08 June 2010


By now anyone not living under a rock knows that on May 1, a Pakistani-born American citizen failed in his attempt to set off a car bomb in New York City's Times Square. The event set off a political and media fire storm, spreading fear in the land of the brave. The perpetrator was quickly apprehended and remains in custody. The bomb never went off.

Fast-forward ten days. In Jacksonville, Florida, an unknown perpetrator attempted to set off a combination pipe bomb and fire bomb at a Muslim mosque (see image above) during evening prayers. Only local news publicized the event, and the perpetrator remains at large. The bomb did go off, but the fire was quickly put out. Police released two security videos, hoping that someone might come forward to identify the bomber. So far, no results. The most likely motive appears to by the Jacksonville City Council's nomination of a Muslim, Parvez Ahmed, to the city's Human Rights Commission.

Two thoughts immediately suggest themselves. The first is this: when a Muslim attacks identifiably innocent American targets, it becomes national news. But when an American attacks identifiably innocent Muslim targets, on American soil, it is not worthy of notice or condemnation. This racist double standard is an abomination in a country whose founding principles include freedom of religion, and political tolerance. I'm sharply reminded of the attacks on black churches during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Then, as now, self-righteous "patriots" were willing to take the lives of men, women and children to demonstrate the violent extent of their hatred.

The other thought resonates from the cited article which elouently described the attack: the war on terrorism, like the war on drugs, is a con job. Terrorism is a tactic, practiced enthusiastically in all parts of the world, by people of all nationalities and religions. I don't adhere to any organized religion, yet I find it particularly repulsive that cowardly thugs target places of worship. Is there no tattered shred of respect remaining in us? For we all bear the responsibility for our culture's biases. If we don't speak out against racist vigilantes, then we are part of the problem. When you look deeply, whom do you see in the mirror?

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