Diana West

Nearly 20 years after a Hasidic Jewish boy riding across the Brooklyn Bridge was killed by a Muslim fighting jihad, a British soldier was hacked to death and reportedly beheaded on the streets of London by Muslims fighting jihad.

Thanks to the happenstance of a passer-by with a video recorder, the world heard almost immediately from one of the two London suspects, Michael Adebolajo. His hands red with blood, Adebolajo confessed to the murder of Lee Rigby, 25, that he had just committed in Koran-‘ically” correct terms of revenge, presumably for Britain’s efforts against jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also know that cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”) punctuated the knifing and meat-cleaving of the victim.

But if “Allahu Akbar” is the historic cry of Muslims engaged in jihad, it is also the contemporary trigger for Western denial that jihad exists. “We will defeat violent extremism by standing together,” British Prime Minister David Cameron stated, gravely opaque. How? “Above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds,” he said, definitely not referring to the verses of the Koran that inspire jihad.

Islam, the prime minister was saying, has nothing to do with this murder in the streets. Furthermore, global jihad is not under way, and no caliphate in which Jews and Christians will defer to Islamic law as “dhimmi” is on the horizon.

Flash back almost two decades to March 1994, one year after the first attack on the World Trade Center and shortly after an Israeli doctor, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Muslims in a mosque in Hebron. Goldstein’s act was uniformly denounced by Israeli and Jewish authorities, but it nonetheless engendered calls for jihad from Islamic authorities around the world. It was at this point in New York City that 16-year-old Ari Halberstam was shot and killed on the Brooklyn Bridge by Rashid Baz, a “Middle East” man or “Arab” – the vernacular of the day for Muslim.

Nonetheless, in an earlier iteration of jihad-denial, discussion of the Brooklyn Bridge case actually focused on “road rage.” What we were looking at, of course, was an act of jihad – among the first of many thousands leading up to the recent London attack.

This became clear during Baz’s murder trial. According to testimony presented by the defense, Baz thought of himself as “an Arab soldier crusader” – what we now know as a “mujahid,” or jihadist. Such was the testimony of Baz’s own psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas Anderson.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).