The idea that hatred and bigotry motivates suspicion of Muslims in the U.S. has become so commonplace that Muslims are now claiming it is even behind the prosecution of jihad terror cases.
Last Friday, a federal jury convicted three North Carolina Muslims, Omar Aly Hassan, Ziyad Yaghi, and Hysen Sherifi, of plotting jihad terror attacks against the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., as well as against targets abroad. According to prosecutors, the primary motive of the three was to kill those whom they believed to be enemies of Islam. But after the verdict was announced, Hysen Sherifi’s mother shouted that the prosecutors were “racist vultures.”
This is the same old story we have seen played out so many, many, many times: Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, instead of owning up to what they tried to do for their religion and facing their punishment like the warriors they claim to be, Islamic jihadists and their supporters claim victim status. They grant nothing, they admit nothing.
Although this is a transparent attempt to deflect scrutiny and avoid suspicion, it actually arouses more suspicion of Muslims in the U.S., because people aren’t stupid: They see stories like the one about this North Carolina jihad plot and know that racism and post-9/11 paranoia had nothing to do with this conviction, which was based on clear evidence that was duly weighed by an impartial jury.
People know that concerns about Muslims in America stem not from bigotry, but from the numerous jihad terror plots that have been hatched in the name of Islam. And they see the disingenuousness and finger-pointing of Muslim leaders in America who should be, if they really were what they claim to be, acknowledging the problem of jihadist sentiments among Muslims in the U.S., and working sincerely to root it out. If Muslim groups in America ever even once admitted that there really was a problem of young Muslims turning to jihad terror in this country, then a great deal of the suspicion of Muslims in America would dissipate, because non-Muslims would see that Muslim leaders were at least making a good-faith effort to deal with the problem. Instead, they don’t even admit that there is a problem.
When suspicions arise, however, even that doesn’t make Muslim leaders in the U.S. start to be more honest. Instead, they ascribe it to a rise in “Islamophobia”—for example, the prominent Muslim spokesman Reza Aslan is traveling around the country peddling the claim that “whatever is fearful, whatever is frightening, whatever is uncomfortable, is being tagged as Islam.”
This is so absurd it beggars belief: Aslan pretends that jihad terror plots are not happening, and that concern about Muslims in this country is therefore sheer nativism and bigotry. His sleazy dishonesty, however, then ends up creating more of the concern about Muslims here that he sees as evidence of this nativism, so that actually he himself and others like him, as well as Muslims like Omar Aly Hassan, Ziyad Yaghi, and Hysen Sherifi, are the ones who are really responsible for any suspicion of Muslims that actually exists.
Islamophobia? Blame Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood (Texas) jihad mass murderer; Naser Abdo, the would-be second Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Tex.; Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland, Ore.; Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; Naveed Haq, the jihad mass murderer at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle; Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, who hatched a jihad plot to blow up a Manhattan synagogue; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and so many others who have plotted and/or committed mass murder in the name of Islam and motivated by its texts and teachings.
Until Muslims in the United States face up to the reality of these jihad plots, admit that there is a problem within the Muslim community in America, and begin a good-faith effort to solve that problem, Americans will continue to be suspicious of them—and with good reason. And Muslim charges of “hatred” and “Islamophobia” in the face of that suspicion only add to concerns that they’re being disingenuous not only about their determination to combat jihadism within their communities, but also about their loyalties.