Joel Mowbray

None of this is to suggest that any mosque is presumptively suspect. That’s just one possibility. Incendiary Islamic teachings can be downloaded in the click of a mouse. In the case of Naveed Haq, isn’t there just cause to wonder where his mind was poisoned?

What Haq almost certainly would not have heard in a mosque is any call to wage violent jihad or chants of “Death to America.” Almost no imam would do so after 9/11. But what if he had been told that U.S. soldiers were regularly committing atrocities against innocent fellow Muslims in Iraq? Or what if his imam told him that Israel was ethnically cleansing his Muslim brethren?

From the records of terror suspects arrested since 9/11, a clear pattern emerges: operatives are inspired most by the belief that Islam or Muslims are under attack. It is indisputable that Haq was acting in response to perceived wrongs committed against his fellow Muslims in Iraq and Lebanon—and he blamed Jews.

The leader of the now-arrested Canadian terror cell, Imam Qayyum Abdul Jamal, reportedly did not preach violent jihad to his congregation, but he did tell them, among other things, that Canadian soldiers were going to Afghanistan “to rape women.” Not only does this dehumanize non-Muslim Canadians, but it leaves the clear implication that killing them is not just moral, but obligatory.

Someone who digests and accepts such propaganda—about “ethnic cleansing” in Lebanon, for instance—can have one of three possible reactions: 1) becoming tolerant or even supportive of Islamic terror, 2) deciding to join al Qaeda or its ilk in order to defend his Muslim brothers and sisters, or 3) snapping after being overcome with rage at what is happening, and then taking matters into his own hands.

Recent college graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar slammed a rented SUV this March into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina, hitting nine. The Iranian-born 22-year-old told the 911 dispatcher that he was attempting to “punish the government of the United States for [its] actions around the world.” In court days later, he said he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.”

While Naveed Haq’s mental problems might have lowered his inhibitions or impaired his judgment, there is little else that distinguishes his actions from those of Taheri-azar—except that he was successful. He clearly had become consumed with the malicious belief that Jews were committing atrocities against his fellow Muslims, and he saw it as his duty as a Muslim to do something.

Calling Haq “crazy” is comforting, but hardly congruous with known facts. Avoiding necessary questions is not the answer. Ignoring the simmering threats won’t keep them from boiling over.


Joel Mowbray

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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