Thursday, May 12, 2011


Let's Play: Celebrity Baby or Terrorist?

"Authorities announced that they had arrested two men in connection with a terrorist plot to attack a Manhattan synagogue. The two men, whom the NY Post identifies as Moroccan Mohammad Mamdouh and Algerian Ahmed Serhani, are said to be 'homegrown' terrorists born in Queens."
"Wait? He's Moroccan as in he's from Morocco, or his name is Moroccan?" And in an instant we discover the chaos Mariah Carey has unleashed by naming her infant son Moroccan.

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Also, they misspelled "Algernon".


Why do all Gothamist's sources disagree with each other on the birthplaces/citizenship of these two? Confusion about what it means to put "Moroccan" in front of somebody's name, indeed:

NY Post: "Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani (L), and Moroccan-born Mohammed Mamdouh"; "Both men are American citizens"
Okay, so they were born in their respective countries but are U.S. citizens. This would contradict Gothamist.

Daily News: "Ahmed Ferhani, is of North African descent but was born in Queens. ... Mohammed Mahmoud, who is Moroccan"
Now one was born in Queens, and the other "is Moroccan," whatever that means. Contradicts Gothamist and the Post.

AP: "Two U.S. residents... alleged homegrown terrorists... of Algerian descent, and ... of Moroccan descent"
The AP splits the difference, calling them "residents" and noting their "descent" rather than birthplace.

NYT: "20-year-old unemployed man from Morocco and a 26-year-old livery cab dispatcher from Algeria... both from Queens"
Neat linguistic evasion: In some sense of the word, they are each "from" both Queens and somewhere else.

(Sorry if I got a little overly fascinated. And format-y. But really, what does it all mean?)

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