THE FRIGHTENING AGE
OF EVERYDAY CHAOS
The day after a Muslim couple shot up a social services office in San Bernardino, California, Rush Limbaugh criticized the mainstream media (or as he colorfully puts it, the “drive-by” media) for trying to deemphasize the Islamic terrorism aspect of the story.
He was especially harsh on one network anchor who’d used the term, “workplace jihad,” to reflect the fact that the killer-husband was employed by the agency targeted.
Rush saw this as being in line with previous evasions about Islamist violence on American soil, in particular the massacre of military personnel at Fort Hood. In that instance, President Obama (laughably) had used the term, “workplace violence,” to deflect attention from the fact that a Muslim U.S. Army officer had acted on his devotion to Islamist radicalism and treacherously murdered his comrades in arms.
The popular radio host — whose talent is “on loan from God,” as he always reminds his listeners — did have a valid point.
Like many other people, I’d learned from bloggers (such as Pamela Geller) that the killer-husband’s name was some variation of “Farooq” or “Farook” well before I heard it on the TV news or saw it reported on major media websites. Clearly, the “drive-bys” (as well as the police) were being scrupulous to a fault in confirming the Islam connection before speaking it aloud.
I think, however, Rush’s mockery of that “workplace jihad” expression was misplaced. The term actually does suggest Islamist terrorism, though a particular application of it. Also, it raises an aspect of the terrorist threat Rush didn’t focus on (at least not while I was listening).
That’s the idea of the jihadist next door — the nightmare scenario of your friendly neighbor who’s just waiting to kill you.
How many times now have we heard the bewildered musings of people who “can’t believe that nice, quiet guy down the block would do something so horrible”?
This fear accounts for the leaps and bounds by which Donald Trump’s poll numbers are rising. With ISIS-driven human-wave immigration, it’s rapidly overtaking the anxiety about criminals, diseases and cheap labor from Latin America which jump-started The Donald’s campaign.
People are frightened — Hell, I’m frightened! — and want the government to take action. But as I’ve noted before, everyone has…
“pretty much given up hope that Barack Obama has it within him to do anything decisive that can make a meaningful difference.”
After his inane insistence on “climate change” as our key global concern, people have gone beyond suspecting that the President is a secret jihadist to wondering if he’s still smokin’ that choom.
As reported by CNN…
“Obama said the pattern of U.S. mass shootings ‘has no parallel anywhere else in the world.’”
No parallel in Syria? In Iraq? In India? In Turkey? In Chattanooga? In Paris?
You don’t see any sort of commonality here, Mr. President?
Ever since 9/11, our leaders have stressed the need to differentiate between Islam, in general, and those interpretations of the world’s second largest religion that motivate most terrorist acts today.
Between Obama’s disingenuousness and this new Bonnie-and-Clyde atrocity in San Bernardino, making charitable distinctions isn’t all that easy. But there’s a certain practical wisdom in not lumping all Muslims together into one extremist heap.
Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, anthropologist Scott Atran notes how an editorial in the ISIS online magazine, Dabiq, describes the Islamist strategy of eliminating “the twilight area occupied by most Muslims between good and evil, the caliphate and the infidel.” Quoting Osama Bin Laden, the essay asserted that…
“‘The world today is divided. Bush spoke the truth when he said, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” with the actual “terrorist” being the western crusaders.’ Now, it said, ‘the time had come for another event to … bring division to the world and destroy the grey zone.’”
Destroying the “grey zone” means creating a general state of chaos that divides everyone into clear and harden factions — us against them. It also means presenting the vision of the so-called Islamic State as a clear and compelling alternative to what jihadists see as the moral/spiritual vacuum of Western civilization.
This has been an effective recruiting tool. Atran cites a poll that showed…
“more than one in four French youth between the ages of 18 and 24 have a favorable or very favorable opinion of ISIS, although only 7-8% of France is Muslim. It’s communal. More than three of every four who join ISIS from abroad do so with friends and family. Most are young, in transitional stages in life: immigrants, students, between jobs and mates, having just left their native family. They join a ‘band of brothers (and sisters)’ ready to sacrifice for significance.”
San Bernardino clearly demonstrates this appeal at work in the United States — as well as how retaining that “grey zone” is in our interest.
But what’s really going on with young Muslims here?
There is much talk about how the churches and synagogues have lost their grip on young people under the relentless onslaught of Western secularism. Can it be that the same is true for the mosques?
Granted, we know that some U.S. Muslim centers are sympathetic to radicalism, if not actively fostering it. You can’t avoid that fact, no matter how reluctant government and media are to admit it.
But perhaps mainstream Islam too is showing the debilitating impact of American popular culture — and the countervailing allure of the jihadist call to “sacrifice and significance.”
Make no mistake, I’m not engaging in the old Leftist ploy of blaming America for the monstrous acts of those who seek to set themselves outside and above the human community. It’s the jihadists who are the bad guys.
Still, that U.S.-born-and-raised killer-husband in San Bernardino was seeking something to fill a gap in his soul. He immersed himself in Islamist radicalism. He went all the way to Pakistan to find his soul mate. And then he and his wife put a lot of shared effort into planning their exercise in deadly togetherness.
As a nation we must prepare ourselves for more “workplace jihad,” or “shopping center jihad,” or “sports stadium jihad,” or — God forbid! — “nursery school jihad,” or any of the endless horrific possibilities Islamist radicals may dream up to “destroy the grey zone.” That’s just where we are right now.
Welcome to the frightening age of everyday chaos.
Our current administration just can’t help striking the wrong tone in responding to pretty much any crisis. It’s one thing to caution people about violent retaliation against Muslims — thereby risking further radicalization. It’s quite another for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to suspend the Constitution. As reported by the Daily Wire and other outlets, Lynch told a Muslim group…
“When we talk about the First Amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”
Prosecuted? So, where’s the ACLU when we need it?…
It didn’t long for the predictable firestorm over Lynch’s high-handed disregard for constitutionalism. One objector was talk show host Joe Walsh, who had represented Illinois in Congress from 2011 to 2013. He offered a passionate challenge to the Attorney General…
“Fourteen Americans were killed three days ago, and you come out the next day and say that your greatest fear is anti-Muslim backlash. Well, you know what? I hope there is a backlash. There should be a backlash. I’m going to encourage a backlash. And you know what, Loretta Lunch? If that bother’s you, prosecute me. Throw me in jail.”
Writing in The New York Times a few days before San Bernardino, British political journalist Mehdi Hasan contrasted the alleged anti-Muslim demagoguery of Trump, Carson and other GOP presidential contenders with earlier Republican presidents…
“In 1974, Gerald R. Ford became the first president to send an official message to Muslim-Americans for Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, saying that America’s diversity had been ‘greatly enhanced’ by the ‘religious heritage’ of Muslim-Americans. In 1981, Ronald Reagan nominated America’s first Muslim ambassador, the convert Robert Dickson Crane.”
Here’s the topper…
“These were the Republican footsteps that [George] Bush was following in 2002 when he became the first president to visit an American mosque on Eid.”
Amazing how popular “W” has become lately. Wonder what Hasan is thinking after San Bernardino…
Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post is always insightful (often depressingly so). In her latest commentary she casts President Obama’s reaction to San Bernardino — which is to say, his call for more gun control — as a symptom of…
“pathological devotion to ideological narratives that bear no relationship to reality.”
Well, pathology is as pathology does…
Speaking of pathology, Peggy Noonan minced no words in The Wall Street Journal about the speed with which pathological Leftists folded San Bernardino into their anti-gun propaganda…
“You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides. Which has left me wondering if gun-control proponents are even serious about it. Maybe they’re just using their wedge issue at a moment of high stress to hammer people on the other side of the ideological and philosophical divide….”
She also noted the open secularist hostility toward talk about praying for the victims (especially talk by Republicans)…
“I suspect part of the problem is that a number of the progressive finger-pointers do not really know what a prayer is. Maybe no one ever told them.”