The headline on the CNN website said it all–or seemed to: “Religion’s Week From Hell.”
Then came the first paragraph: “Whether you believe that religious violence is fueled by faith or is a symptom of larger factors–political instability, pvoerty, cultural chaos–one thing seems clear: Last week was hellish for religion.”
The story–published on February 18–then went on to outline a series of atrocities committed in the name of religion:
“Across several continents, including North America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa, scores of religious believers suffered and died in brutal attacks over the past seven days.”
And here was the day-by-day chronicle of slaughter:
- Boko Haram, the Islamic group based in Nigeria, attacked several towns in Cameroon, kidnapping 20 people. They also exploded a car bomb in Niger. At the time, the death toll was unclear.
- Craig Hicks, an athiest who ranted against religion on the Internet, was charged with killing three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. At least 31 people were killed in Baghdad by ISIS bombs.
- Al Qaeda seized a key military base in Baihan, Yemen, killing four Yemeni soldiers. They then took control of the town’s weaponry.
- With the United States’ having already closed its embasy in Yemen, Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabia did the same.
- Boko Haram killed 21 people in attacks on Mbuta and Akida villages in Nigeria.
- The Islamic terror group also killed four civilians and a soldier in neighboring Chad.
- In Peshawar, Pakistan, the Taliban attacked a Shia mosque, killing 19 and wounding dozens.
- In Copenhagen, Denmark, an Islamic gunman fired at attendees of a free-speech forum, where a Swedish cartoonist was scheduled to speak. His alleged crime: Depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Casualties: Three officers wounded and one 55-year-old man killed.
- Hours later, the same terrorist visited a Copenhagen synagogue. Opening fire, he wounded two officers and killing a private security guard.
- ISIS released a video showing its members beheading more than a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.
* * * * *
So much for “religion’s week from hell.”
Except that the title of this story was completely misleading. It would have been more accurately entitled: “Islam’s Week of Hell.”
ISIS member beheading a helpless captive
Of the 13 atrocities detailed above, all but one showcased Islamics as the murderers. The single exception was that of Craig Hicks, an athiest who was charged with shooting three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
It was this case–and not any of the others–that brought Muslims to demand “justice.” Muslims immediately urged the Obama administration to investigate the murders as a hate crime.
Suzanne Barakat, the sister of one of the victims, said the students had been murdered because they were Muslims. She said that the killings should be considered an act of terrorism: “It’s time people call it what it is.”
But getting Islamics to label other Islamics as terrorists is an entirely different matter.
According to author Ronald Kessler, this has caused serious problems for the FBI. In his 2011 book, The Secrets of the FBI, Kessler notes the refusal of the Islamic community to identify known or potential terrorists within its ranks.
Says Arthur M. Cummings, the Bureau’s executive assistant director for national security: “I had this discussion with the director of a very prominent Muslim organization here in [Washington] D.C. And he said, ‘Why are you guys always looking at the Muslim community?’ ”
“I can name the homegrown cells, all of whom are Muslim, all of whom were seeking to kill Americans,” replied Cummings. “It’s not the Irish, it’s not the French, it’s not the Catholics, it’s not the Protestants. It’s the Muslims.”
Occasionally, Muslims will condemn Al Qaeda. But “rarely do we have them coming to us and saying, ‘There are three guys in the community that we’re very concerned about.'” said Cummings.
“They don’t want anyone to know they have extremists in their community. Well, beautiful. Except do you read the newspapers? Everybody already knows it. The horse has left the barn.
“So there’s a lot of talk about engagement. But, realistically, we’ve got a long, long way to go.”
At one community meeting, an Islamic leader suggested to Cummings that then-FBI director Robert Meuller III should pose for a picture with his group’s members. The reason: To show that Islamics are partners in the “war on terror.”
“When you bring to my attention real extremists who are here to plan and do something, who are here supporting terrorism,” said Cummings, “then I promise you, I will have the director stand up on the stage with you.”
“That could never happen,” replied the Islamic leader. “We would lose our constituency. We could never admit to bringing someone to the FBI.”