The Shadow of Seattle
by Stephen Schwartz
It has elsewhere been noted that while pundits across America agonize over the anti-Semitic babble of actor Mel Gibson, the commentocracy have had little to say about the murderous July 28 attack on a Jewish community facility in Seattle.
In that despicable incident, 30-year old Naveed Afzal Haq kidnapped a 13-year old and used her as a cover to penetrate the premises. He then sprayed the building with gunfire, leaving Pamela Waechter, 58, dead, and five more people injured. Waechter had followed a remarkable path, having been raised in the Lutheran church and then converting to Judaism.
Reporting in the mainstream media (MSM) has notably underplayed this terrible incident, which should be taken as a wake-up call for Americans, especially American Muslims.
Naveed Haq is of Pakistani origin, which points to an unfortunate but undeniable reality: the Pakistani-American Sunni Muslim community is dominated by radical Islamist ideology. Pakistani clerics in Sunni mosques are well-known for their extreme teaching. In the Seattle area alone, a Sunni mosque has been the scene of sectarian conflict with Iraqi Shia Muslims – an importation of terrorist rhetoric from tormented Iraq. The latter has been documented by the Center for Islamic Pluralism.
In the July 28 atrocity, the accused murderer in Seattle, who is being held on $50 million bail, reportedly shouted accusations against Jews and identified himself as a "Muslim American" who was "angry at Israel." Naveed Haq has suffered visible mental illness since high school. If the defendant is shown to be mentally unbalanced, it will prove somewhat unfair to blame his act on Islamist ideology alone. Haq's background, however, indicates that his instability may have been exacerbated by his environment.
Haq lives in the Tri-Cities area of southeast Washington, and his father, Mian Haq, was a founder of a mosque there: the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities, in Richland.
But the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities, and an associated property, are affiliated with the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT is controlled by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and ISNA is an arm of the ultraradical Wahhabi clerics and state religious administration of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-Wahhabis remain the prime financiers of terrorism in the West and in the Muslim world. They are the inspirers of al-Qaeda. For them even Hezbollah is an enemy, because they hate Shia Muslims as much or more than they hate Jews and Christians, incredible as that may seem.
A representative of the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities rushed to condemn the Seattle attack and to offer sympathy to the victims. But nobody at the Richland NAIT mosque has yet been questioned on whether an atmosphere of corrosive Jew-baiting in the Islamic Center might not have stimulated Haq to action.
It would further seem that a religious congregation should have done more to reach out and assist the son of one of its founders, when the young man evinced mental problems. But the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities, if it is a typical NAIT mosque serving radical Pakistani-Americans, may likely have been more concerned with agitation and incitement than with assisting members of its community to get the help they need. It is also less than reassuring to think that radical Islamist preaching may find an audience in the workforce of the Hanford nuclear facility, the primary employer in Richland, which hires numerous Pakistani engineers.
The shadow of Seattle falls much more heavily over every Jewish community in America, than the idiotic remarks of Mel Gibson. It is undeniably clear that a serious potential for hate crime exists among American Muslims. Moderate Muslims must be in the front ranks of the struggle to extirpate this trend, which endangers Jews, moderate Muslims, and other Americans alike. Moderate, mainstream, and traditional Muslims who reject radicalism must stand in defense of the American Jewish community at this hour. The shadow of Seattle must be lifted and American daylight restored to interfaith relations.
Related Topics: American Muslims, Muslim-Jewish Relations receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free center for islamic pluralism mailing list
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