The Corner

Culture

Politicians Aren’t Causing Anti-Muslim Hostility — Jihadists Are

Early this morning I was reading the “Daily 202″ — a daily news rundown and analysis from the Washington Post — and I ran across this paragraph:

HATEFUL WORDS HAVE REAL-LIFE CONSEQUENCES: There here have been two dozen attacks documented against Muslims in the U.S. since the Paris attacks, including a pig’s head being thrown at a mosque, according to USA Today. Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslims in Congress, announced that he received a death threat. He blames politicians for “fanning the flames of bigotry.”

There is no excuse for death threats or tossing a pig’s head at a mosque, but is it really the case that people are lashing out because of “hateful words” or because they might be upset at the deaths of 120 innocent people in Paris or 14 innocent people in San Bernardino? I would say that hateful acts have far more real-life consequences than hateful words. Indeed, there is no politician’s statement that is more inflammatory than actual murder and actual terrorism — especially when murder and terror occur on a large scale.

As I’ve said before, since 9/11 Americans have suffered more than 60,000 casualties in our war against jihadists, with thousands more suffering from lingering psychological wounds from grief, loss, and difficult deployments. We’ve watched as radical Muslims burn people alive, throw them off buildings, and chop off heads. In some parts of the Muslim world, mobs of Muslims will sometimes hunt down and kill Christians in the most vicious and gruesome of ways. We’ve seen ISIS attempt genocide, Boko Haram enslave girls, and al Qaeda kill journalists at their desks in Paris. Yet Americans have responded with remarkable grace, and anti-Muslim hate crimes are rare indeed.

Yes, it’s true that many Americans dislike Islam. It’s true that many Americans want to either ban Muslim immigration or dramatically restrict entry into the United States (I’m in Andy McCarthy’s camp on the issue). But don’t blame political rhetoric for this hostility. Blame actions — actions taken in the name of Islam. 

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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