Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bottle-Thrower and the Flying Imams

Hate Crime! Chemical Warfare in America! Anti-Muslim Attackers!

Or maybe irresponsible kids with too much time on their hands in August.

The Reuters headline read, Arizona mosque targeted in "acid bomb" attack" - what the article actually said was that a couple of guys in a red car threw a soda pop bottle with "pool cleaner and strips of tin foil" in the general direction of a mosque in Glendale, Arizona.

The soda pop bottle hit a sidewalk (or maybe a street- more of that later) around 20 to 25 feet away (about 7 meters) from one of the "Flying Imams" or "Minnesota Imams" and another man.

Police sergeant Jim Toomey said that there have been five other soda-pop-bottle attacks in or around Glendale over the last three days. This attack on a mosque and/or one of the Flying Imams is the only one with a religious connection.

"The bottle ruptured in front of them and they smelled a strong chemical smell when it went off," sergeant Toomey said in the article. "We are treating it as a hate crime. We are taking it very seriously ... Until we know (the reason), we are going to assume that (the mosque attack) was religiously motivated," he added.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Flying Imams and their lawyer have had death threats: and that the Glendale police should those threats as part of their investigation.

As usual, I've got quite a few opinions about this event.
  • "The Flying Imams" would be a good name for a rock group
  • The Glendale police deserve commendation for including religious motivation in their investigation
  • With 5 other attacks like this one, except on non-religious targets, in the last 3 days, this "acid bomb" attack might not be religiously motivated
  • Reuters was remarkably, low-key and vague about just what the Flying Imams did to get themselves inconvenienced
  • The Reuters article doesn't mention where the car was, relative to the mosque
azcentral.composted an Arizona Republic article with information that Reuters considered unimportant.
  • The bottle bomb hit the street, not the sidewalk, according to the A.R. article
  • The mosque was a "converted mobile home" with no markings to show that it was a mosque
  • Back in 2004, there was a suspicious fire on the outside of Al Sadiq Mosque in Glendale
  • That mosque had no markings to show the nature of the building
  • The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is "grateful for the attention being given by Glendale police," according to the Arizona news source.
Ibraham Hooper, CAIR national communications director in Washington, D.C., said, "We appreciate the professional response of the local law enforcement authorities and urge the FBI to add its resources to the investigation," quite a different impression than the one left by Reuters.

The no-hate-crime-here statement about the 2004 fire came from Deedra Abboud, a former Arizona CAIR chapter.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it may be that two reports of the same incident can state only objective facts, and still give two very different impressions of the incident.

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In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.