Islamic terrorists: Typical or atypical?
Certified Public Accountant Sabirhan Hasanoff, a citizen of both Australia and the United States, is facing terrorism related charges in New York. Hasanoff is obviously not your stereotypical geeky and boring accountant – he allegedly helped al Qaeda by doing more than their book-keeping.
Writing prior to Hasanoff's arrest, Irfan Yusuf applies his gigantic lawyer intellect to analysing the terrorism threat, which he concludes is so ludicrously over-hyped it's beyond a joke. As an example he cites the recent hoopla over veiled threats against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone from the nut-jobs at Revolution Muslim:
"We have to warn Matt [Stone] and Trey [Parker, the co-creators of South Park] that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
The executives at Comedy Central, which broadcasts South Park, may have wondered whether to take such blogospheric fantasies seriously. Normally, a warning coming from 12 bloggers claiming to represent 1.3 billion people worldwide would be treated as ridiculous. Unless, of course, we're talking about Muslims.
My guess is that most Americans, Muslim or otherwise, have never heard of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker murdered by a lone psychotic Dutch-Moroccan man. And even fewer will have heard of Revolution Muslim. But that didn't stop Comedy Central taking precautions and censoring the depiction of Muhammad in the broadcast episode.
Well, we can all breathe easier Yusuf having reassured us that van Gogh's killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, is an atypical Muslim and was deranged and acted alone when he shot, stabbed and attempted to behead his victim. The thing is, Bouyeri isn't psychotic, he's a simply a very committed Muslim who killed van Gogh because he deserved to die for offending Muslims. And whereas he was the only person who shot and stabbed van Gogh, Bouyeri had close ties to the Hofstad Network, a number of whose members have been tried and jailed for conspiratorial activities.
Regardless, Yusuf ignores that the whole point of terrorism is to frighten opponents into submission. Right or wrong, lots of people are very frightened of what fate might befall them should they offend Muslims in some way. Thus a fanatical few have won a major victory in restricting not our ability, but rather our willingness, to speak freely.