There’s a growing threat in America involving Muslims. The FBI has even recently issued a warning to alert local law enforcement about it. But our politicians and media continue to ignore it.
The threat I’m speaking of is not “radical Islam,” as the right loves to call it. Rather I’m talking about the threat of “radical Americans” who are plotting to kill Muslim Americans and to stoke the flames of hate versus Muslims in hopes that others will be inspired to do just that.
Now some may be asking “What threat against Muslim Americans?” I can fully understand that reaction, given how little our media cover plots to kill Muslims. It appears to many in the media, Muslim lives simply don’t matter.
So let me bring you up to speed on what is going in the world of “radical Americans.” Just last Friday, Glendon Scott Crawford was convicted in federal court of trying to develop a “weapon of mass destruction” to kill Muslims in his upstate New York community near Saratoga Springs. Scott, an industrial mechanic at General Electric, was constructing a “death X-ray machine” to kill Muslims because he viewed them as the “enemies of Israel,” per the indictment.
Just so it’s clear, no one has claimed that Crawford was mentally ill. He was simply a man who so despised Muslims that he wanted to use his electrical skills to kill them with radiation. He had even successfully tested, with FBI undercover agents, the remote trigger for the device. Thankfully, he will be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Do I even have to say how much media coverage we would’ve seen if a Muslim in America had been arrested plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction against Christians?
But Crawford is far from alone. A few months ago I wrote about Robert Doggart, a Tennessee Christian minister who had planned to travel to upstate New York with other men to wage, in essence, a holy war against Muslims. His plot included using assault rifles, explosives, and even a machete to cut the Muslims “to shreds.”
Doggart had also communicated with sympathetic members of militias in other Southern states. Doggart, who was arrested by the FBI days before he was planning to head to New York for reconnaissance, has been charged with solicitation to commit a civil rights violation and is facing up to 10 years in prison.
And it gets worse from there. In fact, the threat against Muslim Americans by radical Americans has escalated to the point that the FBI recently issued an alert titled “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims.” (PDF) This FBI warning notes that based on the evidence collected, it has “high confidence” that “domestic extremists” are planning violence against Muslim Americans.
The concern has reached the point to where the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) put out a press release just last week warning Muslims Americans to be especially vigilant. As CAIR noted, FBI sources indicated that militia groups have been conducting surveillance of Muslims in “diverse locations including Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Montana, New York, North and South Carolina, Utah, and Texas.”
Astoundingly, we have even seen others—all white men in the South—trying to stoke more hate against Muslims by literally fabricating terror plots and claiming it was the work of Muslims. In July, Brett Downing, a National Guard member in Georgia, claimed that he found a note on his car windshield that read: “Dear American soldier, death to you coward women child killer and all the American military. Mohammad will show no mercy on you attacks will come full force death is to come to you.”
As would be expected, this letter caused people in the community to become fearful of Muslims. However, it turned out that Downing wrote the letter himself and has now been charged with filing a false report.
And just a week ago, Jason Paul Smith, a West Virginia man, was arrested for claiming he was going to blow up the Statue of Liberty. However, when Smith called in the bomb threat, he identified himself as an ISIS terrorist named “Abdul Yasin.” (Smith is not Muslim.)
Yet these two are nothing when compared to Michael Sibley, a Georgia man and self-described “patriot” who planted a bomb in a park near his house a few months ago. In the backpack with the bomb, Sibley placed a Quran and other items he thought a Muslim would carry in the hopes of convincing the authorities that a Muslim had carried out the plot. Why? Well, he believes that “no one was paying attention to what was going on the world.”
We have alarmingly reached an ugly place in America with anti-Muslim sentiment. And while Donald Trump has not targeted Muslims with his rhetoric (at least not yet), his fear mongering will no doubt embolden others to spew hate versus various minority groups, including Muslims. And worse, this type of divisive language can inspire violence as we saw last week in Boston when two men attacked a Latino homeless man. After the assault, one of the attackers told the police: “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
Interestingly one of the two Boston attackers had also been convicted of a hate crime for assaulting a Muslim man shortly after 9/11. Thus again proving that bigots tend to hate more than just one minority group.
I would predict we will see even more plots to kill Muslims in America or at least attempts to gin up the hate toward the Muslim community. This, of course, makes ISIS ecstatic because the terror group would use any attacks on American Muslims as proof that the West hates Islam and that Muslims should join them.
I wish I could be more optimistic, but I’m a realist. My only hope is that our media starts covering these terror plots to make it clear that the threat of “radical Americans” is very real.