The same day this article came out, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page piece by Yaroslav Trofimov, author of The Siege of Mecca, a book that must be read by anyone who hopes to understand modern jihadi movements. The piece he filed from Egypt reported on Coptic Christians. They, too, are feeling persecuted. But for Egyptian Christians it’s not just a feeling. Islamic militants set fire to Ayman Anwar Mitri’s home. When he went inside, they beat him with the charred remains of his furniture. Then they cut off his ear with a box cutter. Not to worry. Qureishi Salama, an Egyptian Islamist leader, tells Trofimov: “Only those Christians who did something wrong should be fearful.” If such treatment of Christians in Egypt — as well as the oppression of religious and ethnic minorities throughout the Muslim world — troubles the American Muslims interviewed by Fisher, we don’t hear about it.
It happens that I read both the Trofimov and Fisher articles while attending a conference on counterterrorism in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Two of the speakers at the conference were practicing Muslims. Neither complained about their feelings; neither told us they were taking anti-depressants or smoking.
Instead, Salim Mansur, an author and professor at the University of Western Ontario, emphasized how serious is the threat posed to Canada, America, and Europe because, he said, “jihadism is a means to snuff out the democratic experiment.”
Raheel Raza is an award-winning writer, diversity consultant, and grassroots activist. She’s been seen on both American and Canadian television arguing that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and other Muslims who insist on building a mosque at Ground Zero in New York are, at the very least, grossly insensitive. She is concerned about the “hundreds of Islamic schools training young Muslims to become jihadis and terrorists.”
Near the very end of his article, Fisher does quote an American Muslim who “heard an imam — ‘a guy with a long beard and a Saudi dagger’ — teach that music is forbidden and dancing is forbidden and boys and girls should be educated separately. ‘I went to this imam’s board members and I said, ‘Look at what you’re shoving into your children.’ There were 700 people in that room listening to that crazy guy. And the board members said, ‘Yes, we know, but we don’t know what to do.’”
Why don’t they know what to do? Is the problem that it would be dangerous to stand up to such an imam? Or does the imam come not just with a Saudi dagger but also with Saudi money that’s difficult to refuse? The story provides not a clue.
Perhaps that’s because reporting on those whose reading of the Koran not only justifies but demands the spilling of infidel and apostate blood might distract from the authorized narrative of American Muslims as victims.
They’re angry about it and their anger, we’ve been warned, may “take control” of them. So someone needs to change his ways — and that would be you. That’s the mainstream media’s story and they’re sticking to it.
— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and political Islam.