There has been a spate of stories recently trumpeting the role of Muslims in foiling Islamic jihad terror plots:
“Who saved the day in Yemen bomb plot? Once again, a Muslim,” by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor, November 2
There is a counterproductive aspect to this kind of publicity for the Muslim community in America: that these stories would be considered newsworthy at all is due to their unusual, man-bites-dog aspect. If 37 out of 37 jihad plots had been foiled by Muslims, even that wouldn’t be truly newsworthy: that’s the way things ought to be as it is. If the teachings of Islam and the sentiments of the Muslim community in the U.S. really were the way they are ordinarily represented by the mainstream media and assumed to be by the U.S. Government, then there ought to be a concerted, organized, ongoing effort among Muslims in the U.S. not only to foil jihad terror plots, but also to eradicate the Islamic teachings that inspire and encourage such plots.
Also, these writers and others generally assume that the Muslims who foiled these jihad plots did so out of Islamic conviction, and that they therefore represent an alternative perspective on Islamic teaching, one that opposes and counters that of the jihadists. Unfortunately, that is not established. People have many motives for what they do, and while Muslim communities in the West have issued vague condemnations of an undefined “terrorism,” mosques in America nor anywhere else have any sort of program to teach against the beliefs that give rise to jihad violence.
Unless and until that changes, there will be always be more jihad plots in American mosques and Islamic centers for these man-bites-dog Muslims to foil. Not addressed by any of these writers is why Muslim communities keep having jihad plots to foil in the first place. They do because there are teachings in the Qur’an and Sunnah that encourage warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. That is the great unacknowledged fact that renders these stories of heroic and peaceful Muslims more than a bit hollow.