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July 5, 2007

Oh Where Oh Where Could A Common Thread Be?' (Updated)

It's getting harder and harder to categorize posts these days, when writing about the MSM's coverage on terrorism.
James Taranto's piece at NRO today points to the outlandishly laughable lengths the MSM goes to in order to avoid associating terrorism and suicide bombers with anything to do with Islam when what is needed is for Muslims themselves, along with the rest of us, to recognize that terrorism and suicide bombers in todays world are overwhelmingly associated with Islam and the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the Islamists that are redefining Islam to suit their own agenda. And when people ask "where are the moderate voices of Islam?", one must exclaim that they are being suffocated by misguided political correctness and by Islamist influence within the mainstream media and the government.

As M. Zuhdi Jasser wrote in, The Mainstream Media: Islamist Facilitators: "Stories about Islam and Muslims have been more and more ubiquitous since 9-11 and now are actually commonplace. Yet, the actual debate within the Muslim community has barely begun. Where's the disconnect? Look no further than the Islamist enablers in the media."

Take for example, in what makes for a great Saturday Night Live routine, an excerpt from David Rising's article in the AP in which he's doing some "hard-core" digging into the backgrounds of the men allegedly behind the weekend's foiled terror plots. It reminds me of this clip from the 1/2 Hour News Show - "What do they have in common?"

Astonishingly, as in the above video, in David Rising's piece he points to some nebulous "Diverse Group" as allegedly involved in the recent British plot:
... They had diverse backgrounds, coming from countries around the globe, but all shared youth and worked in medicine. They also had a common goal, authorities suspect: to bring havoc and death to the heart of Britain.

The eight people held Tuesday in the failed car bombing plot include one doctor from Iraq and two from India. There is a physician from Lebanon and a Jordanian doctor and his medical assistant wife. Another doctor and a medical student are thought to be from the Middle East. . .

"To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area--I think that's a planning impossibility," said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London's Chatham House think tank.

"A much more likely scenario is they were here together, they discovered that they shared some common ideology, and then they decided to act on this while here in the UK," he said.

In addressing the obvious absurdities in the AP piece, Taranto begins by noting that although the project failed in its ultimate goal, no doubt there are lessons here for the corporate world in how to bring diverse people together in a common purpose, and then goes on to focus on what the AP fails to focus on (as is characteristic of the MSM in addressing terrorism issues) - what the terrorists have in common rather than their differences.

Bob Ayers suggests that the suspects may share "some common ideology," but what could it be? We noticed a few clues that may warrant further investigation.

Here is a list of the suspects' names and nationalities from Rising's piece:

  • Muhammad Haneef, from India. ... Another Indian doctor."

  • Mohammed Jamil Asha, "from Jordan of Palestinian heritage," and his wife, Marwa, nationality not specified.

  • Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla, from Iraq.

  • Khalid Ahmed, from Lebanon.

  • Two unnamed suspects "thought to be from the Middle East. . . . British media said they were from Saudi Arabia, but police refused to comment."

So the countries from the suspects hail or may hail are India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia. Well, that is diverse. Certainly there's no pattern here.

Or is there? Rising's report includes this intriguing bit of information:

Dr. Shiv Panbe, former chairman of the British International Doctors Association, said the two Indian nationals in custody were Muslims.

That got us to wondering what the religious background of the other suspects was. Rising doesn't say; he was probably embarrassed to ask. After all, religion and politics are two things you just don't discuss.

But looking at that list of countries again, we had a hunch. We checked the CIA World Factbook and found these statistics:

  • Iraq is 97% Muslim.
  • Jordan is 92% Sunni Muslim.
  • Lebanon is 59.7% Muslim.
  • The West Bank is 75% Muslim, and the Gaza strip is 98.7% Muslim.
  • Saudi Arabia is 100% (!) Muslim.

Now, maybe the Lebanese guy is a Christian. Maybe the chaps from "the Middle East" are Israelis, not Saudis. Maybe the fellow who is of "Palestinian heritage" is part of the violent settlers' movement. But there is also the possibility, however remote, that all eight of these terror suspects are Muslim.

Why would that matter? Well, last month, Reuters quoted Jessica Stern, a Harvard expert on violent extremism, as saying, "The problems arising from Christian or Jewish extremism are not threatening to the world in the same way as Muslim extremism is."

Dear reader, we strenuously caution you against jumping to any conclusions. Maybe the suspects are animal-rights zealots or antiabortion fanatics. Even if they are all Muslims, who's to say that isn't a crazy coincidence? We're just putting this out here as a lead for David Rising or some other enterprising reporter to follow up on.

Continue reading, there's more ...

Cross posted from Hyscience

Posted by Richard at July 5, 2007 2:31 PM

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