Sunday, November 28, 2010

Consistency in Corvallis

Here are four basic premises with which I hope you'll agree:

1. It's wrong to drive a vehicle packed with explosives into large crowds with the hopes of killing hundreds during a public gathering.

2. It's wrong to associate one person's decision to commit such an act with a much larger group, nearly all of whom would agree with Statement 1.

3. It's wrong to deliberately set fire to a house of worship for ANY reason.

4. It's wrong to associate one person or small group's decision to commit such an act with a much larger group, nearly all of whom would agree with Statement 3.

Looking across the international punditocracy's response to the recent arson at an Islamic center in Corvallis, OR, an apparent retaliatory response to one teenager's apparent attempt to commit the act described in Statement 1, it seems that many are okay with statements 1-3, but are getting tripped up on Statement 4.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims -- not just in the States, but across the world -- disagree with the rationale that some might use to justify spectacular terrorist attacks like the one plotted for this weekend's ceremony in Portland, OR. That's not an attempt at political correctness, but a verifiable fact.

It's ALSO true that the overwhelming majority of American citizens do not support or even passively condone the burning of houses of worship. One or even a handful of vigilantes who may have attacked the would-be bomber's house of worship in Corvallis, OR does not set the tone for the Corvallis community or for American society writ large.

To make sweeping, negative characterizations about the nearly 300 million or so Americans who did NOT commit that act is just as ignorant as a blanket condemnation of the billion or so Muslims who had NOTHING to do with the attempted bombing in Portland.

The real mistake would be for the moderates to be drawn into the fray by the extremists on either side who would love to see it happen.


kad barma said...

I disagree that at least one possible sweeping negative characterization is "ignorant", for the simple reason that NOTHING EFFECTIVE was done to protect that Mosque, the need for which was quite rightfully predicted and expected by its leadership once Mahomud was arrested.

The FBI says "we have made it quite clear that the FBI will not tolerate any kind of retribution or attack on the Muslim community", (per Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon), but the obvious truth is that not they nor any other branch of "Homeland Security" have done anything effective to prevent it.

We spare no effort or expense to pull needles (Mohamud) out of haystacks (random bombings), but we can't stop a simple and obvious arson attempt against a high-profile target???

That's disingenuous at best, and criminally and ethically and morally negligent at worst.

We MUST do better.

Renee said...

Here is a nice graph comparing the actual population of terrorist compare to the Muslim population.

kad barma said...

The link isn't working for me? I'd be very interested to see it.

Renee said...

From Get Religion Islam population comparison chart.

kad barma said...


The New Englander said...

Kad, I see and respect your point about the need to protect ALL groups, esp. those who are the target of threats. In this case, though, it appears that the public authorities were on top of the situation enough to nip this in the bud before it became very serious.

From the Oregonian:

The fire at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center was discovered by an on-duty police sergeant at about 2:15 a.m. today. It took firefighters 10 minutes to put it out and it damaged about 80 percent of the office it was contained to. No one was injured.

From the fire being spotted to the firefighters arriving and putting it out before it had even spread beyond that office w/in a short time window, it seems that Corvallis was responsive.

C R Krieger said...

I like the four points made by Greg early on in this post.

I, for one, don't like being tarred with the broad brush of anti-Muslim discrimination.

I do think that there was probably more than one mosque at risk in the area and the fact that a Police Sergeant picked up on the fire works for me. I am betting a fire at any local church here in Lowell could well go unreported before the flames were obvious to all.

Regards  —  Cliff