In “Vitriolic e-mails zero in on ‘Muslim,'” Elaine Jarvik and Deborah Bulkeley in the Deseret Morning News (thanks to all who sent this in) do not deign to consider the possibility that the Salt Lake mall shootings were jihad-motivated. Instead, the onus is on those with the poor taste to suggest such a thing:
On ultraconservative Web sites like littlegreenfootballs.com, the story of Monday’s shooting rampage at Trolley Square has been reduced to one fact: “Salt Lake City Killer Was a Muslim.”
“Ultraconservative” = “bigoted, racist, evil.”
“The media did everything they could to avoid mentioning it, but it’s confirmed today that the mass murderer who terrorized a mall in Salt Lake City was a Bosnian Muslim,” reads the intro at littlegreenfootballs.com.
That’s simply a statement of fact. Most news stories about the shooting don’t mention this.
At MichaelSavage.com, the Muslim connection is a running-banner headline.
At jihadwatch.org, the story begins “Sudden Jihad syndrome? Maybe.”
Maybe, i.e., possibly, not certainly. But will Elaine Jarvik and Deborah Bulkeley consider that possibility, and look at other cases in which evidence pointing in this direction has been discounted? Of course not. To do so would be “ultraconservative.”
The online stories, as well as Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s stories in the Deseret Morning News, have resulted in a barrage of vitriolic e-mails to the News from people either angry at the paper for not mentioning the religion of shooter Sulejman Talovic in Wednesday’s Web edition, or certain that because Talovic is Muslim that he must be a terrorist.
See? Only angry, vitriolic people think this way, and rush to certainties where no certainties can be found. Oh, and never mind that “maybe” at Jihad Watch. Let’s sweep it aside with a flood of “vitriolic emails.”
There is no record that Talovic attended any of the mosques in the Salt Lake area, according to both Tarek Mosseir, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, or Bobby Ravish of Muslim Forum. Mosseir noted that many Bosnian Muslims are more secular than religious.
“Having lived under Soviet Union rules for decades, where religious freedom was not an option, a majority of these people” are not practicing Muslims, he added. “What I hear is that he came a couple of times at most, to Eid prayers, but I can’t confirm that he came.”
“There is no record” that he attended. “He came a couple of times at most.” Even if these men are telling the truth, this doesn’t establish what Elaine Jarvik and Deborah Bulkeley want it to establish. It is unfortunately possible that he could never have gone to the mosque at all and still be jihad-motivated. Consider, for example, that an Al-Qaeda manual directs operatives to “avoid visiting famous Islamic places (mosques, libraries, Islamic fairs, etc.).” Am I suggesting that Talovic was an Al-Qaeda operative? No, I am not. I am suggesting that it is at least a possibility that someone planning a jihad attack would avoid the local mosque.
Although Salt Lake City police have not yet established a motive for the shootings, a handful of Bosnian refugees were verbally harassed at their workplaces on Wednesday, according to the Utah Consortium of Multicultural Groups. Local police report no incidents of violence against Bosnian or other refugees.
Here we have the predictable shifting-of-focus which has occurred after countless jihad attacks: from Muslim-as-mass-murderer to Muslims-as-victims. Several people were shot dead in the mall, but never mind that: some Muslims were “verbally harassed”!
“Why dont (sic) you guys just come out and say this was a terrorist attack because he was MUSLIM,” wrote one e-mailer to the Deseret Morning News. “There is no doubt in my mind that this young man was carrying out Islamic jihad,” wrote another. And another: “Why is it that when I heard about a mall shotting (sic) I thought “” Muslim? Sure enough. Are you people in Utah that clueless?”
Note the “sics.” The message here is that only idiots could possibly think this way.
“He was a Muslim terrorist and you know it you deceitful, cowardly liar,” wrote a man with “MD, PhD” after his name.
Why, how absurd! How could a right-wing Islamophobic bigot possibly be a doctor with a PhD!
“Welcome to my world,” said Ibrahim Hopper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., about the angry e-mails. “I get tons of it every day.”
At least we get your name right here, Mr. “Hopper.” Anyway, note that Elaine Jarvik and Deborah Bulkeley show no sign whatsoever of looking into the background of Mr. Hooper’s organization.
Anyway, the bottom line is this: in light of the fact that there have been several attacks similar to Talovic’s committed by Muslims in the last year, as I detail here, and that in each case authorities have discounted the possibility. All I am asking is that the possibility that such attacks are motivated by the jihad ideology, even in the absence of an institutional connection to a group like Al-Qaeda, be duly considered. Is that too much to ask?
UPDATE: Charles Johnson also responds at LGF.