You can make easy money betting the establishment media will react to the next jihad attack by insisting that the assailant’s motives were inscrutable, his radicalization was sudden, nobody ever knew the guy, and the real story is the anti-Muslim backlash that never actually arrives.
Thus we have the Washington Post‘s T. Rees Shapiro declaring that our latest Ohio State University jihadi, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, “stunned the community” with his “terrorist-style attack, again highlighting festering tensions about Islam and Muslim immigrants in U.S. society.”
Terrorist-style? He pulled off exactly the kind of attack the Islamic State has been encouraging, taking its inspiration from the Palestinian “knife intifada” and the truck massacre in Nice, France, but it’s only “terrorist-style,” not bona fide terrorism? And would it be unforgivably bold to suggest those “tensions” would stop “festering” if we had fewer jihad enthusiasts attempting to rack up jihadi points?
The Post’s crack team of Mr. Magoo reporters — Shapiro, plus Abigail Hauslohner, Susan Svrluga and Matt Zapotosky — next inform us that FBI officials on Wednesday said “they believe Artan’s attack was inspired by the Islamic State and the radical Al Qaeda [U.S. born] Anwar al-Awlaki, [propagandist] fueling concerns about self-radicalized terrorists and the almost impossible task of detecting and preventing such attacks on U.S. soil.”
But he wasn’t exactly “self-radicalized” if Anwar al-Awlaki helped radicalize him, was he?
This “self-radicalized” shtick is the media narrative that Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton complained about in recent Breitbart News Daily interviews: jihadism as a kind of computer virus, contracted by otherwise normal people who stumble across the wrong web pages, and become accidentally infected.
Bolton sarcastically compared the supposed accidental-radicalization process to spontaneous human combustion, which supposedly killed the rock band’s drummer in the satirical movie, Spinal Tap.
But there’s a rational reason for this Spinal Tap shtick: If progressives pretend radicalization occurs instantly and accidentally, progressives absolve themselves of the need to study the radicalization process seriously and honestly. That unwanted study would be problematic because it would show that some religions do good and some religions cause harm, and that reality would embarrass progressives as they ally with imported Islamists against the Christian political voters that reluctantly ally with the GOP.
Artan seems to have convinced most people he met during his time at OSU that he was quiet and soft-spoken, but we still need to know a lot more about his background before asserting, or implying, that he was a good kid who went nuts because he tripped over an al-Awlaki DVD a few months ago.
His Facebook page included a photo of him giving the one-finger ISIS salute, whose significance was missed by those who work diligently to not study what the Islamic State actually says to its recruits. It’s interesting how almost all media outlets ignore this photo and use the one of Artan sitting on a bench and looking thoughtful. (You can catch a glimpse of the ISIS-salute picture in this NBC News post, but even there, it’s been cropped to make it hard to see what he’s doing.)
The reporters are also entirely willing to broadcast claims by local Muslims that they never met the guy, didn’t know anything about him and gee whiz, never discussed Islam’s aggressive commandments with their Facebook-using, finger-wagging neighbor infected by Sudden Jihad Syndrome.
Horsed Noah, executive director of the Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center in west Columbus … learned that not only was Artan a Muslim but also among the mosque’s 2,000 congregants from the area’s Somali community. “That shocked everyone,” Noah said, noting that he did not know Artan, whose family lived a half-mile from the mosque …
As co-presidents of the Muslim Student Association, Ohio State seniors Maliha Masood and Nabeel Alauddin also expressed fears of a possible backlash against the Islamic community … Artan was not a member of the MSA, Alauddin said, and none of the student leaders knew him.
The Post’s experts even regurgitated the Islamic groups’ standard get-out-of-responsibility card — a truncated segment of text from the Koran, found at 5:32:
Kader is a volunteer with one outreach program called “Ask a Muslim,” regularly meeting with curious members of the community to discuss Islam. He hands out pamphlets with a verse from the Koran reading “whoever kills an innocent human being it shall be as if he has killed all mankind,” and headlined with a simple message: “Islam is not a religion of extremism.”
But even a quick review of that text shows that it is not commandment for peace, but Allah’s personal gangland-style threat against Jews:
Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a [Muslim] soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely … [5:33] Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.
The media also seems remarkably incurious about the presence of a mosque near Ohio State, the Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab mosque, that was linked to an al-Qaeda cell with over a dozen members. It hasn’t been determined if Artan attended services there, but it seems like the sort of detail the press would speculate about if almost any other “hate group” was involved in an act of violence. (Who can forget ABC News’ Brian Ross promptly searching the local Tea Party rolls for anyone with the same name as the Colorado movie shooter?)
Even after attempting several murders with a car and knife, Artan is still framed by the Washington Post as the victim of unreasoning hatred, not an agent of it. The Washington Post quotes Ohio State junior Kevin Stankiewicz calling him a “thoughtful, engaged guy, a Muslim immigrant who wanted to spread understanding and awareness while expressing muted fears that U.S. society was becoming insular and fostering unfair stereotypes of his people.”
Knife jihad rampages are a poor choice for dispelling “unfair stereotypes” of violence.
The media is usually willing to indulge Muslims’ claims that each attack is someone else’s fault. So a self-described friend of Artan’s named Ameer Kader told the Washington Post he was “suspicious about official accounts of the attack that correlate Artan’s motivation for the assault with his religious views,” complaining that “they always label Muslims and terrorists together,” which is “unfair and a problem.”
Artan himself has been widely quoted from an August school newspaper interview, where he said, “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen.”
He then accused the media of putting a “picture” of Muslims in people’s heads that makes them “feel uncomfortable,” and said he was “kind of scared right now.” Probably not as scared as the young woman he ran at with a knife after declaring “I’m going to kill you,” and bellowing a “war cry” the media has still not seen fit to render for us.
Most of the mainstream media has, in fact, labored mightily to avoid giving any impression of Muslims other than peace-loving citizens whose religion absolutely forbids violence against the innocent. As with coverage of Artan himself, media and government bend over backwards to assure us that Islam has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
If you want to see what an actual media witch hunt against innocent religious people looks like, check out what liberals are currently doing to Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV. Coverage of Islam is 180 degrees the opposite of that. (In fact, the odds of anyone cooking up a hit piece on the gay marriage views of a mosque are near-zero, even when the imam has a close personal relationship with an individual who has actual government power.)
Nothing good has ever come from requiring people to believe something that contradicts the evidence of their eyes and ears. The amount of jihadi violence perpetrated and thwarted in the United States since 9/11 is not a figment of their imaginations.
The Washington Post article on the aftermath at OSU is dangerously close to the grim jest about “Muslims Fear Backlash From Tomorrow’s Terrorist Attack” headlines. People are legitimately concerned that the media, and government, could endanger their lives by withholding vital information about terror threats to keep the “Religion of Peace” narrative alive. If there really is an unfair perception problem, the media made it worse by overcompensating for it.
For instance, how many media outlets have reported the full text of the Facebook post Artan put up before launching his attack? Jake Tapper of CNN is one of the very few who did:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 29, 2016
There’s an awful lot of coherent Islam in that post, complete with orthodox exhortations for Muslims to ignore prominent Muslims who disagree with al-Qaeda and ISIS’s formalistic theology. Artan seems to have done a lot of Koranic research for a young man who supposedly “self-radicalized” overnight. If the Washington Post’s team is doing a follow up, it might ask local Islamic clerics to show that their deity does not make jihad to protect other Muslims against the United States a personal obligation — fard ayn — for individual Muslims. [Rule 1 for these interviews; ask for the precise Koranic verses. Rule 2: If the Imam quotes 5:32, he’s hiding something.]
The media’s unwillingness to treat seriously the jihad problem is self-serving, cowardly and destructive — because it feeds the Muslim hardliners’ narrative that all of their problems are caused by others — hint, hint, it’s not the Jehovah’s Witnesses, see here — and the cure to their problems is to follow the pitiless dictates of Allah’s seventh-century rulebook.
While we’re searching for liberal accomplices in his radicalization, we should ask some hard questions about the culture of campus grievance. It turns out that Artan was taking a ridiculous class called “Crossing Identity Boundaries” that effectively required students to become angry social activists in order to score a passing grade.
As a post at Reason revealed on Thursday, Artan was working on an assignment to “find a dozen examples of microaggressions on social media and explain which identity groups were the victims” at the time of his death. It would have accounted for 15% of his grade.
Nourishing a young man’s sense of grievance, alienation, and persecution in this way makes him far more vulnerable to the siren song of ISIS, and other radical groups in the case of non-Muslims. So Abdul Razak Ali Artan didn’t “self-radicalize.” He was taking courses on how to be a good little radical from Ohio State University, the establishment media and American’s most famous example of vibrant Muslim diversity, Anwar al-Awlaki.