Jewish World Review July 12, 2002 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5762

Greg Crosby

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You can't handle the truth | Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian Muslim, known by his neighbors and employees as someone who frequently denounced America and Israel, walked up heavily armed to the Israeli airline ticket counter at LAX on the 4th of July and started shooting everyone in sight, killing two innocent people before he was put down. The FBI and other government officials involved are having trouble figuring out what to call the attack and what exactly the killer's motives were.

Lets see...hmmm. Is it terrorism? Or is it a hate crime? Or might it be an act of personal rage? Hmmm. Maybe it was a random walk-by shooting. Maybe it was just an accident. Maybe it was an act of G-d. Or maybe it was an act of Allah. But let's not jump to any conclusions about this thing now, was the official line.

From the beginning, everyone on earth with half a brain figured that this was an act of terrorism. There was no mystery to the motive either -- another Islamic fanatic is intent on taking out as many Americans and Jews as he can in order to make the world safe for Islam. For months their leaders warned us they would do this very thing, remember?

As days go by and more information comes to light substantiating what everybody already suspected, the FBI, the White House, and other agencies continue to refuse to say the "T" word in this case. Why?

National Review Editor-At-Large, John O'Sullivan offers an answer. In a column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times, O'Sullivan speculates that "the U.S. government is less afraid of terrorists than of the American public." The authorities know the habits and "M.O.s" of the terrorists, he says. Because the actions of terrorists are predicable, precautions can be taken against their attacks. "But the American public is an unknown beast that the political and media elites long ago decided was racist, sexist and homophobic."

He goes on to say that the authorities believe that Americans "cannot be trusted with inconvenient truths. In particular, we have to be prevented from launching discrimination and attacks on Muslims and Arabs in bigoted response to terrorist outrages." In other words, most Americans are dimwitted, vengeful red necks who must be lied to by their government in order to prevent them from running out and burning mosques and stringing up Arab-Americans in the village square.

But O'Sullivan makes the point that these fears are vastly exaggerated. Since September 11 only 51 cases of civil discrimination and 65 cases of criminal threats and violence against Arabs and/or Muslims were found to have merit. This in a nation of over 270 million people. Rather a small amount, all thing considered.

In an article appearing in the L.A. Times, talk radio host and JWR columnist Dennis Prager offers another take. Prager writes that "our country's officials are in a state of denial and confusion that is almost as frightening as the terrorism they are supposed to be fighting." Prager suggests that Washington and the FBI may be caught up in the bureaucratic semantics of attempting to define what constitutes a terrorist.

I think our government knows only too well what a terrorist is -- and of course they know that Hadayet was an Islamic terrorist. Whether he was part of an organized group or worked alone doesn't matter -- he was a terrorist in either case. But they won't say it out loud. And the reason is fear. Our government is afraid.

John O'Sullivan's theory may be right, partly. Could the government be afraid that there could be some sort of backlash from we stupid, unwashed masses? Maybe. What's more likely is they are afraid of being accused of "stirring up trouble" by Arab and Muslim and other civil rights groups. They are afraid of looking as if they "single out "people of Arab extraction when they are investigating murder committed by....people of Arab extraction.

The administration is scared to death -- not of the possibility of racist blue collar hicks dragging Arabs in chains down isolated country roads -- but of being accused of "Racial Profiling." And racial profiling must be avoided at all costs. That's why security people at airports spend their time strip-searching 80 year old white women.

Don't forget, racial profiling in America today is considered a very bad thing. Almost as bad as cigarette smoking and uttering the name of G-d in a public school. Maybe some day Islamic fundamentalists who murder innocent people will be considered just as bad, and will be identified as such by our authorities. Let's hope it's soon.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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