Last week's arrest of four men in the Bronx, New York on charges of plotting to bomb two synagogues and shoot down a military aircraft with a missile has revived an ongoing debate about the connection between Islam and terrorism and the twin pitfalls of religious bigotry and willfully blind political correctness.
The New York Times has been assailed by conservative critics such as Dallas Morning News columnist and blogger Rod Dreher for downplaying a troubling aspect of the case: all the suspects are Muslims. (They had converted to Islam while in prison for drug offenses, theft, and other crimes.) The first Times report on May 20 mentioned this fact only in passing—despite a statement by New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a press conference that the four had talked frankly about wanting to "commit jihad."
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By contrast, the opening line of the New York Post story on the arrests referred to "four homegrown Muslim terrorists on a mission from hell"—inflammatory, to be sure, but arguably far more accurate.As is frequently her way, Ms. Young beats me to the punch:
To some on the left, any mention of Islamic extremism is a bigoted right-wing scare tactic. On his blog, Nation magazine columnist Robert Dreyfuss dismisses the New York terror plot as "bogus" and asserts that every alleged plot by Muslim terrorists on U.S. soil after the World Trade Center attack has been "nonsense" cooked up by the FBI: "Since 9/11 not a single American has even been punched in the nose by an angry Muslim, as far as I can tell." (Tell that to the victims of Mohammed Taheri-azar, who plowed a Jeep into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina in 2006 and later told authorities that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.") And while most of the plots uncovered by the authorities seem to have been the work of inept losers, one does not have to be a genius to inflict a lot of damage. If the September 11 hijackers had been caught, how many people would have scoffed at the plot to fly hijacked planes into buildings as absurdly improbable?
And she beats me to another frequent observation of mine. I was not aware of this specific item, but I have gotten tired of pointing the main point out to my 'Conservative' friends, who are just like Leftists, they just have a different set of issues:
Yet anti-Muslim hysteria on the right is no myth, either. In February 2007, when a teenager named Sulejmen Talovic went on a shooting rampage at a Salt Lake City, Utah shopping mall, killing five people, some right-wing websites excoriated the media for ignoring the "Muslim connection"—the shooter's background as a Bosnian Muslim immigrant. Never mind that there was nothing to suggest that Talovic was a Muslim zealot or that religion had anything to do with his actions. (Shooting sprees by troubled young men of other religious backgrounds are not exactly unknown.)The whole article is quite excellent.
Some surprisingly good comments too, and they include some marketing advice for Muslims. I could do without the "white southern redneck" talk, but see my comment above about people really being alike, just with a different set of issues.
I vote this as the winning thread comment:
Mister DNA | May 29, 2009, 5:57pm | #Changing the spelling of fatwa to phatwa would go a long way towards changing Islam's image.
Also, I would suggest replacing the Koran with something more recent. Say, the January 1973 issue of National Lampoon, for example.
" . . . your wall-of-bullshit approach to posting means that nobody bothers to read what you have to say."
I read it, to the end.
As for our Salt Lake teenager . . . Maybe not "jihad" in the usual way, but there are several disturbing indicators. Seems he was wearing a miniature Quran around his neck at the time of the shooting (a detail that somehow escaped disclosure until recently) and shortly before the shootings he'd bragged about his grandfather being "part of the jihad."
If I'm not mistaken, his cousin "Omerovic" was also jailed for sending threatening jihadic letters to US officals. . . . "Death to US, death to Israel" stuff. Here's the most complete run down I've seen. Mentions eveything except the miniature Quran, which was (apparently) DELIBERTATELY withheld from the media. Wonder why?
MJ | May 30, 2009, 10:07am | #"let's just call it 'violent religious extremism' in all media from here on out."-isildur
While we're at it we can call violent Marxist movements "violent atheist movements".
One of the attacks that has been foiled since 9-11 was an plot by some Bosnian Muslims to attack a US army base. Their motivation was anger at the US for NOT intervening to stop the massacre of Bosnians by Serbs in the 90s. If we intervene the jihadis are mad cause we intervene, if we don’t they're mad anyway. My opinion is one more attack in the US on the scale of 9-11 and the gloves will come off. Radical Islam contains the seeds of its destruction.