Terrorism and truth

Isaac Martin, Political Columnist

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The recent, tragic bombings on New York’s affluent west side may have injured “only” 29 people, but the political effect may be vastly greater.  In the aftermath of the attack and the manhunt that ensued, it became clear that political expedience trumps truth, even to the detriment of public safety.

The day after the attack, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that there was “no evidence that this was a terror incident.” He stated this even as NYPD and FBI agents were tracking Ahmad Khan Rahami, a known ISIS sympathizer.

There is a disconnect there. While there is merit in being sensitive and measured in a crisis, in this case, it seems like the mayor refused to acknowledge an obvious truth. However, this isn’t the first time public figures have refused to call these attacks what they are: the product of radical jihadi terrorists.

Another example of such disingenuity occurred in Orlando, Florida, in June. A predominantly gay nightclub was attacked by a man who called police and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. There couldn’t be a more cut-and-dry case of radical jihadism, could there?

Wrong. In the wake of that shooting spree, several major media outlets hypothesized this to be the result of right-wing, Christian-hate rhetoric. It seemed somewhat plausible at the time to speculate this; however, as the smoke began to clear, the narrative didn’t change. As a result, something surprising was published.

In what would have been an ironic piece but for the tragic events which inspired it, Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula ran an article in their periodical of terrorism, Inspire magazine, that urged avoiding attacks against minorities. This seems sensible enough – don’t kill innocent people.

Their motives were less pristine, unfortunately. They instead “advise targeting areas where the Anglo-Saxon community is generally populated.” This terrorist organization told its followers to kill white people, so the message doesn’t get distorted by the media. If this Inspire piece isn’t smoking gun evidence of media bias in America, I don’t know what is.

Benjamin Franklin once quipped that, “any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.” The growing threat of terror in America and the unwillingness of key media members and statespeople to call radical jihadism by its name will not go away by merely complaining.

We must recognize that no, not every Muslim is our enemy. In fact, radical jihadis kill more Muslims than any other group. We need to unite together against this very present danger. Get involved!

Write letters to your local newspaper (ahem, like this one), don’t be afraid to express your views in conversation and make a difference right where you are at. Yet this can only be accomplished if we as a society are free to call a spade a spade without being labeled an “Islamophobe.”

Disagree with the author? He would love to hear your thoughts at [email protected].