The Backlash That Wasn’t
In the wake of any Islamist terrorist attack, two reactions from Islamist community leaders are sure to follow.
They will condemn the attack, but deny it has any connection to Islam despite the terrorists’ own expressions. And they will raise alarm bells about the impending backlash of violence against the broader Muslim community.
Beating up a random person or vandalizing a mosque is criminal and despicable and does nothing to stop terrorism or bring justice to its victims. But weeks after two very public and very gruesome Islamist attacks, there is no sign of that backlash taking place.
In Britain, Telegraph London editor Andrew Gilligan dissects a list of alleged abuses from an Islamist group and finds it dramatically hyped. More than half of the 212 cases cited as the backlash from the butchering of a British soldier in Woolwich were offensive Internet postings. Those may be “nasty and undesirable, certainly,” Gilligan writes,”but some way from violence or physical harm and often, indeed, legal.”
Of the 16 cases involving physical assault, six involved objects being thrown and others targeted Muslim clothing items such as attempts to rip off a woman’s hijab. The source for the list, a group called “Tell Mama,” is subsidized by the British government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks.
Similarly, The American Muslim website recently posted 36 examples of “Anti-Muslim backlash after Woolwich.” The list is derived from “press reports of Islamophobic crimes” since the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, who was struck by a car, stabbed and beheaded by two men shouting “Allahu Akhbar” on a London street.
Ten of those alleged crimes involve online comments, mostly Twitter or Facebook. Three involve verbal insults and 13 incidents of vandalism – mostly in the form of graffiti. In one incident labeled a crime “bacon and pork were left outside” a mosque.
In the United States, an Associated Press report includes a rare acknowledgment from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that it has “seen no uptick in reports of harassment, assaults or damage to mosques since the April 15 [Boston] bombings.”
That isn’t likely to change the “backlash” warnings following the next attempted or successful terrorist attack. Gilligan calls its advocates part of the “Islamophobia industry.” For them, the notion that Muslims are under attack is good business. “‘Islamophobic’ is also a handy charge to throw at anyone who questions Islamist ideology,” he writes.