The campaign by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamists to cast Tuesday's shooting of terror suspect Usaama Rahim as unjustified continues, despite the lack of any genuine foundation.
Law enforcement officials say they opened fire after Rahim repeatedly made aggressive moves toward them with a military-style knife. In a criminal complaint filed Wednesday against an accomplice, the FBI said it tracked Rahim's orders of three such knives from Amazon and verified the delivery of at least one of them.
As we have noted, CAIR and other Islamist activists immediately embraced claims by Rahim's brother that police shot the 26-year-old in the back as he waited at the bus stop. Rahim also was allegedly on the telephone with his father at the time, in order to have a witness against the impending police "brutality." The video shows Rahim was not on the telephone.
The Boston Herald reports that Rahim did, in fact, call his father Tuesday morning. But it wasn't to create a witness for the looming confrontation with authorities as his brother originally claimed. It was, law enforcement sources told the Herald, to say goodbye.
During an afternoon news conference, family attorney Ronald Sullivan confirmed that phone records show a call between Rahim and his father, but said he did not know what was discussed.
At this point, there is zero evidence that casts the shooting in doubt in any way. But that hasn't slowed the Islamist messaging that because police shot a black Muslim, it had to be anyone's fault but Rahim's.
Video of the incident, shown to some community activists Wednesday, shows officers did back away from Rahim and debunked the claim he was shot in the back. CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, appeared on MSNBC Thursday to say "the video somewhat supports the police and FBI version of events," but, because of the video quality, was "ultimately inconclusive" about whether Rahim brandished a knife.
This comment is from the same organization that initially glommed on the false narrative about Rahim being shot in the back. Despite this, local authorities inexplicably invited CAIR officials to participate in viewing the video of the shooting Wednesday afternoon. The FBI's policy since 2007 has been to prohibit outreach activity with CAIR due to questions about it and its founders' connections to Hamas.
Think about what this "inconclusive" claim implies. Hooper acknowledges the video shows the key elements of the original narrative – that police were the aggressors who shot Rahim in the back – were false. But, to him, that doesn't rule out other malfeasance – to the degree that the knife might have planted?
There's a picture of it being picked up from the scene. An affidavit filed Wednesday as part of a criminal complaint against an alleged accomplice says the FBI was aware he ordered the knife and others from Amazon, that they even x-rayed the package before it was delivered. They heard Rahim talk about the knives in intercepted conversations. They heard him say hours earlier that he was going after the "boys in blue" ... "Cause, ah, it's the easiest target..."
The complaint indicates Rahim originally talked about beheading a specific target outside of Boston, reportedly Pamela Geller, who recently organized a contest involving cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
But hey, we're still not sure, the Islamists like Hooper say. What if Boston Police and the FBI made it all up, despite putting it in charging papers they'll have to substantiate in open court? All of that just might be part of the cover up of their unjust shooting of the innocent man. Everything is a conspiracy until you prove to our satisfaction that it is not. That is a threshold that history shows us simply does not exist.
Hooper's dubious tone Thursday was echoed by the same CAIR officials and other Islamist activists who immediately embraced Rahim's brother's false narrative that police shot Usaama Rahim in the back. In separate Twitter posts Thursday, CAIR-Michigan chief Dawud Walid said he remains skeptical despite the disclosures about the video and in the complaint against alleged accomplice David Wright.
Under the hashtag "PoliceBrutality," CAIR-San Francisco Executive Director Zahra Billoo tries to couch her anti-law enforcement message as part of a higher philosophical approach: "question everything."
Asked on Twitter how many questions she had remaining after Wednesday's disclosures, Arab American Association of New York Executive Director Linda Sarsour wrote simply, "Many."
See, it's all about asking questions, not about trying to plant false narratives about how law enforcement treats Muslims. But if they really just want to ask questions about Rahim's death, they have ignored others with the potential to help avoid future Usaama Rahim tragedies. Among them:
What makes a guy in Boston even contemplate beheading someone?
What makes any American Muslim think the penalty for blasphemy should be death? He's not the first. Remember that two Muslim men were shot and killed in Garland, Tex. last month when they tried to storm, guns blazing, a Muhammad cartoon contest Geller organized.
What makes him think a cold-blooded attack on police is a good idea that somehow advances the cause? What kind of cause can be advanced by such brutality?
Why is it ISIS seems to be making greater in-roads here, exhibited by the dozens of people arrested this year as they planned to travel to Iraq/Syria to join the jihad?
Some answers already are available. Law enforcement was "working on the premise that he had been in contact with terrorist elements," U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., told the Boston Herald after being briefed on the case. "Now, I don't know if that was ISIS or if it was simply that he was radicalized by terrorist elements. ... I got the sense that they were acting on the premise that he was in contact with terrorists."
Rahim's Facebook page included a "like" for ISIS and featured other posts embracing radical Islam and jihad, the Boston Globe reported Thursday. An analyst who follows jihadist movements described Rahim's Facebook page to the newspaper as fitting "the general profile of online activity we would expect to see in both actual foreign fighters . . . and the fan boys who have no intention of traveling but do as much as they can to disseminate and support" the Islamic State.
ISIS has repeatedly called on Muslims in the West to attack police and other targets, including Geller.
And, spin aside, the terrorist group's ideology is deeply rooted in Islamic theology, as Monterey Institute of International Studies Associate Professor Jeffrey Bale explained in an article for the Investigative Project on Terrorism last fall.
"[T]he perpetrators of these violent actions not only proudly insist that their actions are inspired by the Qur'an and the exemplary words and deeds of Muhammad himself (as recorded in the canonical hadith collections), but explicitly cite relevant Qur'anic passages and the reported actions of their prophet to justify those actions," Bale wrote. "Therefore, to argue that jihadist terrorists are not directly inspired and primarily motivated by their interpretations of Islamic doctrines and by clear precedents from early Islamic history, one must stubbornly ignore what the actual protagonists keep telling the entire world."
Or, one can simply issue dark, empty hints that it's law enforcement's fault.
Thursday afternoon, attorney Glenn Katon with Muslim Advocates, posted the first volley in what will be the next line of attack against the investigation. None of this would have happened without some meddling informant!
All of these people have a right to their opinions, no matter how much they stem from cynicism and creative imaginations. We, in turn, have a right to evaluate those opinions in determining whether these officials should be considered responsible, reasonable mouthpieces for the American Muslim community.
As we have said throughout the week, the "questions" in the Rahim case feed into the notion that there's a "war on Islam." That false notion has been the rationalization of many attacks on U.S. targets and is a key element in terror recruitment among Westerners. The message that Muslims in the United States are being targeted solely because of their faith is equally false and inflammatory. In this case, the insinuation is that police acted improperly without a shred of evidence to substantiate that allegation. These messages remain available online and could influence future radicals to believe they have to act out.
It's difficult to imagine anything more reckless and irresponsible.