Some would no doubt seek to blame Israel or the U.S. for his turn to terrorism, just as a disturbing number of apologists have taken at face value jihadists who point the finger at U.S. presence in Iraq or the Jewish one in “Palestine.”
But if the real motivation for Islamic terror is an aggressive U.S. foreign policy or Israel’s supposed oppression of the Palestinians, why did 17 young Muslim men allegedly plot to strike Canada?
Canada has no soldiers in Iraq. Few would consider it a good friend of Israel. Canada has offered its warm embrace for Muslims from around the globe. Canadian Muslims experience minimal discrimination, let alone anything even resembling oppression.
Leaders of Islamic terrorist groups, from Osama bin Laden to Shiekh Yassin (the “handicapped” and “elderly” founder of Hamas), universally agree that no government is legitimate unless it is Islamic. Establishing an Islamic state is, in fact, what most unifies jihadists around the world.
So why Canada? Because it is not an Islamic state.
But the drive for an Islamic state is probably not enough of a salient motivator for foot soldiers, as it is still a somewhat intellectual ideal. Hence the slanders. Telling young Muslims that their non-Muslim neighbors are going halfway around the world to rape Muslim women strikes a raw nerve.
Believing that members of the Ummah (the world body of Muslims) need to be defended makes someone far more susceptible to messages that violence should be waged in the name of Islam.
How many Imam Jamals are there in the U.S.? How many imams are brainwashing their followers with vicious lies about their fellow Americans? How many American Muslims believe that their Jewish and Christians neighbors—and not jihadists—are the ones responsible for the mass murder of innocent Iraqis? How many believe that Israeli soldiers slaughter Palestinian women and children for sport—and that the U.S. openly supports it?
The answer to all of the above is: At least some. We know this from the public record, particularly information stemming from various terror arrests.
Here is the more pertinent question: Who is actually fighting the propaganda? Who is combating the spread of radical Islam?
Law enforcement can intervene to thwart planned violence, but what can it do about hate speech? Not much. Even fire-breathing imams enjoy Constitutional protections. They don’t, however, enjoy freedom from condemnation. Their followers are free to run them out of town for spewing venom and demonizing non-Muslims.
Thus the most important question of all is not how many Imam Jamals there are here in the U.S., but rather, how many American Muslims will take a stand against indoctrination that pushes kids in the direction—if not into the arms—of terrorists?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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