Thursday, May 21, 2009

New York City Terrorism the Old-Fashioned Way: With Bombs

Two synagogues in New York City were not blown up this week: but not for lack of effort.

Four men, American citizens, 'allegedly' thought they were planting real explosives at the Riverdale Jewish Center and another synagogue in New York City. Happily, the devices were duds, given them by an informant.

I have no idea how the trial will go, but it seems clear that these four were determined to launch their own terror attack on New York City. Aside from the two synagogues, they planned to shoot at American military aircraft, using antiaircraft missiles they got from the informant.

Details about the wannabe terrorists are still sketchy, but they said that they were on a jihad.

"...'They stated that they wanted to commit jihad,' he [Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly] said. 'More information about their motives I'm sure will be developed as the case progresses, but right now, they stated they wanted to make jihad. They were disturbed about what was happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed. They were making statements that Jews were killed in this attack and that would be all right — that sort of thing.'..." (City Room, The New York Times)

Nothing new here.

America: 'What a Country!'

While the four home-grown terrorists were going through preparations, New York City's Muslim and Jewish leaders were very active. Not throwing epithets at each other, or worse. Doing what happens rather often in America: getting together to deal with a common problem.

"...A group of Jewish and Muslim leaders have scheduled a 1 p.m. news conference at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, one of the city's largest mosques, to condemn violence.

"Imam Muhammad Shamsi Ali, the spiritual leader of the mosque, on East 96th Street near Third Avenue, and Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and founding rabbi of The New York Synagogue, are to attend. 'We call upon Muslim leaders to stand firm against the forces of evil,' Imam Ali said...."

As Yakov Smirnoff says, "what a country!"

"America Sucks," "Little Eichmanns," and Cherished Beliefs

I think that, when a number of people die from gunshot wounds, whoever was holding the gun is responsible. In this case, I think that the people planting what they though were real bombs are responsible: as well as their lookout.

However, I think it is prudent to look at why people shoot other people, and on occasion try to blow up buildings.

Last month, I wrote: "...I think a step in the right direction would be for institutions of higher education and news media to re-evaluate some of their cultural values. Particularly the cherished belief that there is no problem that cannot be blamed on America and/or American Big [whatever]...." (April 4, 2009)

I'm not making excuses for these four would-be killers. And I do not think that America is perfect.

But, this is a country that people are trying to break into: and I think there are a number of good reasons for that. America is a country where a college professor can write that the people killed in New York City's World Trade Center had it coming because they were "little Eichmanns," and have the country's courts force a university to re-hire him.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

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.