Your Coverage Is Despicable, Mercury News

I hope you will look at this for what it is: the exploitation of a horrible tragedy to spew hatred—something that doesn’t belong in our world.

July 20, 2020

Frank Pine
Executive Editor
Bay Area News Group

Dear Mr. Pine,

As a proud Scientologist, I must say that to use the horrible tragedy of a suicide of a young boy as an opportunity to malign an entire religion is despicable. Especially in this day and age.

There are nearly 50,000 suicides annually in the United States. I’m sure among those tragic events, we’d find a multitude of religions and ethnicities. No one would fathom using the suicide of a young boy to malign the Islamic religion. Nor would a news outlet carry such a story maligning Judaism because a young boy born into Judaism committed suicide, or Catholicism, Buddhism or any religion. Of course not. To do so would be unconscionable, not to mention an exercise in hate and bigotry.

But that’s exactly what was done when Martha Ross ran with this story. A narrative is forwarded featuring an anti-Scientology hater who quotes an anonymous source to spew bigotry about my church, and apparently does so with impunity. How could this be?

An anti-Scientology blogger is not a source for anything regarding Scientology. By definition, his agenda is “hate” toward my religion. One would not use a hater of the Jewish faith as a reliable source for Judaism.

As an Arab American, I’ve spent much of my life fighting hurtful stereotypes that depicted Muslims and Arabs as terrorists or megalomaniacs. For decades the only Arabs seen on the news or in Hollywood films and TV shows were “hook-nosed” evildoers. One result of this hateful narrative was my father spent our childhood telling people we were Greek. Only in recent years have there been concerted efforts to correct this hateful narrative.

Unfortunately, as a Scientologist, I see the same pattern repeating itself. I’ve been a proud Scientologist for over a quarter of a century. Scientology has been a shining light in my life that has helped my family and friends in profound ways. Now to read such unchecked bigotry toward Scientology is sad. And it doesn’t help the family of this boy deal with this profound tragedy.

I hope you will look at this for what it is: the exploitation of a horrible tragedy to spew hatred—something that doesn’t belong in our world.


Isa Totah

Photo by II.Studio/
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