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Is Fear of Blaming Islam Greater than a Need to Fight Terrorism?

Middle East and Terrorism scholar Barry Rubin points out that most current policy makers and opinion shapers prefer to avoid considering Islam as the motive for terrorism. The fear of short term pain is indulged at the expense of preventing the real danger that will follow. And we are being lied to - "albeit for virtuous reasons" - by the politicians and the mainstream press.

Victim being treated after Boston marathon terror bomb blast

Victim being treated after Boston marathon terror bomb blast
Photo Credit: KTVU

“These are persons operating inside the United States without a nexus” to an overseas group, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed U.S. intelligence official. That makes us feel safer, if it’s just two whacky Chechens acting on their own, rather than some connection between what happens in a scary far-off place and people amongst us who are acting according to a grand plan.

An ABC news report headline: “Simple Boston Bomb Plot Hatched Without Foreign Help, Authorities Believe,” is followed up with “authorities also told ABC News it is increasingly likely that the older of the brothers, Tamerlan, devised the plot and did most of the work in pulling it together.”

But how can the “acting alone” theory be offered with a straight face when we already know that the older Tsarnaev brother was under surveillance by Russia, and that the FBI questioned him at the behest of Russian authorities who were alarmed by Tamerlan’s growing radicalization?

The FBI is already on record as having said that a foreign government — later identified by legislators as Russia — had asked for information on Tsarnaev “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

And Andrew McCarthy, the prosecutor of the Blind Sheik and his accomplices in the first World Trade Center bombing, told The Jewish Press that it was “ridiculous” for anyone to repeat the disconnected terrorist theory as a likely one, “this is way too early in the investigation to place any credence on a statement like that.”

And so Rubin’s analysis – and dire prognostications – gain reinforcement from the each new turn in the dominant narrative.

Rubin is used to watching America get it wrong repeatedly.  He told The Jewish Press that in the early 1980′s he obtained a small grant and used it to begin studying the policy implications for terrorism.  When he went to renew the grant, he was told by the funding source, the Ford Foundation, that his application was going to be denied because, “we don’t think terrorism is going to be a problem in the future.”

The irony, Rubin said, is that from the 1970s through the 1990s the United States was not a terrorism destination spot because “terrorists were used to dealing with non-democratic governments and they thought it would be difficult to operate within the United States, where they thought they would be kept under close scrutiny and find it hard to succeed.

“Terrorists did not realize the ease with which someone can, for example, look Middle Eastern or be a Muslim and yet sign up for flight school and only ask to learn about takeoff, but not care at all about landing,” as we later learned, with our jaws dropping at the naivete, was the case with the 9/11 terrorists.

“Ironically,” Rubin said, “it was only when the terrorists discovered that there was not much ‘Islamophobia’ in the United States that they realized it was easy to act effectively.

While it is the case that the post 9/11-America has wised up to many tricks of the terrorists’ trade, “in other ways America is still missing obvious clues,” according to Rubin.

AMERICA ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL?

The older Tsarnaev brother, who didn’t seem to have any source of employment, and into whom the FBI had been asked to look by Russian authorities just a few years earlier, traveled to Russia for six months, and yet no alarm bells went off anywhere.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  An alarm bell “pinged,” but it was turned off!

In testimony before a Senate panel on Tuesday, April 23, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explained that while DHS was aware of Tamerlan’s trip to Russia – “there was a ‘ping’” – by the time he returned to the U.S. the original information about him had expired, so they closed the case and did not follow up. Really.

WHAT CAN BE DONE

So what can be done?  Rubin, in a subsequent and also excellent article, points out that there are currently two kinds of people who are being heard in the discussion about Islam and politics.  The first is the largest and contains the most powerful institutions, such as the government and the mainstream media.  This group insists “Islam is the religion of peace.”  There is no problem here, so there is nothing to be done, except, of course, to ensure that Islam or Islamism not be linked to terrorism.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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12 Responses to “Is Fear of Blaming Islam Greater than a Need to Fight Terrorism?”

  1. I cannot think of another time in history when a fact that everyone knows was unmentionable. We live in truly bizarre times.

  2. we Jews need to become courageous and speak out. A new holocaust is around the corner. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  3. I agree and well said.

  4. Gil Gilman says:

    The answer to the headline's question is an unsatisfying yes. There is still a difference between blaming moslems and islamists. It is not only Christian cults that have proven dangerous to their followers and others, and at least a U. S. that clamped down on the Branch Davidians, the Jonestown goofballs, the Mansons, and others, ought to be able to handle the mental work necessary to see the same in the cult of the islamists.

  5. Ethan Perks says:

    What we are witnessing is the result of 2+ generations of PC 'Moral Equivilency'. Our media and academia are completely controlled by these left liberal type. If you doubt it. just look at the liberal pablem comming to light in Texas. TEXAS for crying out loud!

  6. Ethan Perks says:

    You forget one thing. It's still acceptable to bash Christians of all stripes. Immagine the response if the 'musical' Mormans' had been titled 'Muslims'. Immagine the actor playing Brigham Young had played the Prophet. Do you suppose fore one minute he would still be alive!

  7. Jews and Christians, Hindus and others, your lives mean nothing to these butchers. To lie is a Mitzvah in the Koran. Liberal Jews you are like those who did not believe what Hitler wrote in Men Kampf. Where are the large Jewish organizations, where are the Rabbis. NEW YORK WAS ALMOST BOMBED. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  8. Whatever you do, please do not blame the Muslims for anything including the bad weather, earthquakes, car accidents, etc. To do so means that you are putting your life and others on the line. Muslims are exempt from anything that is evil, or negative.

  9. Gil Gilman says:

    I didn't forget a thing. I think THAT fear is overrated. I'm still living ;-) and I've been speaking out locally, and face-to-face for decades. Have only heard of the Mormon musical, being from the midwest. I often find religion bashing of the kind you allude to, in and of itself tasteless, even if humorous, but a full dialogue from the standpoint of facts and logic…never! Very often satire and farce are based on fact, and whoever we are, we need to take heed to the nut in the porridge even it squirts out of the middle and hits us in the eye.

  10. �Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition� by David Nirenberg.
    By Michael S. Roth, The Washington Post Apr 26, 2013 10:14 PM EDT.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anti-judaism-the-western-tradition-by-david-nirenberg/2013/04/26/1088809a-8d94-11e2-9f54-f3fdd70acad2_story.html

    Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,

    And the Catholics hate the Protestants,

    And the Hindus hate the Muslims,

    And everybody hates the Jews RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  11. Where did you come from? In which world do you live? or have you been in a coma for the past 20 year? radical Muslims R the only evil blood thirsty in our world to day, and to my great sorow Americans like you, refuse to see it, or say it as it's, and I do blame the So called good Muslims for not speaking out!

  12. I like to add, That only Islam generate people to kill and be killed for their religion and many times they use their own children.

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