On February 18th, a man who had posted conservative anti-tax rants on a website crashed his airplane into an IRS office in Austin Texas. This was the third act of far-right political violence since the FBI issued a report saying that such acts would become a danger. During that time there have been only two acts of Islamoid political violence.
Muslim Blogger Aziz Poonwalla says we should not blame the Tea Party movement for this attack. I understand and admire his willingness not to do unto others what has so frequently been done to Muslims, but I think he is being too easy on the far right fringe movements.
It is, of course, unfair to blame the Tea party groups and Sarah Palin for this act--exactly as unfair as blaming all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks. Nevertheless, it's important to point out that if we consistently applied the standards that many Americans use for evaluating and categorizing Islamoid terrorism, everyone would recognize that those standards are unfair and confused. Poonwalla points out that there is no evidence that this man is a member of the Tea Party movement. However, there is no such thing as membership to the Tea party movement. They are a mob, not an organization, and expressing ideas similar to theirs is the only requirement for membership. For many otherwise intelligent Americans, the shouting of "Alahu Akbar" was all that was necessary to transform Hassan from a lone gunman into a member of terrorist movement. Why should it be any different for Anti-Tax terrorists?
More importantly, no one is imposing the so-called obligation to renounce terrorism on the far right when it comes to this case. On the contrary, at least one prominent conservative refused to denounce the Austin attacks. According to NYTimes columnist Gail Collins:
"Scott Brown... the new senator from Massachusetts, was asked on Fox News about the I.R.S. office attack. He appeared to embrace the possibility that the pilot of the plane might have been one of his followers.
'And I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense, not only in my election but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated,” he said. 'They want transparency.'"
If a Muslim Imam had made this kind of statement about 9/11, he probably would have been jailed.
P.S. I just coined a new word "Islamoid", because I don't like implying that these terrorists are genuine Muslims when there so many renunciations of both suicide and slaughtering innocent people in the Koran. The suffix "oid" is usually used to mean something that vaguely resembles what the suffix modifies, but doesn't really belong in the category i.e. a planetoid is not really a planet, an asteroid is not really a star, and a humanoid is not really human.