Saturday, May 11, 2013

11-May-13: The myth of the myth of Islamic terrorism in America

Al-Arabiya gives prominent coverage today to an op ed penned by an American-educated (Princeton University undergraduate; MBA from Harvard Business School) Saudi. He says he recently retired from managing the investment bank he founded and now focuses on writing.

Here are a handful of excerpts from his opinion piece. Entitled "The myth of Islamic terrorism in America", it apparently reflects the benefit of his new focus:
  • After the planes hit on 9/11, a myth-making industry was born. “Why do they hate us?” was the first thought to cross horrified American minds. Israel’s lobby, worried that she would be seen as having sowed the seeds of anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world, quickly came up with an alternative explanation: “They hate us for our freedoms—our way of life,” screamed the headlines. Promoted by friendly journalists, politicians, and academics, these slogans quickly drowned out all other competing theories and were eagerly picked up and trumpeted by right-wing pundits...
  • In fact, a careful review of events since 9/11 proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that the claim that militant Islam has gained any traction among the Muslims of America is farcical. Had militant Islam actually taken hold in America, this country would have become a battle zone. After all, with millions of Muslims in the US, the successful spread of any such ideology among them would have resulted in thousands of recruits, hooked on jihadist websites, eagerly building bombs, and champing at the bit to commit acts of terrorism. Such numbers could have turned a city like New York into another Baghdad. Instead, the number of terror attacks in the US involving Muslims, over the course of more than a decade, are fewer than the fingers of one hand. The numbers here just do not add up to justify any credible claim of an Islamist war of terror on American soil.
  • The two major events since 9/11—first, Major Hasan’s shooting of fellow soldiers at an army base, and second, the recent Boston bombing—are little more than horrible criminal acts carried out by disturbed, maladjusted individuals...
It's a common enough theme: why are they picking on us Arabs? Why does everyone blame us Moslems? It's a bitter lament that we see reflected in every part of the media. How useful is it to argue with such people? How open are they to a frank examination of the realities?

Rather than offer a polemical response to the allegations of a myth, how about we simply copy here a dump of the entire contents of the current edition (as of this past week) of the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. It speaks quite eloquently for itself.

So who's propagating the myths?

The fine print, reproduced verbatim from the FBI’s list
The alleged terrorists on this list have been indicted by sitting Federal Grand Juries in various jurisdictions in the United States for the crimes reflected on their wanted posters. Evidence was gathered and presented to the Grand Juries, which led to their being charged. The indictments currently listed on the posters allow them to be arrested and brought to justice. Future indictments may be handed down as various investigations proceed in connection to other terrorist incidents, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Rewards for Justice program, administered by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offers rewards for information leading to the arrest of many of these terrorists. It is also important to note that these individuals will remain wanted in connection with their alleged crimes until such time as the charges are dropped or when credible physical evidence is obtained, which proves with 100% accuracy, that they are deceased.
And here's the Al-Arabiya fine print: is the new Website of the Al Arabiya family. It seeks to reach a non-Arab international audience, as well as expatriates living in the Middle East and North Africa, in order to deepen understanding of Arab societies, cultures and economies... is the online presence of Al Arabiya News Channel, the leading news channel in the Arab world.

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