Thursday, February 01, 2007

Siege, Or No Siege?

"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Following a recent, and rare, incident of anti-Muslim vandalism a couple of Sundays ago against the former Islamic Center of America mosque in Detroit, an interfaith group of some 30 Christians, Jews, and Muslims held a diversity demonstration to condemn the crime. The story about it was as gripping as such stories can ever be, but I found Detroit News reporter Gregg Krupa’s write-up more interesting than I expected. He wrote:

“The religious leaders said they are concerned that the incidents may be a sign that hatred directed at Muslims, especially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, may be taking a new, nasty turn in Metro Detroit. The region, home to about 125,000 to 200,000 Muslims of mostly Arab and South Asian descent, has been largely immune from the vandalism against mosques that has plagued other areas of the country, particularly in the two years after the attacks, civil rights leaders and observers have said.”

"Largely immune"? "New, nasty turn"? Krupa almost seems to think we’ve all gotten along pretty well around here since 9/11, all things considered.

Yet how does this compare with what CAIR-Michigan’s leader, Dawud Walid, had to say two weeks earlier, (before the former mosque was vandalized), when some Iraq-Shi'ite Muslims in the area had their businesses and mosques damaged in what were almost certainly Sunni revenge attacks for the Iraq-Shi'ite celebrations of the execution of Saddam Hussein:

"We're going to call on the federal authorities to investigate this because this is pure hate to attack a house of worship," Walid said. "Our community has been under siege since 9/11."

As is well know to followers of the hyperventilating press releases of CAIR and the ADC, the saga of the Islamic community in Dearborn since 9/11 is written as an endless series of hate crimes, false arrests, and random violence. As they never tire of repeating, area Muslims are virtually barricaded into their homes from fear of attracting the malevolent attention of the majority population.

Walid likens it to a “siege.” Arab-American News publisher (and Hezbollah ambassador to Dearborn) Osama Siblani borrows from the President’s recent remarks on the Iraqi war strategy, characterizing recent attacks as a nationwide “surge” of hate crimes.

Follow Walid’s and Siblani’s version of things, and you would conclude that the average Muslim’s daily experience includes being rousted by Gestapo-like lawmen, getting pelted with anti-Muslim abuse every time he or she dares appear in public, and facing nagging fears of being grabbed off the street by immigration officials, disappearing back to the Middle East without regard for due process or even U.S. citizenship.

Except none of these things is happening in Dearborn.

Like the famous dog that never barked in the Sherlock Holmes tale, the lack of concrete examples of such hate crimes is the curious thing. As Krupa observes, this sort of thing has not been happening in Dearborn since 9/11, in spite of CAIR’s and the ADC’s incessant protestations that they are happening all the time, and getting worse.

That’s why the interfaith SWAT team had to be called out in response to minor vandalism that , while admittedly a crime, is a profoundly petty crime—especially if it’s supposed to prove that Dearborn’s Muslims have been under “siege” since 9/11, and now facing a growing surge of hate crimes.

But when that’s all you’ve got, you make the best of it.

For several years now I've been driving home from work right past the new Islamic Center of America where it looms dominant on the skyline of Ford Road. (For the reason it dominates, see Bat Ye'or and Robert Spencer on "dhimmitude.") The mosque backs up to one of the toughest working-class neighborhoods in Detroit, only a short, stolen-bike ride away for any Warrendale kid with intolerance issues and a black magic marker. I often thought it strange how, given the unending complaints of local CAIR and ADC spokesmen of daily hate crimes against Dearborn's Muslims, I'd never heard any reports of the new and imposing mosque being vandalized. It was another dog that wasn't barking.

Krupa did a follow up article about the vandalism yesterday, one that offered no new facts, which is usually a sign that editors want to flog a dead horse. Perhaps Krupa got some angry calls from Walid or some other Arab spokesman unhappy with him for pointing out that Dearborn had been vandalism-free since 9/11: "Dear Gregg, Get back on message." Okay, I'm suspicious, but Krupa has been the target of a DU snark attack before.

What Krupa’s second article, “Local mosque attacks 'scary for us'” does is suggest that fear of a rise in hate crimes is evidence of a rise in hate crimes. This bit of twisted logic is straight from the CAIR style manual for local journalists:

“Alice Alaouie is quite frightened by the fact that most people seem to know little about her faith, Islam.

“The spray painting of hateful graffiti on the side of the old site of her mosque, the Islamic Center of America, and a spike of similar incidents in Metro Detroit and around the country in recent weeks lead Alaouie and other Muslims to believe that hate is escalating to a dangerous peak.

“’It's scary for us, it's scary for me personally,’ says Alaouie, 23, who is active with youth groups at the mosque. ‘The people are concerned. It's a little snowball that formed on 9/11, and it rolled, and now it's really big. It's a phobia.’”

What’s a snowball? What’s rolled and is now really big? What is escalating to a dangerous peak? Her phobia? That people don’t know about her faith?

Ms. Alaouie’s remarks makes my point exactly. Read the story, and you will discover that nothing happened to her. She is not describing a “spike” in anti-Muslim hate crimes of which she has any personal knowledge, but only a spike in her own, very subjective statements about what is happening.

Maybe she really is afraid. But she isn't too scared to keep up with her youth-group involvement, nor too scared to be photographed ostentatiously praying, something I wouldn’t do if I thought the very sight of such a thing was going to inflame some ignorant assailant into attacking. Somewhere, a dog is not barking.

Krupa gives this explanation: “While two of the recent incidents of vandalism in Metro Detroit may be Muslims acting against Muslims, the majority here and nationwide have targeted Islam itself in what appears to be an escalating line of attack.”

Again I ask, what escalating line of attacks? Krupa doesn't offer a scrap of evidence that there is national pattern that varies much from the Dearborn pattern (which shows a lack of a pattern). If one subtracts the Dearborn Muslim against Muslim vandalism of earlier last month, the January 19th spray painting is a single incident that stands out, as Krupa has already reported, precisely because Dearborn has not been suffering vandalism against Islamic property.

But now we've had the vandalism of the old mosque, and isn't that a hate crime? Doesn’t the escalating pattern of vandalism—from 0 (former) mosques per year spray painted to 1 former mosque spray painted—represent a dramatic increase—a spike—a nasty turnan escalating line of attack—a siege?

Not if you’re rational, it doesn’t. If you feel otherwise, I won’t argue with you.

This is an isolated act of graffiti. Detroit is covered with ugly graffiti, a lot of it the criminal handiwork of internationally acclaimed artist/vandal Tyree Guyton. So far, he has not been prosecuted, even though he admits his crimes and law enforcement knows who he is.

And what Guyton doesn’t paint around here is defaced by drug gangs, drunken teenagers, and other frustrated artists with varying degrees of talent and/or focus.

My own special-crimes analysis of the mosque graffiti (photo above from the Detroit News) leads me to believe it was done by one or two persons who, though reasonably good spellers for vandals, are not high achievers, and certainly not components of a larger national network of hate criminals. In fact, I’m thinking they don’t know much about Islam, or much about any other subject, as they are probably products of Detroit public schools (except for the spelling?).

My point being, if you want to tell me there’s a siege, it better have some resemblance to Vicksburg, or Vienna in 1683, which at least deserve the name, "siege." And if you want to say it is an escalating line of attacks, it had better compare better than this does to Kristallnacht, or even to the epidemic of gang-rapes in Europe, or the attacks in France, which are clear, present, and escalating signs of enormous hate crimes.

At this point in history, we have a pretty good idea of what hate crimes look like, and they don’t easily fit into a can of spray paint.

1 comment:

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