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Is Religion of Germanwings Mass Murderer Truly ‘Irrelevant’? (PI-News, Express Tribune, Juan Cole, Times of Malta)


Over the past few days a debate has broken out over whether Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot who crashed his own plane into the ground killing all aboard, a) should be called a terrorist, and b) was a Muslim convert who committed mass murder out of religious conviction. So is the mainstream media avoiding the word ‘terrorist’ for this Caucasian German citizen and trying to prevent the fact of his religious conversion from emerging? Or is this truly ‘irrelevant,’ as French prosecutor Brice Robin insisted when asked about this after he announced that the crash was intentional?

Let’s start with the column that John B. Wells discussed Friday and that triggered this debate from journalist Michael Mannheimer of German PI-News (which, incidentally, stands for “politically incorrect”). According to a translation of the column first posted by and picked up by San Francisco’s Gateway Pundit:

“All evidence indicates that the copilot of Airbus machine in his six-months break during his training as a pilot in Germanwings, converted to Islam and subsequently either by the order of “radical”, i.e. devout Muslims, or received the order from the book of terror, the Quran, on his own accord decided to carry out this mass murder. As a radical mosque in Bremen is in the center of the investigation, in which the convert was staying often, it can be assumed that he – as Mohammed Atta, in the attack against New York – received his instructions directly from the immediate vicinity of the mosque.

Converts are the most important weapon of Islam. Because their resume do not suggests that they often are particularly violent Muslims. Thus Germany now has its own 9/11, but in a reduced form. And so it is clear that Islam is a terrorist organization that are in accordance with §129a of the Criminal Code to prohibit it and to investigate its followers. But nothing will happen. One can bet that the apologists (media, politics, “Islamic Scholars”) will agree to assign this an act of a “mentally unstable” man, and you can bet that now, once again the mantra of how supposedly peaceful Islam is will continue. And worse still, the attacks by the left against those who have always warned against Islam, will be angrier and merciless.”

Notably, the original German column has since been removed:

Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus was a Convert to Islam (Speisa, U.S.)

Pakistan’s Express Tribune weighed in with this editorial on why Western media refuses to label Andreas Lubitz a ‘terrorist’:

“Here are some reasons why the media, especially in the West, is trying very hard not to label Lubitz a terrorist:

1. He is white and European. Not a brown-skinned Arab, Yemeni, Pakistani, Indonesian, Egyptian, Jordanian, or Syrian.

2. He is German; not a citizen of any Middle Eastern or Asian country dominated by those who profess the Islamic faith.

3. His first name is Andreas, not Omar, Osama or Ayman — and his last name is decidedly European-sounding. Even Obama would have a better chance of being branded a terrorist than someone whose last name is Lubitz.

4. The German pilot is not a member of the Islamic State, or al Qaeda, or the Taliban or any other group commonly associated with terrorism.

5. He doesn’t have a beard. By all accounts, and from the pictures circulating on the Internet, Lubitz never had a beard. In fact, the picture of his most widely circulated on the Internet shows him standing in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, smiling away — hardly terrorist material, one would say.

6. Lubitz suffers from depression and in fact his doctor is said to have indicated that he was unfit to be a pilot, a fact, media reports say, he hid from his employer.

7. True to form, much of the Western media seems to have gone along with the line that if at all, his actions were solely his own and were not guided by any political agenda.

This theory usually applies in the case of white males, and has been particularly successfully applied by the western media in cases of mass murder and killing in America.

Why Western Media refuse to Call Germanwings Pilot a ‘Terrorist’ (Express Tribune, Pakistan)

Leading the charge in the United States against raising Andreas Lubitz’ religious background is noted Middle East analyst Juan Cole:

“Why in the world would his religion be relevant? If he did crash the plane on purpose then presumably he was depressed and wanted not only to commit suicide but also to be a mass murderer. You could understand how a depressed person with low self-esteem might think it ego-boosting to determine the fate of so many others.

“It isn’t political terrorism, likely, but certainly it was a terroristic act of killing.

But we know why they asked. It was out of bigotry against Muslims, probing whether another one had gone postal. The subtext is that white Christians don’t go off the deep end, even though obviously they do, in large numbers. It isn’t a logical question about Andreas Lubitz from Rhineland-Palatinate. Zeynep Tufekci tweeted.”

What’s Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist (

As to why there are people who are certain that Andreas Lubitz was Muslim, even is at the moment there is scant evidence of it, Times of Malta columnist Fr Joe Borg says the ‘popular’ German PI Blog ‘prides itself on its Islamophobia’ – and seeks to debunk PI reporter Michael Mannheimer’s claim that Andreas Lubitz was a Muslim convert. Borg points out that Mannheimer’s assertion that a piece of evidence police were concealing which proves he was a Muslim convert in fact had nothing to do with Lubitz’ religious convictions:

“After it became clear that there was no connection between Lubitz, the co-pilot, and any religious or terrorist group Robertson did say that maybe Lubitz was just psychotic.

“Then the European brigade went into action. According to Michael Mannheimer, a writer for German PI-News, Germany now has its own 9/11, thanks to the convert to Islam, Andreas Lubitz.

PI News is a German blog – that in a condensed form exists also as an English version – which prides itself on its Islamophobia. Unfortunately it is a very popular blog.

“Following the search in Lubitz’ home and the investigators’ statement that they found something of great relevance, Mannheimer went ballistic. He invented a lie, implying that the investigators had found evidence that the co-pilot of the plane “in his six-months break during his training as a pilot in Germanwings, converted to Islam and subsequently either by the order of “radical”, ie. devout Muslims , or received the order from the book of terror, the Quran, on his own accord decided to carry out this mass murder.”

“Later it transpired that the significant development had nothing to do with religion or terrorism. The investigators found evidence that Lubitz had an illness, the nature of which has not been as yet disclosed, as a result of which he had been asked by his doctor not to report to work!

Quite naturally Mannheimer and his ilk will now say that the investigators have invented a sickness to hide the real reason for the massacre, that is Islam.”

‘It had to be a Muslim’ (The Times of Malta, Malta)

One of the few mainstream news outlets to discuss the religious angle, even if dismissively, is the International Business Times. New York correspondent Morgan Winsor provided this overview of the debate on whether Lubitz’ religious background is ‘relevant’:

“When a reporter asked French Prosecutor Brice Robin of Marseille, during a news conference Thursday, whether he knew Lubitz’s religion, Robin said he did not know and added, “I don’t think that’s where the answer to this lies.”

“The question suggested that Lubitz’s religious background was relevant to the investigation behind the pilot’s alleged deliberate downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 on Tuesday. Robin said the crash did not show any signs of terrorism. Some were appalled by the reporter’s inquiry.

“This line of questioning makes no sense to me whatsoever,” said Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, an associate professor of political science with a courtesy appointment in religious studies at Northwestern University in Illinois. “I find it disturbing and depressing that at a time like this some people feel compelled to search desperately for explanations that presume religious causation.”

“Religion has come into question in past plane incidents. In 1999, the pilot of a Boeing 767 intentionally plunged the fully loaded plane into the Atlantic Ocean 30 minutes after takeoff from New York City on a nonstop flight to Cairo. An investigation found the pilot, Gamal al-Batouti, had said several times in Arabic, “I rely on God,” as the plane’s autopilot function was disconnected and Egypt Air 999 plunged. The phrase is often associated with the moments before death.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that no mechanical event could have caused the plane to dive. But Egyptian officials never accepted the conclusion that al-Batouti had intentionally crashed, and conspiracy theories spread.

It’s unclear what role Lubitz’s faith will play in the Germanwings investigation. “Jumping to conclusions does not help ease the pain for the families who are mourning a horrific loss. It also does not help the investigators do their jobs,” said Corey Saylor, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights advocacy organization based in Washington.

Andreas Lubitz Religion Debate: Germanwings Crash Raises Questions Over Pilot’s Faith (International Business Times, U.K.)

Then finally, just for good measure, Malaysian Digest reporter Mushamir Mustafa complied a list of the top conspiracy theories making the rounds about the Germanwings disaster:

Germanwings Crash: Top 7 Conspiracy Theories (Malaysian Digest, Malaysia)

READ MORE ON THIS ISSUE AND GLOBAL PERCEPTIONS OF OUR NATION AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of global news and views about the United States.


William Kern, founder of, is the inventor of trans-copyediting, a system for checking the accuracy of translated copy into multiple languages. Since 2005, managing a team of dedicated volunteer translators, Kern has edited, packaged and posted thousands of columns of news and opinion about America from publications around the world and from every major language, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Hungarian and Farsi. From the height of the Iraq war to the annexation of Crimea right up to today, Kern and his team have provided intelligence to the American people by opening up a whole new media world.

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