March 06, 2006
At least he didn't ram a gay bar!
I'm intrigued by Ayman al Zawahiri's latest remarks:
Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said offences against Prophet Mohammad were part of a "crusader" campaign led by the United States, and he urged Muslims to conduct new strikes on the West.Really? As if to underscore al Qaida's new hardline policy, Zawahiri repeated the anti-gay message, while throwing in an oddly gratuitous reference to "Jesus Christ":
Zawahri, wearing a black turban -- a symbol of war to Muslims -- and seated in front of a curtained window, waived his right hand while speaking, emphasizing his message.I don't know whether he really said "Jesus Christ" but if he did, the "Christ" term is not merely a name, but has distinct religious significance, and I'm wondering what the old coot is up to.
Why add the homos all of a sudden and throw in Jesus? Might this be a crude way of attempting to broaden the message? As to what Zawahiri wants his loyal supporters to do, he emphasizes economic losses:
Zawahri added: "(Muslims have to) inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure, with strikes that would make it bleed for years."Would he be happy with something small and spontaneous in North Carolina as a sort of appetizer? I note that the video was aired by al Jazeera on Saturday, but the audio track was "posted on the Internet earlier." I certainly hope there's no connection between Zawahiri's exortations and Friday's terrorist attack at the University of North Carolina in which an Iranian student rammed his SUV into a crowd of students to "avenge the death of Muslims around the world." Students are planning to protest today University's cowardly attempt to deny it's terrorism.
According to UNC's student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel, the protest targets "the news media's reluctance to label it terrorism."
Is the reluctance based on the fact that an SUV was used and they don't want to "cause a panic"? What are the qualifying attributes of an act of terrorism these days?
Do you have to use a plane?
Parenthetically, I think it's worth noting that not only was alcohol not involved, but as of last Spring, the SUV-wielding Iranian "lived up to the religious ideals of being a good person," "had begun studying the Quran," and "completely swore off alcohol and drugs."
While I don't know what goes on at "the Pit" the Iranian's target was described as "a sunken, brick-paved area surrounded by two libraries, a dining hall and the student union."
Probably a place where students enjoy having fun -- precisely the sort of thing guys like Zawahiri want to stop.
(The best way to defy these assholes is to keep right on doing it.)
The diversity of denial is a common thread these days.
AND MORE: In another must-read essay, Jeff Goldstein really lets Yale and the multicultural left have it, arguing that feminists are laying the groundwork "for the deconstruction of western feminism itself" and concluding:
....over the last few years, I’ve come to recognize that America is battling for its very soul—and the battle is between those who promote liberal founding principles, and those whose learned relativism has taken a turn toward Machiavellian power politics and the attempt to wrest control over metanarratives, and has done so while, ironically, clinging to the liberal label.I agree. This is not to defend Machiavelli, but I think "Machiavellian" may be too kind (at least, too Western) a word for people who seek destruction of not merely liberal founding principles, but of all Western philosophical systems -- including Machiavelli's -- which factored into the founders' thinking. (The harsh and ruthless Machiavellian concept of virtue, while certainly at odds with our democratic tradition, is under assault along with the American concept of individuality.)
The guy I spoke with said Taheri-azar pledged his fraternity, Sig Ep, and that the frat "blackballed" him, meaning kicked him out because he was such a recluse and antisocial. They referred to him as "Mo."Interesting. That conflicts with the report I cited earlier, and I'm wondering what the relevant time frames are. I think it's very unlikely that he's connected to any organized terrorist group, and this looks like a "do it yourself" lone man op. (It's fortunate he didn't use explosives -- although lone terrorists inside Israel use anything they can get their hands on, including knives.)
MORE: The defendant's statements at his arraignment make it clear (to me at least) that the man had a religious motivation for his crime, and sees his own trial as a propaganda opportunity:
Judge Patricia Devine asked if he had any questions at this morning's arraignment.This is not looking like a personal grudge involving a depressed student who snapped.
MORE: An anonymous commenter below states:
I didn't say he was rejected because of his drug use. There are plenty, plenty, of frat boys who smoke marijuana. This was not your service fraternity. They rejected him because he didn't get along well, didn't fit in, and kept to himself all the time, which goes against the point of a frat.I appreciate the correction. What I'm especially interested in is when the marijuana and alcohol use occurred. Is The Daily Tarheel report (from a named source) correct in its portrayal of him as "reformed"? Or is that old news from last Spring? Has he been drinking and smoking pot since then?
MORE: As to the definition of terrorism, there are many, but I'm inclined to agree with UNC student Stephen Mann
Muslim students who debated with organizers and said Taheri-azar had not been linked to any terrorist group.That would include people like Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, and, yes, Mr. Taher-azar (if he is convicted).
MORE: According to a police recording Taher-azar told a dispatcher that he wanted to "punish the government":
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A University of North Carolina graduate accused of running down nine people on campus told an emergency dispatcher he wanted to "punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world," according to a 911 recording released Monday.
IMPORTANT NOTE: By referring to Zawahiri, I do not mean to suggest that he is directly in charge of individual acts of terrorism. Rather, he is (a bit like Zerzan and others, discussed infra) a sort of philosophical inspiration:
Instead, we need to face up to the simple truth that bin Laden, Zawahiri et al do not need to organise attacks directly. They merely wait for the message they have spread around the world to inspire others. Al-Qaeda is now an idea, not an organisation.
UPDATE (03/07/06): Today's Philadelphia Inquirer (on page A7) has picked up the story, headlined "Graduate held in SUV attack cites Allah at N.C. bail hearing."
UPDATE (03/09/06): Glenn weighs in:
There's no question that this [Islamist] angle is being downplayed. But it's arguable that the papers are doing this to reduce the likelihood of copycats. This doesn't appear to have been any sort of organized attack, just a lone-wolf effort by a guy who's not too sharp. It's still terrorism, of course, of a sort -- after all, Eric Rudolph was a lone-wolf guy who wasn't too sharp, though he seems to have been considerably sharper than Taheri-azar -- but in some ways it's more like the school shootings of the 1990s than real Al Qaeda type terrorism. Hyping those shootings led to copycats, and made the killers look like martyrs to disturbed potential imitators. There's a pretty good argument that the same applies here, and that it's more responsible to address this in fairly muted tones.If these things are philosophically inspired, the less inspiration the better.
posted by Eric on 03.06.06 at 07:48 AM
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