Today’s most ludicrous news story comes from Agence France-Presse: an article titled “US Muslims plagued by discrimination after 9/11 attacks.”
The AFP piece alleges that:
Discrimination and harassment by law enforcement have come to plague American Muslims in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
There have been suspicious looks, slurs, physical attacks, extra screening at airports and arrests on groundless charges.
And it seems to be getting worse.
AFP relies on exactly two sources for this indictment: Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group whose links to terrorist organizations we have repeatedly noted, and Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America. AFP retails CAIR’s notoriously unreliable statistics as fact:
CAIR has seen a steady increase in the number of complaints of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment over the past five years. In 2004, complaints rose 49 percent to 1,522, of which 141 were reports of actual and potentially violent hate crimes.
It appears that those numbers will continue to rise in 2005 and 2006, Walid said.
Let’s take those numbers at face value. There are roughly 5 million Muslims in the United States. Do the math: if there were 141 “reports of actual and potentially violent” hate crimes, that would be one for every 35,461 Muslims. A remarkably good record, I’d say.
AFP doesn’t just retail CAIR statistics, of course. It also tries to pin the blame on President Bush:
But more disturbing … are the actions of the Bush administration and law enforcement.
“I see that the United States is slipping into being a police state, at least to us Muslims,” [Al-Qazwini] said as he recounts incident after incident that have affected the members Dearborn’s large Muslim and Arab communities.
Wow! What are those “actions of the Bush administration” that are leading us into a police state? AFP cites exactly one:
After having shown some restraint in his rhetoric after 19 Muslim men affiliated with Al-Qaeda flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush has of late been using far more inflammatory language such as ‘Islamofacists,’ Walid said.
“When the religious and political leaders use polarizing language these are the unfortunate side effects. It stretches from the likes of (Christian Coalition leader) Pat Robinson all the way up to President Bush.”
Yup, that’s it. After years of praising the “religion of peace,” President Bush recently referred to the terrorists–not ordinary Muslims–as Islamic fascists. When AFP’s spokesman says that “these are the unfortunate side effects,” it is unclear what he is talking about, since the most recent statistics cited in the article date from 2004 and AFP mentions no incident that took place after Bush first referred to “fascists” on August 10.
What is the best example of Muslims being “plagued by discrimination” that AFP and its sources can come up with? The only one clearly identified in the article is the case of Osama Abulhassan and Ali Houssaiky:
Osama Abulhassan, 20, registered one after he spent a week in jail on terrorism charges last month. He was arrested for buying pre-paid cell phones in a small town in the midwestern state of Ohio with his friend Ali Houssaiky.
Left unmentioned by AFP is that Abulhassan and Houssaiky bought “hundreds of cell phones that could have been used to detonate bombs on airplanes”. Abulhassan and Houssaiky explained that they were just going into the cell phone distribution business. Charges against the two were eventually dropped, but it was hardly unreasonable to be suspicious of their activities. It’s easy to see why AFP found Abulhassan sympathetic, though. He shares their position of neutrality as between the United states and his namesake Osama bin Laden:
“He’s fighting for a cause like the United States is,” Abulhassan said of Bin Laden. “But he’s killing innocent people, and that makes him appear to be a bad guy.”
While AFP singles out the Bush administration for blame, it is also careful to indict the American people generally for their purported mistreatment of Muslims:
A recent Gallup poll showed that 39 percent of Americans admit to being prejudiced against Muslims and that nearly a quarter say they would not want a Muslim for a neighbor.
AFP doesn’t actually quote the Gallup poll’s question. What Gallup asked was:
If you honestly assessed yourself, would you say that you have at least some feelings of prejudice against Muslims, or not?
Despite this coaxing, 39% answered “Yes,” while 59% said “No.”
Putting aside the question of how many Americans have “at least some feelings of prejudice against Muslims,” and the further question of whether that “feeling of prejudice” is unreasonable in view of the number of terrorist attacks that have been carried out or plotted by Muslims in recent years, there is a pretty good source of information on the extent to which Americans act on such “feelings”: the Justice Department’s statistics on hate crimes, which are maintained by the FBI pursuant to statutory mandate.
The hate crimes tabulated by the FBI do not precisely overlap with the “harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment” purportedly tabulated by CAIR, but they do include “simple assault, intimidation, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism of property,” as well as more serious crimes like murder and rape. The results of the FBI’s statistic-gathering for 2004 are striking:
Victims of religious intolerance made up 16.7 percent of the victims of incidents involving a single bias. Of those, 67.8 percent were victims of anti-Jewish bias, and 12.7 percent were targets of anti-Islamic bias.
It would be interesting to know how many of the 67.8 percent of religion-based hate crimes that targeted Jews were committed by Muslims. The FBI report doesn’t tell us that; do you suppose AFP is interested in investigating?
Via Power Line News.