crowd of Iraqis earlier this month.
News Herald Editor Phil Lucas essentially said Americans are up against fanatical Muslims, but some local people say the piece was filled with misinformation.
"The News Herald article was inflammatory and invited intolerance, and coming from the Chief Editor of the News Herald was a scary thought as an educator, a parent, a community member and an American. I thought this can't be right, and a lot of the information was not correct," says Amal Sidani-Tabbaa, Bay County Islamic Society member.
Editor Phil Lucas went to the Islamic Center in Panama City with other members of the media on Saturday afternoon to hear the concerns of local Muslims. National representatives from the Council on American Islamic Relations also came down from Washington, D.C. to give the local group ideas on how to deal with misconceptions in the media.
"We have a free society and a First Amendment right, so this sort of thing is going to happen, but disagreements can be reconciled if we work together on a one-to-one, human-to-human basis," says CAIR Representative Ibrahim Hooper.
News Herald Editor Phil Lucas said the meeting was informative and he was glad he attended.