Terrorist bombers: Xmas Tree bomber vs. Times Square bomber
If we wait just a little while (not even “long enough”), an idiot Muslim will emerge with some plot to kill innocent people for an inexplicably idiot “reason”…and once again, America will look at us and ask, “Why do you think we should not treat you all with suspicion?”
A Somali Muslim was caught in Portland, Oregon with the means and a plan to blow up a car during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony where about 10,000 people gather. Had he succeeded, it would have killed at least a couple of hundred people and maimed that many more….all innocent people, innocent families, out to enjoy a bit of life’s simple pleasures.
Earlier, a Pakistani Muslim was caught after a failed attempt to blow up a car in New York’s Times Square, had HE succeeded, he would have exacted at least as many victims as the Portland bomber.
A comparison of the two types above, would be instructive…
America wonders about the Muslims in America as America is being more and more persuaded by such actions, coupled with “experts” who make their living creating hate and fear against Islam and Muslims; America is seeing sense in targeting Muslims after all…
Muslims wonder about America; we KNOW our faith does not preach such violence and we KNOW that almost every one of us would do his/her best to stop any act of terrorism…that we are no different from any Jew, or Christian or Muslim. We also see the irrational reactions by our law-enforcement agencies and our politicians and our other civic leaders, against Islam and Muslims and we wonder how far things are going to continue sliding downhill for us…and we don’t want to know.
We also know, at least by hearsay, that there are some religious leaders who preach intolerance and violence; I hear these things, but I have never personally come across any such religious leader, nor have I heard of any such leader specifically, so I wonder how true this really is. Nevertheless, it is possible and therefore, many impressionable minds are being deformed by these preachers.
These same minds are then fertile grounds for others, to exploit and channel towards terrorism.
We would stop them if we could.
After all, what parent wants to see their child led into the path of murder and possible death?
What friend wants to see his friend become a pawn for someone else’s violent plans?
What person wants to see innocent people killed anywhere?
We all live in very dangerous times, where hate is the main product being sold and where the consequences of the hate-mongering can be extreme and severe and victims can be non-Muslims OR Muslims. In such times, we need to rally together more, rather than divide more; we need to form bonds of brotherhood, rather than pick up fear-driven weapons of hate; in today’s language, we need to chill out a bit and see what we can build, rather than who we can destroy.
It is hard to chill out when the forces driving violence are so persistent and so strong. On one side, we have preachers, preaching hate and intolerance and on the other hand, we have leaders, law-enforcement agencies and politicians, leading the charge against Islam and Muslims. Crushed between the two jaws of this nutcracker, are innocent Muslims and innocent non-Muslims, but nobody seems to care.
What is the main difference between the Times Square bomber and the Xmas Tree bomber?
The Times Square bomber was a self-driven person who personally made the decision to seek training and prepare his weapon of mass destruction. Thank God for careless and stupid people, Faisal Shahzad’s car-bomb fizzled. Faisal Shahzad is not only careless, he is also a thoughtless, evil, person who deserves no compassion for his attempted bombing; releasing such a person from prison, no matter after how long, should not be open for discussion.
What about Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the young man who is charged with attempted car-bombing in Portland?
I believe this is an entirely different case, than Faisal Shahzad’s case.
Mohamud was caught in what the FBI terms, as a “sting operation”…essentially, the FBI planted the thought of bombing in Mohamud’s mind, encouraged him, provided him with the means and probably provided with some training and then caught him “red-handed”, pressing the button.
As in many other past “sting operations” by the FBI, this was a set up, in my opinion; had the FBI done nothing, it is highly likely the person ‘stung’, would have done nothing. However, when disaffection is cultivated, it can easily be exploited towards violence, not only by the “Good Guys” (FBI), but the “Bad Guys” (religious extremists) as well, with remarkably similar results…except that one is a “sting” while the other is real destruction.
Somalis are a particular population that the US authorities seem to be doing nothing to cultivate productively. There is a lot of baggage that needs to be dealt with, in an understanding way, rather than the heavy-handed way that our authorities seem to be reserving for Somalis.
Since Day One, the US could not resist the temptation to interfere in Somali affairs and seek to divide the nation and thus, establish its own “strong man” to control the Horn of Africa. Since Day One, every attempt the US made to interfere, failed and only brought on more hostilities from the Somalis in Somalia.
Finally, the US sent in the Ethiopians as their proxy warriors, to invade Somalia and to overthrow the Muslim leadership established there. As the US-aided Ethiopian troops invaded, the US ships bombed Somalis from the coast while US aircraft and gunships killed every Somali they could find, who was visible near the Somalia-Kenya border. The invasion failed miserably and Ethiopia left after declaring victory, while the US-supported Somali “government” is not even capable of surviving past its heavily-fortified camp; Somalia is in greater chaos than before the invasion and extremism, terrorism and mayhem are the rule in Somalia. (sounds incredibly similar to Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn’t it?)
Now consider the state of mind of Somalis in America.
Their old country is being destroyed by their new country and their people…relatives, in many cases…are being killed on a daily basis. On top of that, our law-enforcement agencies appear to have trained their gun sights on local Somalis, treating them as if Somalis are thieves, liars, murderers and terrorists.
Somalis have been targeted and attacked by Immigration, by US Treasury Department, by local Police and even by the generally benign USDA…attacks that had the be reversed (USDA reverses itself, to Somali grocers’ relief) in many cases, because the authorities took a no-prisoners attitude towards Somalis that they would never contemplate taking against REAL Americans.
I was at a Seattle City Council meeting on terrorism, when a woman council member asked a young Somali man, “You would report to the authorities if you found a terrorist in your community, wouldn’t you?”. This same woman, herself of Italian origin, would not dream of asking another Italian-descent person if they would report a mafia man in their community or, asking a woman if she would report a prostitute if she found one in her community…but it is perfectly okay to ask a Somali Muslim, if he would give up the terrorists he would naturally find in his ranks.
I was at another meeting with several FBI agents and civilians present, along with Detective Glenn Kerns of the Seattle Police Department, who is THE SPD liaison with the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Det. Kerns seemed to relish targeting me with an exceptionally loud voice, daring me to write about him (I did) and even spelt his name for me (“Detective Glenn with TWO ‘N’s Kerns!”). Det. Kerns then spent the next whatever time, shouting how he did not profile people and how he does not care what the origin of the person is, that he is only interested in apprehending terrorists. From this point on, “Detective Glenn with TWO ‘N’s Kerns!” launched into how Somalis by nature are criminals and terrorists and cannot be trusted and how he could never tell whether a family had five children or twelve and they were all scamming. (Note: my repeated attempts to meet later with Det. Kerns, to discuss what he had said, failed)
This, from THE man who helps the FBI decide who to target and how…the man who represents the thinking of the Seattle Police Department.
As I understand, 17% of the children (“Young adults”) in Washington’s prisons are Somali; a disproportionate representation, if the numbers are accurate.
Now let us consider a young Somali kid, in high school; he is likely feeling very disconnected with his country (US) where he sees himself regarded as an outsider and a threat to society. This young man is angry, frustrated and desperately looking for a way to prove himself and to identify with his comfort zones…Islam and Somalia.
Along comes some recruiter from Somalia who tells him to go fight for “his people” in Somalia and off he goes…probably never to be seen again. OR….
Along comes an undercover agent agent provocateur, who cultivates the anger and frustration in the Somali youth, channels it towards violence here, in the US and continues to cultivate their young man until…we have the Christmas Tree event and a successful ”sting operation”.
What would have happened of the FBI’s agent provocateur had identified this young man and then targeted him for some kind of normalization action by some social agency or even a Somali agency set up for such action?
Granted, it would not have been seen as a “victory” against “terrorism”, but it could have turned one very agitated and confused person into possibly a highly productive member of society.
THIS, is the difference between a self-motivated, evil person and a “sting”-driven person; it is a crucial difference that America needs to identify and work on, with the same diligence that our authorities work against REAL terrorism; it is a distinction that can bring America closer and make it stronger, instead of breaking an entire society just because we failed to mold their old country in accordance with our vision.
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