When the son of a wealthy Nigerian banking official tried to blow up a Detroit-bound aircraft, there was much that was new or unique about him – other than the explosive underwear he wore. This was an updated version of the shoe-bomb method employed by Richard Reid in 2001. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab seems to have been driven by the same religious and political demons that have propelled virtually every terrorist from Ramzi Yousef to Osama bin Laden.
Abdumutallab’s socially advantaged status was not unique – the vast majority of international terrorists have not been poor, ignorant or disadvantaged. All of the nineteen 9/11 terrorist were educated and came from the ranks of the middle-class and the well-to-do. A review of the education levels and income status of many terrorists quickly destroys the long-held belief that poverty and political neglect, like weeds, grow terrorists.
His skin color wasn’t noteworthy either. Africans from various nations have played major roles in international terrorism. If there is any doubt, a brief scan of the images from the prison at Guantanamo Bay will confirm this fact.
But try telling that to Yvonne Davis whose recent posting at the Huffington Post makes an “interesting” observation. The title of her article is “America’s New Face of Terrorism.” That “new” face of terrorism, she claims, is “the young black man.” Abdulmutallab, she argues, “looks no differently than your son” - if you happen to be black that is. “Black men,” she laments, “are now officially lumped in with Arabs and Muslim men around the world as potential terrorists and dangers to the west.”
Where has this woman been?
African nationals have long been involved in terrorist plots, as have black home grown-terrorists. Terrorists from several African nations were involved in the Al Qaeda bombing of America’s embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salam, Tanzania, in 1998. Five young Muslim men from suburban Virginia are currently being held in Pakistan on suspicion of trying to join Al Qaeda to engage in jihad. All are the children of immigrant families from Pakistan, Egypt and East Africa.
This past November, the United States Attorney’s office in Minnesota and the FBI reported that young Islamic men from Minneapolis were being recruited and sent to Somali to fight for Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization with close ties to Al Qaeda. All of the young African-American men are the children of immigrant families from Somalia – and, yes, many feature appearances closely approximating a black American kid from Baltimore.
And yes, there have also been home-grown “African-American” terrorists. This past October, Luqman Ameen Abdullah was killed in a shoot-out with Detroit police. Formerly known as Christopher Thomas, Abdullah stated that his mission was to establish an Islamic state in the U.S. This gentleman appears to be a disciple of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, now serving a life sentence for shooting two police officers in Georgia in 2000.
Other examples abound. The so-called “D.C. sniper,” John Muhammed was black, as is Clement Rodney Hampton-el, a New Jersey hospital technician. He returned from the war in Afghanistan against the Russians to help set off the February 1993 explosion at the World Trade Center in New York.
Certainly not all, but many, conversions to Islam among blacks have come via a stay in state or federal prison which offers a particularly angry, virulent and violent form of Islam to vulnerable black inmates who are susceptible to the message that they’ve been victims of white America - as well as Christianity. It was while in prison that Malcolm X was introduced to the Nation of Islam’s unique form of Islam, a conversion that ultimately cost him his life.
Nonetheless, Davis, the Huff Post writer, seems to believe that black Americans will collectively shoulder some collective guilt due to the skin color of Abdulmutallab and other “black” terrorists. She asserts that the “African American community” is cringing “every time a new terrorist plot is foiled and shows a black male face.” That may be her reaction, but I think otherwise. I believe that when arrests occur, all Americans, no matter their skin color or ethnicity, collectively breathe a sigh of relief that once again the nation dodged the bullet of violent Islamic extremism.
Even Davis inadvertently admits the accuracy of this position by way of quoting Peter Siggins, Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeals. In a 2002 speech he cited a surey which revealed that 66 percent of whites supported the ethnic profiling of people of Middle-Eastern descent. More interesting perhaps is that
77 percent of blacks also suppored this sort of profiling
. It doesn’t sound as if blacks are “cringing” in the face of terrorist threats. Like other Americans, blacks want to employ every measure possible to help insure our safety.
No matter the loss of privacy or potential for misuse, most Americans understand that we live in difficult times and that we are at war with forces that would willfully slit every Americans throat given half a chance. “Profiling” is but one weapon at our disposal in this war with ideologically-driven killers like Khalid Sheik Muhammad, last seen on video demonically decapitating an innocent journalist whose crime was being American and Jewish – Daniel Pearl.
There is no “new” face of terrorism. It’s the same old face that assumes many forms – all wanting to destroy this country and its people.
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