In “Playing with fire” in The Guardian, Dan Glaister reduces himself to vilifying Charles Johnson and me for asking politically incorrect questions, and demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of his position by offering no arguments against the questions we have raised. Just sneers.
“Salt Lake Jihad?” asks David Horowitz’s conservative Frontpagemag.com. The question refers not to some Latter Day Saints-Osama Bin Laden merger but rather to speculation about the shootings at the Trolley Square shopping mall in Salt Lake City on Monday. While much has emerged about the shootings, and about the shooter’s family background in Bosnia, the conservative blogosphere, such as it is, is awash with suggestions that the mainstream (as in, liberal) media has deliberately suppressed the fact that Sulejman Talovic, the 19-year-old perpetrator, was Muslim.
“Conservative” = evil. “Such as it is” = insignificant — albeit apparently significant enough for a full denunciation in The Guardian. “Suggestions”: i.e., not statements, and in fact just questions, but never mind. They were the wrong questions.
Glaister goes on to denounce Little Green Footballs for noting that the media did not report the Salt Lake killer’s Islamic faith, and parrots many of the charges made in the Deseret Morning News. Then he has the decency to quote Charles Johnson’s explanatory note, but not approvingly:
“Please note,” wrote LGF’s Charles Johnson, “I have not expressed any opinion on whether the mall attack was an act of jihad, personal or otherwise. I’ve raised the issue, with good reason. But I have deliberately refrained from expressing a conclusion, because we obviously do not know enough at this point to do that.
“I have come to the conclusion, however, that the media are doing everything possible to hide connections to Islam in cases like this. It’s an absolutely predictable pattern, and they do it every time.”
His view was echoed on the mildly-named Jihadwatch, plaything of writer Robert Spencer. “The bottom line is this,” he wrote, “in light of the fact that there have been several attacks similar to Talovic’s committed by Muslims in the last year … 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-Qaida, be duly considered. Is that too much to ask?”
Spencer even addresses the contention that Talovic had not attended a mosque.
“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-Qaida manual directs operatives to ‘avoid visiting famous Islamic places (mosques, libraries, Islamic fairs, etc)’.”
Back in the real world, concern was evident for members of Utah’s Bosnian community. While there were accounts of threats against Bosnians in local papers, none were reported to police. But the incident – both the shooting and the atmosphere in its aftermath – prompted Bosnia’s ambassador to the US, Bisera Turkovic, to visit the city to express sorrow and to talk about some of the trauma that many of the refugees living in Salt Lake went through before they arrived in Utah.
“Mildly-named Jihadwatch”? So it isn’t even permissible, as far as The Guardian is concerned, even to monitor jihadist activity? “Plaything” = not a serious endeavor, such as that of the clearly high-minded Mr. Glaister.
Anyway, I’m sorry, Mr. G., but I still don’t understand what’s wrong with the questions I asked above, and I fail to see how your following them with “back in the real world” makes clear what’s wrong with them. Does the Al-Qaeda manual I quoted not exist because Glaister said “back in the real world”? Does the possibility that Talovic, like Taheri-azar and all the others, was a lone jihadist disappear because Glaister said “back in the real world”? Besides the utter vacuity of Glaister’s response to what Charles and I wrote, note also the familiar shift of focus: once again, we see an attempt to deflect attention away from crimes committed by a Muslim and onto Muslims as putative victims — although no actual threats “were reported to police.”
That meeting at the Bosna restaurant, with reporters, the mayor and local police chiefs, produced a more moderate message: of understanding and tolerance.
“I will not allow my officers to profile individuals because of race,” said Salt Lake police chief Chris Burbank. “We are not profiling a community because of their race.” Burbank added that there’s no place for “fear and hatred and mistrust of others based solely on their race, their nationality, what language they may speak, or what religious preference they may have. That’s very dangerous for police to wander into. I think it’s dangerous for society.”
I suppose Dan Glaister considers that quote the coup de grace, but it actually reveals his complete intellectual muddle. Of course the jihad is not a race, but an ideology that is held by people of all races. However, that is not the end of the muddles here: Burbank is talking about racial profiling in a case involving not an Arab, but a white European, a Bosnian Muslim. Burbank is so hopelessly mired in political correctness that he cannot even discuss religious profiling directly long enough to dismiss it. He has to disavow it in terms of racial profiling, which has no conceivable place in this case, sneaking it in after race, nationality, and language.
And Glaister proudly repeats his words, thinking himself broad-minded and tolerant all the while, when all he has really done is parrot Leftist platitudes upon which he has clearly not reflected.
UPDATE: Charles weighs in:
Do you notice anything missing from this limp-wristed attack? For example, a counter-argument? People like Glaister think it’s sufficient to simply quote statements and point disapprovingly. Why strain his logical faculties? All decent people will automatically agree with him, after all.
Read it all.