Jihadism’s E-Z Pass to New York

After Tuesday’s terrorist attack, the useless pols of New York quickly assembled before the cameras to recite the usual litany of politically correct talking points. Looking like a lost giraffe, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped up to the microphone and said that “the last thing we should do is start casting dispersions” on Islam. That moment of illiteracy was then followed by a burst of illogic, as he argued that the proper response to Islamic terrorism in a tolerant country is even more tolerance.

“Anyone who wants to come into this country should be very thoroughly vetted as an individual,” he said. “But the minute you start generalizing it, especially to a whole religion, then unfortunately we’re sending the exact negative message that a lot of our enemies want and the terrorists wants to affirm — that this nation is somehow anti-Muslim. We’ve got to do the exact opposite. We’ve got to show we respect all people in America.”

In other words, let’s prioritize political correctness over safety and propaganda over truth. That is exactly what “our enemies want,” and that’s why they seek out the most progressive, “Islam-friendly” capitals in the world — from New York City to London to Paris — as the scenes of their terrorism. They know that the liberal West is too stupid and decadent to defend itself.

Another fatuous figure at the post-attack press conferences was John Miller, the NYPD’s “Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism,” which is an oddly weighty title for a former news reader from ABC and CBS. Miller still has his anchormanish baritone and likes to state and then restate the obvious, all while telling everyone to ignore the elephant in the room. “This isn’t about Islam,” he said. “This isn’t about the mosque he attends.” The latter comment was in response to criticism that de Blasio and his former police commissioner Bill Bratton had ended NYPD surveillance at the mosque Sayfullo Saipov attended.

Seeking to absolve themselves of any responsibility, the assembled hacks cast Saipov as a “lone wolf” whom no one could have seen coming. Never mind that the FBI had once interviewed him about his terrorist connections. According to media reports, two suspected terrorists under investigation by the FBI and Homeland Security had listed Saipov as their “point of contact.” Some lone wolf.

Vigilant government officials uncowed by political correctness could certainly have seen him coming. A perfect storm of liberal idiocy made his terrorism possible, starting with the “diversity lottery program” that mindless multiculturalists in Congress started to ensure that foreigners who hate America had a shot at citizenship too.

It is now known that Saipov attended a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey that de Blasio prided himself on protecting from NYPD scrutiny. Before de Blasio, the NYPD used to send plainclothes detectives into it and kept an eye on new arrivals from ethnic Islamic communities.

But the agitprop Islamic activist Linda Sarsour had cast such mosque monitoring as “psychological warfare in our community” and convinced de Blasio and Bratton to shut down what was called the “Demographics Unit.” John Miller joined in this propaganda, dismissing the program as unnecessary. City officials treated Sarsour as the toast of the town, bestowing upon her various honors. Mayor de Blasio pronounced himself “deeply troubled” by the monitoring of mosques and described the dismantling of the program as a “critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve.”

All of the inane chatter after Tuesday’s terrorist attack — that Saipov was “self-radicalizing,” that he represents “no wider threat,” that he is a “lone wolf” — is exactly what you would expect from a political class unwilling to take the problem of Islamic terrorism seriously. After all, if he is “self-radicalizing,” what can they do about it? And if he is just a lone wolf who has now been caught, why not resume life as normal? Besides justifying passivity and invigilance, these rhetorical deflections are designed to whitewash Islam, to make its violent branches seem small and insignificant.

Cuomo and de Blasio have spent more time deriding Trump for his anti-Islamic “bigotry” than taking steps to prevent Islamic terrorism. After Trump in 2015 said that it “was a mistake” for New York City to end “surveillance going on in and around mosques,” de Blasio called him a “blowhard” and asked, “Who are you going to trust on security and keeping people safe? Bill Bratton or Donald Trump?” He also rejected as fanciful Trump’s claim that some Muslims in New Jersey had cheered the 9/11 attacks. Trump’s comments look prescient now. According to investigators, Saipov chose Paterson, New Jersey, as his landing spot after his stints in Ohio and Florida because of its radical Islamic community.

All New Yorkers can take from de Blasio’s pathetic press conference is that the only thing that stands between them and the next Islamic terrorist attack is luck. “We understand this was an attack on our values,” said de Blasio. “It was an effort to break our spirit. But as an effort to break our spirit it failed.” What values? What spirit? He speaks for a political class bereft of both — a political class that will always choose political correctness over protecting its own people.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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