Boston Bomber Exposes Islamist Secret
April 23, 2013
Now he's in trouble.
It is one thing for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be seen on security camera videos placing one of the bombs that killed three people at last week's Boston Marathon.
But now he's really crossed a line.
Tsarnaev is telling investigators he and his brother were motivated by religion to plot their carnage, media reports citing anonymous federal sources say.
Radical Islam. It's a label banned by the Obama administration. National Islamist groups say it doesn't belong in conversations about terrorism. Tsarnaev didn't get the memo.
Recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, Dzhokhar told investigators from his hospital bed that he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev were driven by religious fervor and took their instructions from al-Qaida's Inspire magazine, NBC News reports. Anger at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fueled their rage, the Washington Post reports.
That motivation echoes justifications offered by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan for the Fort Hood shooting spree that killed 13 people and Faisal Shahzad's sentencing rant about his attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010. "The crusading U.S. and NATO forces who have occupied the Muslim lands under the pretext of democracy and freedom for the last nine years and are saying with their mouths that they are fighting terrorism, I say to them, we don't accept your democracy nor your freedom, because we already have Sharia law and freedom," Shahzad told the court. "Furthermore, brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the flood that will follow me."
Despite this candor from terrorists, the Obama administration and Islamist groups have argued that referring to terrorists' religious motivations somehow grants them religious legitimacy. "Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against jihadists," CIA Director John Brennan said in 2009 when he was White House terrorism adviser. "Describing terrorists in this way, using the legitimate term 'jihad,' which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal, risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve."
Similarly, Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Paul Stockton squirmed and obfuscated when asked about the role radical Islam played in past terror plots.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tried to stem the tide about radical Islam that Tsarnaev unleashed by issuing a news release Tuesday. It decries the focus on a radical Islamic motive for the Boston Marathon bombings as inherently bigoted. The "wave of inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric" is solely due to the Tsarnaevs' Muslim faith, the statement said.
CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad "said the recent spike in hate rhetoric comes in the wake of a coordinated long-term effort by Islamophobic activists and groups to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims."
One imagines they'll give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a good talking-to for demonizing Islam in his statements to investigators.
The Tsarnaev case threatens the Islamist narrative that radical Islamic ideology in terror attacks should be ignored or minimized.
As former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani writes in Tuesday's Washington Post, the Tsarnaevs' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, offered an example for Muslims to follow. In an impromptu exchange with reporters outside his home, Tsarni expressed profound grief toward the victims, acknowledged "somebody radicalized" his nephews, and said they were "losers" who brought shame to the family."
This, Nomani writes, "accomplished something that 11 years of post-9/11 press releases, news conferences and soundbites by too many American Muslim leaders has failed to do on the issue of radicalization and terrorism: with raw, unfettered emotion, he owned up to the problem within."
Contrary to the expectations of a backlash against Muslims described by Islamist groups, Tsarni was not met with rank bigotry. He was hailed for his heartfelt response and became an Internet sensation.
"And the collectivist-minded Muslim community needs to learn an important lesson from Tsarni," Nomani writes. "It's time to acknowledge the dishonor of terrorism within our communities, not to deny it because of shame. As we negotiate critical issues of ethnicity, religious ideology and identity as potential motivators for conflict, we have to establish basic facts."
Nomani is an individual Muslim, and someone outside the national advocacy groups which claim to speak for Muslim Americans. There is little indication those national organizations are ready to meet the challenge. Hassan Shibly, director of the Tampa office for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), rules out religion as a factor in an interview with On Islam.
Asked whether Islam, a "wicked understanding" of it or American policy influenced the Tsarnaevs, Shibly answered, "None of the above" and cast the brothers as mentally ill. "No mentally healthy individual can accept the intentional attack against innocent civilians, especially not in the name of any divine faith."
But reports of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's radicalization grow more numerous by the hour. He frequented jihadi websites, officials told the Associated Press Tuesday. He posted jihadi videos to his Youtube account. He bought into conspiracy theories and expressed "hat the world pictures Islam as a violent religion," a former brother-in-law told the New York Times Wednesday.
Examining the Tsarnaevs' radical Islamic beliefs is not a statement about any other Muslims, but an acknowledgement of the reality that led them to murder innocent people at a marathon race. Motivation is relevant in a crime. There is no outcry when motive is discussed in radical supremacist or anti-government violence. There should be no chilling of discussion about radical Islam when it clearly is present.
But liberal academics and media figures continue to try to quash such talk. On HBO's "Real Time," host Bill Maher – himself a liberal – dismissed California State San Bernandino's Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism Director Brian Levin's accusation of Islamophobia as "liberal bulls**t."
His students, and even his children's dentist, are Muslims, Levin said, and are "fine, upstanding" people. By focusing on radical Islam, Maher is "promoting Islamic hatred."
Maher shot that down, saying there's a problem when religiously motivated violence emanates more from one faith than all others.
One thing Levin got right is that there is vast heterogeneity among the world's 1.4 billion Muslims. That's why national Islamist groups which claim to speak for Muslim Americans can't be considered reliable even though reporters and many government officials treat them as though they are. CAIR is lashing out, trying to cast the focus on radical Islam as a bigoted conspiracy to marginalize all Muslim Americans.
You won't see CAIR or other Islamist groups standing by Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, or Sacramento Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad. Politically, there's probably very little on which these three agree, reflecting that diversity Levin referenced. But they all believe Muslims need to be bolder in confronting the radical segments within their own faith community.
"There is a deep soulful battle of identity raging within the Muslim consciousness domestically and abroad between Westernism and liberalism," Jasser said this week. "In essence the Islamists confront every situation in a selfish 'we are the victims' mentality and the rest of us non-Islamist Muslims need to instead respond with a louder and more real leadership and say: 'We will not be victims.'"
In a 2011 column, Ahmad called it "a mistake in my view for American Muslims to categorize every and all suspicion or criticism of Islam and Muslims as simply the result of islamophobia. To do so, only serves to perpetuate the view that many Americans have of Muslims as irrational people, who cannot be trusted. This makes our fight against islamophobia using our current tactics, a winless and counterproductive campaign.
"The obsessive American Muslim campaign against islamophobia and the questionable tactics we are employing to that end, says a lot about who we are as a people of faith. It implies that we reject our own religious axioms of being able to withstand criticism, hatred, and accepting that not everyone will share our point of view. It also says that we have very little spiritual fortitude."
Jasser, Imam Ahmad and Nomani display confidence in their faith. They aren't afraid of the debate. If only national Islamist groups could be so bold.
Read More: Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, radical Islam, John Brennan, Eric Holder, Paul Stockton, CAIR, Nihad Awad, Asra Nomani, Ruslan Tsarni, Zuhdi Jasser, Hassan Shibly, Bill Maher, Brian Levin, Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad
Reader comments on this item
Behind Boston... You don't get it
May 29, 2013 03:23
Almost all of your diatribe is a complaint that one can't blame all Muslims for the acts of a few. Of course, this is true. But what you have totally missed is that non-Muslims are looking for a strong response from inside Islam - not a continued passive complaint of " I didn't do it." We know you didn't do it, but we also know that radical Islam can only be removed by Muslims themselves. The problem is that this is not happening.
Islam will only get respect on this issue when we see the great majority of non-violent Muslims speak out loudly against their radical leaders. Why aren't Muslim leaders that preach hate being removed? Where are the Muslims screaming for world-wide reform of their pirated religion? Why aren't we seeing this vast majority of Muslims that disagree with radical Islamist thought on TV day in and day out calling for the removal of leaders and the end to the behavior that is radical? Where are the marches of huge numbers of Muslims against radical Islam? Have all contributions to radical Islamists been cut off? Are Muslims loudly pressuring agressive Islamist governments to stop their behavior? I feel certain that Muslims willing to engage in such actions in the US will feel support, be granted media time, be given editorial space, etc. If not, please expose such blockades.
Islam's lack of action and revolt against radicals makes others feel that you comply. (And please don't state that other religions do this or are worse - we know this but they are wrong too and need to act.)
Of course, very few Muslims engage in violence, hatred, and terrorism. However, the lack of firm, drastic, and swift action from the Muslim community to remove this aspect from their religion leads to continued skepticism. How about a media campaign to condemn radical Islam? This would be a good start to back up your claims that the vast majority of Muslims disagree with radical Islam. It will also pave the way for the accpetance that Muslims desire and desrve in the US.
Just a thought
Submitted by Pork lover, May 13, 2013 20:50
Have you ever notice how the cowardly Muslims in the United States and throughout the world never harshly speak out against how their religion has been hijacked by radical Muslim terrorists? Their so called leadership is mute on the subject, and the Muslim communities around the country bury their heads in the sand. They are either scared if they speak out against terrorism, or they really approve of these terrorist acts behind closed doors. You would think if bombers and killers took over any other religion on this planet, the members and leaders of that faith found would band together to protect the true faithful, and do all in their power to regain back their religion, that does not seem to be the case with the Islamic faith. Maybe this is the reason others have a skeptical view of the Islamic faith. One day in my opinion the worlds various countries are going to finally reach a point where we have had enough of these terrorists acts, and the non Islamic people throughout the world will clean up that faith for the Islamic leadership. The world cannot be held hostage by Islamic radicals hiding behind a religion. The only way to stop this nonsense is brute force, that is all they understand.
Behind the Boston Attacks
Submitted by Khalilah Sabra, May 3, 2013 01:11
When the Ku-Klux-Klan justified their lynchings of African-Americans by quoting Christian scripture, no one considered them a part of Christianity. When Eric Rudolph bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998, he quoted the Bible to support his brutality and declared that Christianity was his mandate and a reason for vindication. Despite his self-proclaimed Christian motivation, his act was seen as political rather than religiously inspired.
However, when terrorists cite Islamic beliefs to justify murder and madness, the mainstream is quick to call the deadly actions part of Islam.
The rationale behind much of this writing is that the convoluted problems in our country are not chiefly matters of injustice, inequality, or religious racism, but one of insufficient information about the religious teaching of Islam. If Americans could simply learn "who Muslims are" in this expansive country, we'd be in a better position to address the methods by which this nation drew up an indictment against a whole people.
Amid the political fear-mongering and bigotry, American Muslims have been waiting to exhale. Undeniably, part of our lack of exhilaration has been due to the evolution of a minority of fighting "faithfuls" committed to disseminating their version of Islam through violence. Just when you thought there was enough ways to justify intolerance, the terrorist attack in Boston widened the clash of culture between the West and Islam and the terms of atonement became more wearisome.
The extremists' choice to die for a cause has made life difficult to live for many Islamic practitioners.
Though leaders in the Muslim world and America have been working twenty-four-seven for over a decade with the United States against extremism, the terms that govern a Muslim's access to and use of American democracy are becoming more restricted. They have been committed to developing and implementing support programs and processes that add value to America and its citizens. The committed few have done all they can to ensure that interacting with Muslims is a satisfying and rewarding experience for non-Muslims while seeking to live out core values – respect, responsibility, and spiritual integrity. However, the sins of Osama and those who have chosen to follow his bloody footsteps have made the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims so tangled that only God may be able to unravel it.
In population and territory, the West is shrinking, but the level of faith-based debate in this country not increasing- even as Muslim minorities grow and become more determined to claim the rights denied them in their birth countries. 9/11 created an era of barriers existing for Muslims within the social and political passageways of this country. That uneven path towards achieving civil parity and social liberty uncovered enormous moral contradictions in America's democratic consciousness. This was a raging conflict which immigrant Muslims were unprepared to cope with. The age of inclusion ended that September day in 2001 and the American mainstream is still not overwhelmingly convinced that multicultural tolerance and democracy's historic protocols can guarantee this country security from the kind of attacks experienced on that day. Since then, reason has been drowned out by sensationalist media which did all it could to make Islam a loaded word.
The fear of Americans was equal to the fright and devastation that Muslims suffered from the wild political contagion that right-wing political lawmakers caused to go viral once they confidently announced Islam to be an enemy of the State. Henceforth, it appeared that Muslim communities would have to be content to live in a country where Islamic beliefs are found to be offense and most of the nation's people were privy to shambolic religious illiteracy. America, the great hodgepodge of humankind, began to insist that Muslims surrender their collective identity in exchange for their individual civil liberties. Muslims found themselves in a strange and illusory time where they wanted to live but not be heard.
Self-preservation exceeded the need for self-definition.
There had never been a more dangerous time to be an Islamic practitioner in America. The Muslim identity as a group was ill-defined, misunderstood in a country that undermines non-traditional identities. Muslims stood mute. We failed to appreciate that nothing can be had by a group of people who chooses to make a statement by being silent.
What startled Islamic communities the most was the remarkable degree of religious racism that lingered almost everywhere. Most Americans knew that there would be some degree of discriminative backlash, but were shocked by how much it had intensified. Moreover, liberal allies known to befriend the Islamic communities showed little inclination to address the matter and were occasionally even baffled when it was brought it up. Many people seemed to view the backlash issue as security issue that needed to be sufficiently addressed.
In most cases, the Islamic leadership was given the distinct impression that their inquiries about this matter were not welcome. Following September 11, 2001, the United States government became officially involved in war on two fronts. Both involved Muslims, targets of the same campaign, though in different theaters. Although an invisible American minority painfully achieved high visibility, their voices were silenced. Islamic organizations inside the United States became the subject of numerous studies, special programs and religious profiling. The lives of Muslims were studied and their personalities examined, often with the great deal of confidence, by "experts" far away from the communities who did not know them but relied on data generated by researchers to come up with various conclusions that were used to justify political decisions.
Most of the time, these generalities were much too ill-defined, biased and relentless. It seemed at times like the world of experts picked up a two-ton cement block labeled "significant to national security" and placed it onto the backs of Muslims, then ordered them to bear the pain of it for hundreds of years. The size and weight of all this significance made it hard to see that there were law-abiding citizens under all that weight.
It was to easy to ignore how much of the existence of American Muslims had little to do with terrorism, extremism and national security issues, as well as how said American Muslims did not lend their lives to the generalities that would have led to even a mention in a national security report.
The lives of most Muslims are typically made up not of "insurgency doctrines" or "operational terrorist cells" but of smaller things like rent, income and the education of their children. A narrow lens is better than a wide one in discerning what a Muslim's life is really about and what distinguishes him from other Americans who live in the same country, go to the same grocery store or bank, and from the vantage point of someone at a "think tank" who has to think in terms of categories and who tend to focus on the differences rather than the similarities.
Few of the national reports published the year following the attacks made even passing references to discriminative backlash and religious racism against Muslims in America. National security, antiterrorism legislation and counterintelligence services seem to dominate the discussion. The concept of civil rights seemed to be effaced almost entirely. Dutiful references to legal principles were seen in some news articles, but the content of these entitlements was treated as a closed box that could not be opened without ruining the parade.
Bin Laden showed just how much one person can do to demote a charitable, tolerant, and integrated society. He exposed the limits of the melting pot after he destroyed the lives of innocent people who had nothing to do with any of the anger that created his dark side. He mastered a strategy of destruction and left the millions of Muslims, scattered around the world, vulnerable to government sanctioned repercussions that spotlighted our actions, words, whereabouts, living quarters, and travels. Osama mastered a strategy that masked his own existence for sometime while United States Intelligence made it impossible for the rest of us to hide anywhere. The lives of the most ordinary Muslims became up close and personal to law enforcement and as a group we became "persons of interest". He was a man who made a destructive choice. Yes, he was born and raised in a Muslim country, but Hitler was born and raised in a Christian country. These factors did neither any good. On the contrary, it just made their transgressions much worse.
Initially, Islamic organizations made a desperate effort to plea the community's innocence and the need for reconciliation. The leadership kept explaining that being Muslim is not synonymous with terrorism. The rigors of survival, were not equal to the severity of congressional charades that sought to make Islam unsightly in America.
More than a decade later the rush to tar and feather all Muslims continues to be an exponent of many mainstream news outlets. Right-wing media is playing to its base, hoping that their words become the epitome of a bigger society.
For anyone who came of age during the years from 2001 and 2012, these disclosures could not fail to be disheartening. What seems unmistakable, but, oddly enough, is rarely said in public settings nowadays, is that this nation, for all practice and intent, has turned its back upon the moral implications if not yet the social consequences of disenfranchisement of its Muslim citizens. The dual society, at least in the realm of human rights, seems to be unquestioned. This may be basic to the problem of homegrown terrorism.
Among us are hundreds of thousands of young Muslims who once hoped to be part of this society to share its abundance, opportunity, and causes. We can deny this wish or work to make it come true. If we choose denial then we choose spreading conflict, which will certainly erode the well-being and liberty of every citizen and, in a severe way, undermine the concept of American democracy.
For some young souls, these hopes were progressively dashed after being reared in a world that watched Muslims with resentment and with curiosity, wonder, anger, bitterness, and disgust: Socially stagnant in a world of anti-religious based decisions in which Muslim dominated nations were attacked, revenge was exacted and people contained. It became a nation of exploitation rather than constitutional ideals. Through the targeted use of a wide set of immigration and law enforcement policies and actions, the U.S. government casted Muslims as dangerous threats to national security, leaving Muslim communities across the United States vulnerable to discrimination and discriminatory profiling.
During these years, the American Muslim community, weak and disorganized, still have not mastered the kinds of strategies needed to address the issues of its youth, the reality that some of our sons are being brainwashed into looking at their birth country from outside ideologies. This fact, mixed with damaged psyches, have left young males ripe for exploitation. Influences able to master a significant interaction with immature minds are engaged in systematic persuasion, convincing them into buying into dangerous ideas. The scheme begins with, "Someone hurt you, you need to hurt them back."
Feeling disowned and powerless to change his condition by way of constructive activity, some lash out. Denied the most fundamental rights: the need for identity, for recognition as a human being and as an American, his terroristic tendencies are not simply protesting his condition but making a self-defeating attempt to assert his worth as a human being, to announce to the world that though we may despise his actions, we must still acknowledge his power.
The parents of such a child know just how much injustice soils innocence. They wish they could eternalize his civility as he goes through a process by which he loses his juvenile timidity forever. They do not know what to do but they do know what probably lies ahead. They do their best to shut it all out. It seems to be a much better alternative to thinking of what may someday be.
Of all our problems, this may be the most serious and pressing, the one that threatens to paralyze our capacity to feel safe, to eliminate our capacity to be afraid, is the threat from extremism and the violence that has exploded as its product-springing from one part of the country to another, sending fear and hatred before it, leaving death and destruction behind it. We are in the midst of what is rapidly becoming the most horrific domestic crisis of our time. Its consequences reaches into the hearts of all Americans.
Frankly, the challenge to overcome violence will not be diminished only by attempt to suppress dissenters with punitive measures. Pleas for law and order serve only to deepen the growing divisions that disable us all, and can never replace a working commitment for change on the silence of those who use violence to get your attention.
If we choose hope and fulfillment for every American it will take a vigorous effort but we will choose to protect the well-being of this Nation's people. We will choose to end more than a decade of fear and heal wounds that still remain open. Though we are a nation of individuals, possessing our own personal obstacles and differing goals, shaped by the vagaries of history and experience, we have a shared task ahead of us.
Contrary to its vocal aspirations of political commentators, Islam as a faith in this country is certainly not going to fade away. It therefore becomes imperative that the members of this nation must look to every counterpart as a community member, people not bound to each other because they share a community, but a common cause. Stop the drip feeding of fear fuels a rising tide of prejudice. "One nation under God" demands a country in which all men live in dignity, security and amicability. Confronting the poverty of equality will unite a fractured country. Divided, we are collections of Islands, islands of Christians afraid of islands of Muslims, islands of Muslim youth that are bitterly resentful of a birth country that severed the bonds of nationalism, and islands of immigrants warring with Islands of indigenous citizens.
Islam is no longer a "foreign" presence in the West. It is integral to the West just as any other religion. Like it or not, history has placed us all, Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab and non-Arab within a common border. All of us, from the strongest to the weakest, share a nation called America. It was established on civil liberty and justice and we cannot renounce it, neither can we afford to forget that real communities come from embracing diversity, warm spirits and the generous spirit of cooperation. Muslims deserve no less.
Khalilah Sabra, Executive Director
MAS Immigrant Justice center
So has anyone seen these pictures yet?
Submitted by ML/NJ, Apr 24, 2013 09:02
"Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be seen on security camera videos placing one of the bombs"
I've seen zillions of pictures from Marathon Monday, but I haven't seen this supposed video yet. Why not? (I've even seen a photo of the camera that is said to have taken the video!)
This just doesn't pass my smell test.
I'm no fan of Muslims so I understand why these guys would be the perfect ones to frame, maybe to take the place of that handcuffed guy on his knees on the Common who was for some reason an inconvenient perpetraitor.
Why Not Stick To The Subject?
Submitted by Luke The Drifter, Apr 24, 2013 07:43
I'm amazed that while reading an article about Mohammedan terrorists, you somehow feel the need to drag in other religions. I wonder why that is. And could you please give me a list of the terrorist acts committed by the Westboro Baptist Church while you're at it? Thank you.
More Reader Comments
Behind Boston... You don't get it
Just a thought
Behind the Boston Attacks
So has anyone seen these pictures yet?
Why Not Stick To The Subject?
Luke The Drifter
Bound by a Book