Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Explaining the Denial

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Explaining the Denial

Article excerpt

Denying Islam's Role in Terror

Editors ' note: The Obama administration in large measure has ignored the threat oflslamism in its first term and is poised to do so again. Yet Islamism continues to penetrate the heart of America, and the Middle East has become even more Islamist through recent upheavals. The following three articles focus on the ways the U.S. government endangers the country by turning a blind eye to these rising dangers. Daniel Pipes explains how officials deny the connection between Islam and terrorism; Teri Blumenfeld documents the denial in the FBI while David Rusin details the military's denial.

Over three years after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, the classification ofhis crime remains in dispute. In its wisdom, the Department of Defense, supported by law enforcement, politicians, journalists, and academics, deems the killing of thirteen and wounding of forty-three to be "workplace violence." For example, the 86-page study on preventing a repeat episode, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood, mentions "workplace violence" sixteen times. 1

Indeed, were the subject not morbid, one could be amused by the disagreement over what exactly caused the major to erupt. Speculations included "racism" against him, "harassment he had received as a Muslim," his "sense of not belonging," "mental problems," "emotional problems," "an inordinate amount of stress," the "worst nightmare" ofhis being deployed to Afghanistan, or something fancifully called "pre-traumatic stress disorder." One newspaper headline, "Mindset of Rogue Major a Mystery," sums up this bogus state of confusion2

In contrast, members of congress ridiculed the "workplace violence" characterization and a coalition of 1 60 victims and family members recently released a video, "The Truth about Fort Hood," criticizing the administration. On the third anniversary of the massacre, 148 victims and family members sued the U.S. government for avoiding legal and financial responsibility by not acknowledging the incident as terrorism.3

The military leadership willfully ignores what stares them in the face, namely Hasan's clear and evident Islamist inspiration; Protecting the Force mentions "Muslim" and "jihad" not a single time, and "Islam" only once, in a footnote.4 The massacre officially still remains unconnected to terrorism or Islam.

This example fits in a larger pattern: The establishment denies that Islamism - a form of Islam that seeks to make Muslims dominant through an extreme, totalistic, and rigid application of Islamic law, the Shari'a - represents the leading global cause of terrorism when it so clearly does. Islamism reverts to medieval norms in its aspiration to create a caliphate that rules humanity. "Islam is the solution" summarizes its doctrine. Islam's public law can be summarized as elevating Muslim over non-Muslim, male over female, and endorsing the use of force to spread Muslim rule. In recent decades, Islamists (the adherents of this vision of Islam) have established an unparalleled record of terrorism. To cite one tabulation: TheReligionOfPeace.com counts 20,000 assaults in the name of Islam since 9/1 1,5 or about five a day. In the West, terrorist acts inspired by motives other than Islam hardly register.

It is important to document and explain this denial and explore its implications. The examples come predominantly from the United States, though they could come from virtually any Western country - except Israel.

DOCUMENTING DENIAL

The government, press, and academy routinely deny that Islamist motives play a role in two ways, specific and general. Specific acts of violence perpetrated by Muslims lead the authorities publicly, willfully, and defiantly to close their eyes to Islamist motivations and goals. Instead, they point to a range of trivial, one-time, and individualistic motives, often casting the perpetrator as victim. Examples from the years before and after 9/1 1 include:

* 1990 assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York: "A prescription drug for . …

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