On Jihadists

Ken AshfordGodstuff, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Like Glenn Greenwald, I am getting increasingly tired of the Malkin-types who make it their daily mission to try to scare everybody into thinking that Muslims — even American Muslins — are all hell-bent on committing acts of terrorists

If an imam prays to Mecca before boarding a plane in some remote airport, the right wing punditry — Rush, Malkin, the Fox kids — run with it for days, hyping outrageous fear and loathing …despite the fact that the imam was merely practicing his religion.

If olive-skinned Americans are buying a lot of cellphones all of a sudden, its time to alert the authorities (never mind that it is the holiday season, and everybody is buying cellphones as gifts).

For the fearmongers, the drumbeat goes on and on and on…

What then, I wonder, would they make of this?

Even in death, the Rev. Jerry Falwell rouses the most volatile of emotions.

A small group of protesters gathered near the funeral services to criticize the man who mobilized Christian evangelicals and made them a major force in American politics — often by playing on social prejudices.

A group of students from Falwell’s Liberty University staged a counterprotest.

And Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car.

The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.

"There were indications that there were others involved in the manufacturing of these devices and we are still investigating these individuals with the assistance of ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms], Virginia State Police and FBI. At this time it is not believed that these devices were going to be used to interrupt the funeral services at Liberty University," the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

Three other suspects are being sought, one of whom is a soldier from Fort Benning, Ga., and another is a high school student. No information was available on the third suspect.

This is the MySpace page for the alleged Liberty University bomber, Mark David Uhl. He lists his religion as "Christian," claims to be Caucasian and straight, says that among the types of music he enjoys is "worship" music, and vows that he "will join the ARMY as an officer after college" (emphasis in original). He also indicates that he is now in the Army ROTC, and advises that his name, "Mark," means "Mighty Warrior."

His favorite book is the Bible. He claims to be a "Solider of Christ." The first MySpace friend he lists is "Jesus".

His is not an isolated case:

A couple of weeks ago, Dave Neiwert examined an arrest in Austin, Texas of a pro-life activist planning an Eric-Rudolph-like bombing of an abortion clinic, along with the arrests of members of the "Alabama Free Militia" who were stockpiling grenades (h/t Hume’s Ghost). Just today, USA Today reported on the problems law enforcement is facing from vigilantes and other lawbreakers who resort to violence to advance their anti-immigration agenda, and a Free Republic employee and anti-immigration activist was recently arrested for bringing large numbers of weapons to an anti-immigration protest and having Molotov cocktails in his home (h/t reader BR).

My point is not to say that anyone who is Christian is a potential bomber.  That, of course, is not only silly, but insulting.  My point is to suggest that if the religion had been changed — if the Liberty University bomber had been Islamic and a follower of the Koran — Malkin and her ilk would condemn not only the man, but ALL believers of Islam ("See?  Islam is a religion of peace?  Well, what about this guy?!?")

The vast majority of American Christians, anti-abortionists, anti-immigration people — like the vast majority of American Muslims — are peaceful and sincere and condemn all forms of terrorism.  It is wrong to paint an entire swath of people — of any faith — based on the criminal and evil activities of a few outliers.

Extremism is the enemy here.  Islamic extremism, Christian extremism — it’s all bad.  But that should never be used to condemn Islamism or Christianity or anything else as a whole.