Muslims in Portland and elsewhere are angry because undercover agents helped the jihadist plan the attack; apparently they’re trying to paint a picture of a naif led along and ultimately framed by unscrupulous and “Islamophobic” agents. The lingering question, however, is this: what would it take to lead you to participate in a terrorist mass-murder plot? If undercover agents approached you and tried to entice you into working to kill large numbers of innocent people, how hard would it be to convince you to do it? Speaking strictly for myself, I have absolutely no worries of ever being entrapped in this way; there is simply nothing, under any circumstances, that anyone could say to me to convince me to blow anyone up. If Mohamed Mohamud had not already had jihad and murder on his mind, he could never have been cajoled into participating in this plot — if, indeed, he needed to be cajoled at all.
“Terror Cases Strain Ties With Some Who Can Help,” by William Yardley and Jesse McKinley in the New York Times, November 30:
PORTLAND, Ore. — The arrest in a plot to bomb a popular Christmas tree-lighting ceremony here has renewed focus on the crucial but often fragile relationship that many Muslim communities have with federal law enforcement agencies.
Note how topsy-turvy that is: a Muslim tries to kill thousands of Americans. In response, Muslim communities in this country ought to be redoubling their efforts to show that they’re loyal Americans, and that they’re teaching against the Islamic ideas that inspired Mohamed Mohamud. But instead, a Muslim tries to murder non-Muslims in the name of jihad, and non-Muslim authorities rush to repair their “fragile relationship” with Muslims — as if, once again, it’s all our fault, as it always is: Islamic supremacists never, ever take responsibility for their own bloody actions.
Many Muslim leaders nationwide say they are committed to working with the authorities to fight terrorist threats and applauded the work in Portland. But some say cases like the one in Oregon, in which undercover agents said they helped a teenager plan the attack, risk undermining the trust of Muslim communities that federal agents say is essential to doing their jobs.
The failed Portland plot is one of several recent cases, from California to Washington, D.C., in which undercover agents helped suspects pursue terrorist plans. Some Muslims say the government appears to be enabling and even sensationalizing threats that can lead to backlashes against Muslim communities.
On Sunday, a mosque in Corvallis, Ore., was firebombed. It had been attended by the Portland suspect, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a naturalized American citizen from Somalia.
“Unlike the so-called plot at Pioneer Square, that was a real terrorist attack, against a house of worship,” said a man who attends the Islamic Center of Portland and Masjed As-Saber, another mosque where Mr. Mohamud worshiped.
Note the deflection strategy: the arson attack against the mosque was a real terror attack, while the jihad bomb at the Christmas tree lighting in Portland wasn’t. That is absurd regarding the attempted bombing in Portland, but it also is not definitively established that the arson inside the mosque was a terror attack at all. If it was truly a retaliatory vigilante attack following Mohamud’s attempted jihad bombing, then it is hateful and must unequivocally be condemned. It is important to note, however, that while the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the FBI and local police to protect the mosque, CAIR and other Muslims have not hesitated to stoop even to fabricating “hate crimes,” including attacks on mosques. CAIR and other groups like it want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them for political points and as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat.
Was the arson attack against the Islamic Center in Corvallis a staged event designed to deflect attention away from Mohamud’s jihad attack and onto Muslims as victims? There is no way to tell unless law enforcement officials consider this possibility, which they should do given the many faked incidents in the past. But whether they will actually do so is another matter.
“What the F.B.I. did can be seen in Corvallis,” the man said, one of several people who spoke with a reporter but refused to give their names out of concern that they would bring negative attention to the mosque. […]
They’re doing that just fine anonymously — by blaming the FBI for the arson attack against this mosque. The twisted logic here is that the FBI, by entrapping Mohamed Mohamud, which is preposterous enough in itself, provoked this “backlash,” which is not proven to have been a “backlash” at all, and thus bears responsibility for it. But while it is remotely possible that some vigilante idiot lit the fire, if that turns out to be the case, only that vigilante idiot would bear responsibility for the fire. Remember, these are the people who loudly decry the idea of “collective responsibility” for jihad attacks, saying that it is “bigoted” to think that Muslims should have to apologize for jihad terror attacks or even work against such ideas in their communities. That claim sidesteps the fact that jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions, but the point here is that if Muslims have no “collective responsibility” for jihad violence, the FBI cannot be said to have any responsibility for one criminal’s act of rage.
Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said law enforcement was going too far.
” ‘Forward-leaning’ seems to be basically if someone has not crossed the bridge, we will push them forward, we will tip them over the edge,” he said. “And that is not how a government should be treating its citizens.”
“My worry would be that the F.B.I. is pushing to a point where it becomes difficult to trust the F.B.I.,” said Mr. Ayloush, who added that he was a graduate of an F.B.I. Citizens’ Academy. “When people start doubting, then they might feel like, ‘Well, maybe it might make things worse if I call,’ and we don’t want this.”
The New York Times makes no mention, of course, of the fact that CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. CAIR operatives, including Hussam Ayloush when I challenged him directly and repeatedly to do so during a radio debate, have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several of its former officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. Two of its other officials have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR also was involved in the Flying Imams’ intimidation suit against the passengers who reported their suspicious behavior.
Amid the tension, Muslim leaders say their communities are doing more than ever to help in investigations — a fact they say is overlooked by many Americans.
A November report by the Muslim Public Affairs Council said Muslim communities had helped law enforcement agencies foil almost 4 of every 10 Qaeda-related terrorism plots since the Sept. 11 attacks. The report is based on information the group draws from news media accounts, affidavits, academic studies and other sources.
“There is an enormous countertrend that has emerged within the last few years,” said Alejandro Beutel, the author of the report. “People are saying: ‘This is a serious issue, and we are dealing with this. We are not tolerating this.’ “
The Investigative Project has a new report out on MPAC. Check it out here. Money quote: “MPAC’s report, Building Bridges, sets its sights on local and federal law enforcement, which is the front line of U.S. national security. Contrary to the report’s title, claiming that its recommendations will strengthen America, MPAC’s superficial endorsement of methods to address radicalization, in fact, weakens American law enforcement and intelligence operations and furthers the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood global strategy to undermine the West.
Even as federal law enforcement officials have been criticized, they say their investigations have been strengthened by their outreach efforts and good relations with Muslims, including here in Oregon. […]
And so law enforcement officials hurry to repair relations with Muslims in Oregon. The picture here is entirely the reverse of what it ought to be.