The FBI issued a startling statement on the unfolding hostage-taking this past Saturday in a Texas synagogue by a Muslim British national, Malik Faisal Akram. Akram was overheard spewing antisemitic rants and declaring that the hostages would be released in exchange for the release of “his sister” Aafia Siddiqui, widely reported to be a notorious and virulently antisemitic Muslim world heroine and al-Qaida operative who is incarcerated in federal prison for trying to murder American soldiers.
Yet, incredibly, the initial FBI statement said in part, “[W] e do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community. But we are continuing to work to find motive.”
Is it imaginable that the FBI didn’t at least Google Siddiqui after hearing Akram’s call for her release and, given his own ravings, been able to put two and two together? Considering, to boot, the fact that the incident took place in a synagogue and the perpetrator was a Muslim?
Why would the FBI not make the connection instantly?
Perhaps the answer lies in the reasons then-President Obama gave for his controversial remarks that the 2015 massacre at a Paris kosher market, the Hyper Cacher deli, in which four Jewish patrons were killed by a Muslim fanatic shouting antisemitic slurs was a “random” act and that the issue of “Muslim terror” is overstated:
It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.
We devote enormous resources to that, and it is right and appropriate for us to be vigilant and aggressive in trying to deal with that – the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive. But we also have to attend to a lot of other issues, and we’ve got to make sure we’re right-sizing our approach so that what we do isn’t counterproductive.
Later, Obama fleshed out what he meant by “right-sizing” and “counterproductive”:
There is no doubt, and I’ve said repeatedly where we see terrorist organizations like al Qaida…But what I’ve been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure we do no lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world…who are peaceful…”
So for the former president, crimes against Jews because they are Jews, perpetrated by Muslim fanatics, should only be deemed akin to ordinary, run of the mill problems faced by local officials tasked with fighting crime. No special dimension need be assigned. And we should not include the perpetrators’ Muslim faith in any description of them out of a concern to not cast aspersions on their co-religionists. In a word, violence against Jews is not that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things. Certainly not as important as anti-Muslim sentiment.