The Spectacle Blog

Friedersdorf: Conservatives Don’t Want to Talk About Temple Massacre

By on 8.8.12 | 5:51PM

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf complains that Americans aren't paying enough attention to last Sunday's shooting at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin which claimed the lives of six of its members because the shooter is white. Not surprisingly, Friedersdorf is quick to criticize conservatives:

There is, however, another factor that likely explains some of the reticence of some Americans, including professional commentators, to focus very much attention on the Oak Creek massacre.

Their disclination to grapple with it has less to do with the victims than the gunman. The key factor isn't that their Sikhs; it's that the apparent homegrown terrorist -- a term virtually no one would object to had a murderous Muslim burst into the Sikh temple -- was perpetuated by a white guy.

Hold the victims constant and give the perpetrator the last name Mohammed. Does anyone think for a moment that such an attack wouldn't still be the most discussed story at Fox News and National Review? And at various network news shows and unaffiliated newspapers for that matter?

Instead Wade Michael Page was the gunman.

In other words, according to Friedersdorf, conservatives aren't talking about Oak Creek because the shooter was white. What utter rubbish!!!

By making that claim Friedersdorf assumes that being white and Muslim are mutually exclusive. Perhaps Friedersdorf is unfamiliar with John Walker Lindh.

Friedersdorf is being equally presumptous when he suggest that "virtually no one would object" to the term "homegrown terrorist" being applied to a Muslim. Well, Nidal Malik Hasan was born and raised in Virginia and yet the liberal press fell all over itself trying not to call Hasan a terrorist despite the fact he screamed "Allahu Akbar" and left a business card with the inscription SOA  ("Soldier of Allah") as he massacred his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. Remember when the liberal media tried to suggest the shooting was a result of PTSD despite the fact Hasan had not been deployed overseas.

For his part, President Obama lectured the nation not to jump to conclusions and the official report into the terrorist attack at Fort Hood released last December concluded the shootings were a result of workplace violence. Well, most people who commit workplace violence don't get called a hero by al Qaeda's top man in Yemen. BTW, the late Anwar al-Awlaki was also born in the United States.

If a Muslim had attacked the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek there is a good chance this inclination towards political correctness by the Obama Administration and the liberal press would once again be in play and thus would be the subject of scrutiny on conservative websites and fair & balanced news organizations.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Friedersdorf citing the Department of Homeland Security's 2009 report about military veterans committing terrorism. Friedersdorf writes, "Whatever you think of the document, its warning against the possibility of a disgruntled military veteran perpetrating right-wing extremist violence seems vindicated by initial reports from Wisconsin." Well, the report referred to a potential threat from "returning military veterans" from Afghanistan and Iraq. Guess what? Wade Michael Page wasn't deployed overseas and neither was Nidal Malik Hasan. The DHS report was wrong then and it is wrong now.

What must be remembered about Islamic terrorism is that it is a global phenonmenon. The actions of Nidal Malik Hasan were celebrated all over the Muslim world. This isn't to say that neo-Nazism doesn't cross geographical boundaries. It certainly does. Yet Page could not recruit anyone to join him.

With that said, Page was able to wreak havoc on his own. Six people freely and peaceably practicing their religion in their house of worship are dead. It was both an act of terrorism and an act of evil and we should not forget that it happened. It is worthy of thoughtful discussion but so is the terrorist attack at Fort Hood.

By injecting race into the discussion and casting aspersions on the motivations of conservatives, Friedersdorf cheapens both the meaning of racism and himself.

 

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