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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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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

At a memorial service held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for slain police officer Sean Collier on Wednesday, April 24, Biden gave a four and a half minute speech about what he called “21st century terrorism,” which people have been asking him about “since 9/11/.” He mentions “Al Qaeda central out of the Fatah” (not sure what that means), or “two, twisted, perverted, cowardly knock off jihadis.”  Knock off jihadis?

Biden makes it clear that Rubin is correct – the biggest disaster this country thinks it needs to avoid is the one that would happen if Islam is named as a possible motivating source.

They do it to instill fear, they want us to jettison what we value most, our system of justice, our guarantees of freedom, our free flow of information, our transparency – that’s their target.  The moment we change, the moment we look inward, the moment we go into a defensive crouch, that’s the moment they win.

Biden went on to talk about how proud he was of Boston, of Massachusetts, of the students, of the United States for not yielding to fear, for not compromising our values, or weakening our constitutional guarantees, or closing our borders.

The closest Biden comes to naming the “mysterious motive” is when he calls the Tsarnaev Terrorists “craven, misguided, perverted apostles of a decent and honorable faith.”

So the great fear is that if Islam is mentioned American values go straight to Hell in a handbasket.  There is no middle ground: if we talk about Islamism as a source of terrorism, our values will be compromised and the greatest nation on Earth will crumble.

The choice made is to safeguard the name and the feelings of members of Islam from any reproach – so that we can…what?  Be taken down in a halo of smug superiority by those who exploit this latest greatest American Achilles Heel?

Rubin’s response?

“The proper response is to denounce the terrorists, the ideology of terrorism, and the right of focused self-defense, which means doing everything possible to retaliate against those responsible and not citizens of another country chosen at random.”

CORRECTION: The funding source that denied the renewal of Rubin’s mid-1980’s grant to study terrorism because “we don’t think terrorism would be a problem in the future” was the Ford Foundation, not the U.S. government.  Also, Rubin’s preferred term for terrorism motivated by Islam is “Islamism,” which he considers to be an ideology, distinguishing it from “Islam” which is the religion.  See his take on the AP Stylebook’s new limit on the word Islamism.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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