Indeed there is. There is a great deal of ignorance about the ways in which Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and to make recruits among peaceful Muslims. There is a great deal of fear about innocent Muslims being victimized in the U.S., when in fact many "anti-Muslim hate crimes" have been faked by Muslims, and Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be the victims of hate attacks. But of course that is not what Barbara McQuade meant.
"At Dearborn forum, law enforcement leaders say all faiths must be protected," by Niraj Warikoo in the Detroit Free Press, April 12:
Speaking at a forum in Dearborn, the U.S. Attorney for eastern Michigan said that Muslims and Islam should not be stereotyped.
"Blaming all Muslims and Arabs for the acts of the hijackers of 9/11 is like blaming all Catholics for the acts of Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Monday, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 1995 bombing of a federal building.
In the first place, no one is really "blaming all Muslims and Arabs" for 9/11. That is just a straw man. But there is also no equivalence between calling the Muslim community to account for jihad activity in its midst and blaming Catholics for the Oklahoma City bombing. Jihadists justify acts of violence by referring to the Qur'an and Muhammad; McVeigh did not justify the Oklahoma City bombing by referring to Catholic teaching. He wasn't even a Catholic at the time, in fact.
"There is so much ignorance and fear surrounding the Islamic religion. And so we've been trying ... to educate the public and to make sure that our Muslim and Arab residents here have the full protection of the law. And we are very strongly committed to doing that."
McQuade was one of several law enforcement officials and community advocates who spoke at the forum, which was sponsored by student groups at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and titled Know Your Rights. Also speaking were Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit office, and Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE/HSI, which deals with immigration investigations with the Department of Homeland Security.
Imad Hamad, regional director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said at the forum that "it seems like our civil rights and liberties have been put on trial" in recent years.
In a sane world, Hamad would be anxious to demonstrate his community's loyalty to the United States, as German-Americans and Japanese-Americans were anxious to do during World War II. Instead, Hamad plays the same old tired victim card that we always see from Islamic supremacists. It is too bad that neither Arena nor Moskowitz apparently had the guts to answer his whining with a firm call to back up his victimhood posturing with genuine and wholehearted cooperation with law enforcement.
Arena said that FBI agents are sworn to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.
"I'm not allowed to have informants in mosques unless I have predication something bad is going on," Arena said. "If your imam ... preaches the true faith, we have no right to be there, and we're not. If we are, I'm going to lose my job and somebody (from law enforcement) is going to jail."
How did the Imam Arena determine what is the "true faith" of Islam? How does he deal with the fact that the jihadists present themselves among Muslims as the exponents of the "true faith"?
But if a religious leader is supporting terrorism, the FBI has a responsibility to investigate, Arena said.
"If a Catholic priest stands up in my church and says give money to the Irish Republican Army, which is a designated terrorist organization, to kill British soldiers and drive them out of Northern Ireland, I have a right, duty, and responsibility to be in that church to investigate it," Arena said.
Indeed. One wonders, however, how Arena proposes to know before he investigates whether or not the local imam is preaching hate, violence and supremacism. One also wonders whether he knows that it is much more likely that any given imam is indeed preaching those things than that a Catholic priest is preaching that anyone should kill anyone else.