Not so long ago the Left was mocking Oklahoma for joining the “anti-Sharia movement,” treating its worries about creeping radical Islam in America as paranoid. Liberals chortled over the silliness of the state’s measure to prevent judges from considering Sharia law in any of their decisions.
Last week those concerns looked considerably less idle. The state witnessed one actual beheading by a Muslim and another threatened one. The latter involved a Kenyan-born nursing home worker who was arrested after he reportedly told a co-worker he was planning to cut her head off, saying that he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians.”
The FBI is treating the beheading of a co-worker by Alton Nolen at a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, as an act of “workplace violence.” This has met with the approval of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, for whom the story contains no connection to radical Islam. “It is a story that I read as a workplace violence story,” she said.
Nolen’s acts of violence, the beheading of one co-worker and the stabbing of another, followed his termination from the company. But that hardly renders it a typical case of workplace violence. The circumstances around his firing and subsequent rampage give the case an undeniable connection to his Islamic views. Reports indicate he was fired after recently trying to convert co-workers to Islam and that he may have been chanting Islamic verses as he conducted the beheading of his co-worker.
The firing appears to have occasioned an act of spontaneous jihadism. His Facebook postings reveal him to be a committed jihadist. “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad,” he wrote, according to press reports. “SHARIA LAW IS COMING.”
The FBI has said through the press that it doesn’t consider him to be a jihadist copycat. But his reported Facebook postings give that conclusion plenty of plausibility. That he chose beheading as his method of revenge doesn’t appear to be a coincidence. His Facebook postings make it abundantly clear that he admired Islamic terrorists. Michael Daly of the Daily Beast notes:
Nolen is said to have still had the knife he used to cut up produce and he allegedly employed it to behead a 54-year-old woman he had never met named Colleen Hufford. The result was much like in a photo of a beheading he had posted on his Facebook page in March.
“This do we find the clear precedent that explains the particular penchant of Islamic terrorists to behead their victims, it is merely another precedent bestowed by their Prophet,” reads the caption, which adds a citation from the Quran, “I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers; smite ye about their necks.”
With this heinous act, Nolen may have been seeking to convince himself, if nobody else, that he was not just an ex-con who was once again out of work. He could imagine himself an Islamist avenger like that masked monster in black who appears in the ISIS snuff videos.
Was it workplace violence or an act of Islamic terrorism? That’s how some would like to frame what happened. But there should be more categories considered than those. It appears to have had elements of both: an aspiring jihadist, fired from his job after trying to convert co-workers, may have seen a chance to strike a blow against the infidels who had dared insult him.
The haste with which the Left is categorizing it as strictly workplace violence exposes once again its unwillingness to grapple with the spread of radical Islam. President Obama hasn’t bothered to address the matter. He is too busy giving speeches on the overwhelmingly benign character of Islam to comment on such minor happenings as a beheading in the American heartland.
The administration now acknowledges it “underestimated” the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East. But its obtuse treatment of the Oklahoma beheading shows that it is still in an underestimating mode. Just because Nolen isn’t an agent of ISIS doesn’t make the story less alarming. While Obama is congratulating himself that “the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office,” it wakes up to unprecedented headlines about Americans beheaded, not only in the Middle East but now at home. Historians will not “read” Nolen’s story as one of workplace violence but as a grim tale of radical Islam’s spread in an age of politically correct complacency.