Why Hesham Hadayet may be scarier than Al Qaeda

Posted: Jul 10, 2002 12:00 AM
According to news reports, the administration, the FBI and every other relevant official agency cannot yet determine whether Hesham Mohamed Hadayet's murderous attack on El Al Airlines customers at Los Angeles International Airport last week was an act of terrorism. They are not sure whether Hadayet's murders were a hate crime, terrorism or an act of personal anger. They even claim not to be sure about Hadayet's motives. The American government sure is easily baffled. An extremist Egyptian Muslim chooses July 4th to murder Americans and Israelis who are flying from an American airport on Israel's national airline -- and the official line is that we can't call this terror or even identify the murderer's motives? This country's officials are in a state of denial and confusion that is almost as frightening as the terrorism they are supposed to be fighting. The FBI says that unless Hadayet is linked to a terrorist organization, he did not commit an act of terror. But if that is now America's criterion for defining terrorism, Timothy McVeigh did not commit an act of terrorism. He wasn't linked to a terrorist group. This absurd definition is worthy of the Keystone Cops, not the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Of course, we need to know if this man was linked to a terrorist organization, but the absence of such a link in no way lessens the fact that this was terrorism. By confining our definition of terrorism to acts committed by those with links to terrorist organizations, we may be ignoring the most frightening aspect of Islamic terror: There are many individual Muslim extremists without any links to any terror organizations who are prepared to slaughter Americans and Jews. Only Allah knows how many Hadayets there are. But based upon what we humans can know, millions of Muslims, especially Arab Muslims, have been raised with a hatred of Jews and Americans whose intensity is unique in the world. According to a former employee of Hadayet, Abdul Zahab, 36, a Syrian immigrant, Hadayet had told him that "the Israelis tried to destroy the Egyptian nation and the Egyptian population by sending prostitutes with AIDS to Egypt." Hadayet learned this grotesque libel from the Egyptian government's controlled media, which, like other Arab media, routinely spread such lies about Israel and Jews. Millions of Arab and other Muslims believe that Jews kill non-Jewish children to use their blood for Jewish holidays and that 4,000 Jews avoided working at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 because they knew about the attack in advance. No wonder Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is a best seller in the Arab world and the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is widely reprinted and read there. And this hate is taught here, too. The Washington Post and The New York Times have reported on Islamic schools in America that teach hatred for America and Jews. That is why this debate about whether to call Hadayet's act "terror" or merely "a hate crime" is not only foolish, it is suicidal. If al Qaeda is destroyed tomorrow, it will hardly mean the end of Islamic terrorism. There are so many Muslims filled with a diabolical hatred of Israel, America and Jews that no terror organization is needed for Americans and Jews to be murdered regularly. Were it not for the fact that Israeli security people were armed and spectacularly capable, Hadayet would probably have murdered and maimed dozens of innocent people. How many Hadayets must there be before America calls their actions terror and awakens to the dismal reality that a frightening number of such terrorists are created daily? This is not a call to hate Muslims. It is a call to acknowledge Muslim hate. This hatred, the most virulent in the world today, created both 9-11 and Hesham Hadayet. Denying this serves no one, and it breeds contempt for those entrusted with protecting us from Islamic terror.