Letter writer: Quote could be misconstrued

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

I want to thank you for the article on the Muslim community of faith found here in Western North Carolina [“Coming Together: Diverse Muslim Community Finds Common Ground in Asheville,” Dec. 21, Xpress]. It helped me know more about my neighbors and our greater community.

I was dismayed by the editorial decision to include [Joseph (Yusuf)] Gantt’s offhand comment about you not truly wanting to talk to him, because I think you could have easily conveyed the poorly formed assumptions people that equate Muslims with terrorists. The reason I think your decision was poor is that, presented as it is, in direct quotes, it can be easily misconstrued by those with hate in their hearts because some people intentionally or unintentionally don’t read beyond the end of the quotation to see it presented jokingly.

I’m disappointed that you wouldn’t do a better job of protecting your sources and your fellow community member from people who inevitably rush to persecute.

Thank you for considering this.

— Leanna Joyner
Asheville

Editor’s response: Covering the many aspects of our local community and its rainbow of culture is integral to the mission of Mountain Xpress, and we appreciate your feedback about this article. There are some statements that have intense power when spoken and lose much luster in print. In this case, we contacted the source again and attempted to nail down how best to describe his remark. Although we were concerned about how the quote could be misinterpreted, we believed the raw words were too valuable in capturing the sentiment of discouragement in the way people talk about his religion. So we did our best to put his quote in context and still share his feelings and views in the way he expressed them.

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