"Last week, four Southern Baptists were arrested for plotting to blow up St Patrick's Cathedral. The men, who became born-again Christians in prison, wanted to kill and terrorize Catholics."
If that was the opening paragraph in a newspaper story you were reading, your gut reaction would be – huh? Baptists don't do things like that in the name of their faith. Neither do Catholics, Presbyterians, Seventh Day Adventists or Mormons.
But when we read the headline in a May 21st New York Times' story – "4 Accused of Bombing Plot at Bronx Synagogues" – it was ho-hum stuff.
It wasn't exactly a revelation when The Times informed us, in the 9th paragraph, "They are all Muslims, a law enforcement official said" – just in case you thought the conspiracy involved Episcopalians, Rotarians or the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
If you hear about a hijacking, suicide bombing, sniper attack or the beheading of a hostage anywhere in the world, your first reaction is: a Muslim did it. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 a Muslim did do it.
In the case of The Newburgh Four, here's what we know:
1. Their names are David "Daoud" Williams, James "Abdul Rahman" Cromitie, Onta "Hamza" Williams and Laguerre "Amin" Payen. At least two were prison-converts to the Big Peaceful.
2. They planned to blow up two synagogues with what they thought was C-4 explosives, supplied by the FBI.
3. They wanted to obtain Stinger missiles to shoot down military aircraft.
4. As Assistant US Attorney Eric Snyder stated when the defendants were arraigned in federal court, "These are people who were eager to bring death to Jews and the Jewish community."
5. According to an informant, Cromitie said of the Jewish people: "I hate those motherf-----s, those f---ing Jewish bastards. I would like to get a synagogue." Also, while scoping out a Jewish community center as a potential target, Cromitie is alleged to have said of nearby pedestrians that if he had a gun at the time, he would "shoot each one in the head."
If Islam is such a "religion of peace," why do they have to keep reminding us? Nobody's running around saying "Christianity is a religion of peace" or "Judaism is a religion of peace" – because neither proposition is in doubt.
Yet, George W. Bush felt compelled to regularly reassure us (especially after 9/11) that Islam was about as peaceful as a religion can get.
Speaking at a 2005 dinner marking the end of Ramadan, Bush's Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said Mohammedanism was the "religion of love and peace." For Condi, being peaceful wasn't enough. Islam had to be warm and cuddly too. "We in America know the benevolence that is at the heart of Islam," Rice absurdly remarked. "We've seen it in many ways" – including in glorious Technicolor, in the video of the decapitation of Daniel Pearl.
President Obama boasts of his Muslim relations and his upbringing in Jakarta. In a speech to the Turkish parliament during his first trip abroad as president, Barack Hussein Obama assured the Muslin world that America "will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country."
When was the last time a U.S. president conveyed deep appreciation for the Christian faith?
So, Islam is a religion of peace and love, as well as a benefactor of humanity. If this is intuitively obvious, why do they have to keep saying it? Perhaps because the vision of a compassionate Islam is so often obscured by explosions, flying body parts, collapsing skyscrapers, rolling heads, and rabid imams preaching hate the Jews, hate the Christians, hate America, hate the West, etc.
If Islam is so gentle and kindly, why does it have such appeal for the most violent element in our society – those filled with resentment and rage, who like to hurt people (a lot)?
Question: Under what circumstances is an infidel most likely to convert to Islam: 1. While volunteering at a hospice or homeless shelter? 2. While working at a day-care center? 3.While planting flowers and singing Kumbaya at a peace rally? or 4. While incarcerated at a state or federal prison? What's that? Someone told you, didn't they?
Conversions behind bars are so common that Mitch Silber, chief NYPD intelligence analyst, says cops have a name for it "Prislam." Chuck Colson of The Prison Fellowship Ministries was warning us of the coming jailhouse jihad almost a decade ago.
More than 2 million are imprisoned in the United States, of which an estimated 6% are members of the religion of rest-in-peace. Sometimes their real-world experience at hurting people (a lot) is put to good use as newly-minted Muslims.
Have you ever noticed how converts to a faith, or those with a newfound commitment to the religion of their birth, tend to be, well – nicer. Born-again Christians – including those who come from dysfunctional backgrounds – often exemplify the New Testament admonition to be "salt and light," likewise committed Catholics and those who've moved from a secular Jewish identity to orthodoxy.
Islam is the exception.
By all accounts, John Walker Lindh, born into an upper-middle class family, was as normal as a child of broken home in Marin County, California can get. Then, at age 16, he converted to Islam and began calling himself Suleyman al-Faris.
In 1998, at age 17, John/Suleyman traveled to Yemen, to study Arabic so he could read the Koran in its original language. From there, the religion-of-peacenik went to Pakistan to study at a madrassa. The spring of 2001 found him at an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.
When captured by U.S. forces in November 2001, Lindh was fighting for the blissful rule of the Taliban. Now, he's serving a 20-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana, and probably proselytizing the other inmates, when he isn't studying his peace-manual.
Other converts to Islam, unlikely to be mistaken for Mister Rogers, include:
• John Muhammad – Born John Allen Williams, he converted to Islam in 1987. Mr. Prophet was a member of the Nation of Islam for a time and reportedly provided security for Farrakhan's 1995 "Million Man March." Along with his boy companion, Lee Boyd Malvo, Muhammad shot and killed 16 people in 7 states in the fall of 2002. In custody, Muhammad told authorities that he was following in the footsteps of his idol, Osama bin Laden. He's currently on death row in Virginia.
• Jose Padilla (AKA: Abdullah Al Muhajir) – Joining a Puerto Rican street gang as a teen, Padilla compiled an impressive juvenile and adult rap sheet, including attempted theft, aggravated assault and unlawful weapons possession. In 1998, Padilla became a jihadi tourist, traveling to Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan in search of the peace only Islam can bring. Padilla was trained at the camp of an al Qaeda affiliate in Afghanistan in 2000. Bin Laden deputy Abu Zubaydah sent Padilla back to the United States with $20,000 and an elaborate scheme to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb." Apprehended, he's now serving the remainder of a 17-year sentence.
• Richard Reid (Aka: Abdul Raheem, AKA: the Thom McAnn of terrorists) – Born in London the son of a Jamaican immigrant, he spent time in a number of British prisons, where he converted to the ROP. As a member of al Qaeda, Reid was assigned to blow up American Airlines Flight 63, en route from Paris to Miami, by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes. In this religious duty, Reid/Raheem failed, and is now serving a life sentence in the U.S.
• Sgt. Hasan Akbar – While stationed at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait (preparing to deploy to Iraq), on March 23, 2003, Akbar attacked other soldiers with grenades and a rifle, killing two officers and wounding 14 servicemen. His diary revealed a man of all-consuming hatred. ("Destroying America is my greatest goal.") Prior to the murders, Akbar confessed in his journal "I will have to decide to kill my Muslim brothers fighting for Saddam Hussein or my battle buddies." It didn't take much thought. A military court convicted Akbar of the murders and sentenced him to death. He temporarily resides at Ft. Leavenworth, on his way to a rendezvous with 72 virgins.
The apologists for Islam (Crescent-kissers) respond that these ex-cons and psychos are no more representative of Islam than Bernie Madoff is of Jewish financiers or Ted Haggard (former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who had a relationship with a gay hooker) is of Christian leaders.
This is a plausible argument, at first blush. But if the Johnny jihadists, snipers, and homicidal anti-Semites got Islam wrong, who gets it right?
How about the Muslim-American groups which, in a rare show of empathy, rushed to condemn the Newburgh Four, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American –Islamic Relations?
Putting aside the fact that each of these groups has questionable connections, what are they actually doing to fight terrorism other than paying lip-service to the cause?
Robert Spencer, the editor of Jihad Watch, muses: "One might wonder why Muslim groups don't become more proactive, and institute programs in mosques and Islamic schools in the West (as well as in the Islamic world) to teach Muslims why the views of Osama bin Laden et al are wrong, and how true Islam eschews violence against and hatred of unbelievers. Yet CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and the rest have never instituted or even called for such a program. They are ready with the condemnations after arrests or explosions, but why wait passively? Why not head off jihadist activity by Muslims"? This is a rhetorical question.
Who gets Islam right? How about a Palestinian religious figure who took the bold move of attending the Second Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace in 2008? Attendees vowed to "condemn any negative representation" of each others religions.
For Zaid Abu Alhaj that pledge lasted about a year. On April 3, 2009, he gave a sermon on Al-Aqsa TV which included the following prediction: "The time will come, by Allah's will, when their property will be destroyed and their children will be exterminated, and no Jew or Zionist will be left on the face of the earth."
Oh, fine, this crazy Palestinian cleric probably also doesn't understand the religion he's practiced his entire life either. How about Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, who – as imam of Mecca's Grand Mosque – holds the most prestigious Moslem pulpit in the world?
In a 2003 sermon, Al Sudais prayed that Allah would "terminate" the Jews, who he called "the scum of humanity, the rats of the world, prophet killers … pigs and monkeys," also "evil," "tyrannical," 'treacherous," and part of a "continuum of deceit."
Cairo's Al-Azhar University is the Vatican of the Muslim world. Is it reasonable to suppose that Sheik Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, grand imam of Al-Azhar since 1996, knows a thing or two about Islam?
The Shriek tells us the Koran condemns Jews for "their own particular degenerate characteristics" including "corrupting" the words of Allah, "consuming the people's wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics, caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness." But, there is hope. "All Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not."
You'd think the Muslim chaplain at Harvard could put a happy face on his faith.
According to the April 14 Harvard Crimson, in an e-mail response to a query from a Muslim student, Taha Abdul-Basser wrote that there was "great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment [for apostates]) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand." Thankfully, the Islamic world isn't troubled by that darned hegemonic modern human rights discourse.
Harvard's official chaplain later explained that he was merely expressing a position that "I do not hold … personally" – but which contains "great wisdom" and which "one should not dismiss out of hand."
What is the West's response to the Rampaging Religion of Peace?
As Obama-appointed Director of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano doesn't have time to watch the jailhouse jihadists. She's too busy staking out pro-life demonstrations, NRA conventions and American Legion meetings. This is where the real danger to our national security lies, Napolitano informed us in the DHS report "Rightwing Extremism: Radicalization and Recruitment," issued on April 7.
Napolitano's counterpart in the United Kingdom, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, focuses on fighting evil Islamaphobes – witness her decision to ban the likes of Dutch parliamentarian and "Fitna"-producer Geert Wilders and talk-show host Michael Savage from the shores of Albion.
So PC is she that Smith wants British officials to begin referring to Islamic terrorism as "anti-Islamic activity." Not only are terrorists' acts no reflection on Islam, they're giving the religion of peace a bad name!
Smith knows Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. How? Muslims told her so. "As so many Muslims in the U.K. and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting terror, pain and grief." If I was a used-car salesman, I'd pray Smith would wander onto my lot.
In the U.K. each bombing and kill-the-infidels sermon becomes an indoctrination moment to assure the credulous that to call attention to slaughter committed in the name of Islam and condoned by the words of Islam (contained in the Koran), slanders Islam. Oh for the days when Labor governments only wanted to destroy Britain's economy, not the nation itself.
Napolitano prefers the designation "man-made disasters" to terrorism.
Obama is too busy fighting a war on capitalism and trying to close down Guantanamo (and mainstream the jihadists into the U.S. prison population) to pay much attention to an ideology backed by guns and bombs and bent on world domination.
The day is approaching when TV and radio broadcasts will be interrupted every 15 minutes with the message "Islam is – you betcha – a religion of peace." Otherwise, we're bound to forget.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.