Erasing the 'Faces of Global Terrorism'
The FBI takes down photos of wanted terrorists to avoid giving offense.
In the same war against truth that recently saw the UK ban Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, the FBI announced it will be pulling ads featuring wanted terrorists off Seattle-area buses, due to complaints that they stereotype Muslims.
The 46 ads are part of a campaign initiated by the Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program. Sixteen photos of wanted terrorists are featured beneath the heading, “Faces of Global Terrorism.” Below the photos, the tagline reads, “Stop a Terrorist. Save Lives. Up to $25 Million Reward.”
On Tuesday, Titan, the company handling King County Metro bus advertising, received a request from the agency task force, asking that the ads be taken down, according to King County Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer. Switzer further revealed that King County Metro had receive six complaints about the ad on its customer information line. FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt said the pullback was "a result of our continued engagement with the community and the feedback we are getting.“
Part of that feedback came from Jeff Siddiqui, the founder of American Muslims of Puget Sound. Siddiqui said he had received phone calls from other Seattle Muslims concerned for their safety. He contended an ad posted by the government of men from another ethnic group on billboards with the tagline, "the face of murders in the United States," would be just as objectionable. "It is affecting all kinds of people who have no experience with Muslims, who look at it and say, ‘Oh, Muslims are the face of global terrorism,’” Siddiqui contended.
Actually, according to a 2011 National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) report published in 2012, Muslims are the face of global terrorism. The report reveals that Sunni Muslims were responsible for "about 70 percent" of the 12,533 terrorist murders committed in 2011. This compares to 1,926 murders committed by “secular/political/anarchist” groups, 1,519 by “unknown” factions, 170 by a category described as “other”, and 77 by “Neo-Nazi/Fascist/White Supremacist” groups.
Muslims also comprised the largest number of victims. "In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years,“ the report added.
Nonetheless, showing photos of wanted terrorists – and hence, showing the truth about Islamic terrorism – was vocally opposed by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). He wrote a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller last week, saying that such ads "only serve to exacerbate the disturbing trend against Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim-Americans.” “When you start saying that this is the face of terrorism, you are really stigmatizing a whole group of people,” he added.
McDermott took his criticism one step further in an interview with King 5 News reporter Eric Wilkinson, alleging, predictably, that the ads were racist. "You look at the pictures, they’re all one color of folks,“ the Congressman contended. "Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re gonna talk about terrorists, then don’t just talk about people with brown skin,” he said. “How many white faces were there on there?”
At least one. Omar Hammami, listed by the FBI, is a 29-year-old from Alabama. Three men of Asian descent were pictured as well. The complete breakdown is as follows: seven of the men are from countries in Africa, four are Filipino, three are U.S. born, one is Malaysian and one is Chechen. Furthermore, the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list is comprised of 32 people in total, only six of whom are not Middle Eastern in origin.
But according to McDermott, those looking at a poster on a bus moving at 35 mph can’t see the differences. "The impression you get is that terrorism is caused by brown-skinned men with beards, and occasionally they wear a turban – which isn’t true,“ he insisted. McDermott’s office said State Department staff members attended a meeting last Monday with area community and civil rights organizations. As of now, two different ads will remain in place, posted on billboards, light rail and at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Yet in a move virtually guaranteed to render them ineffective, no photos will be included.
Telling the truth about global jihad is becoming a riskier and riskier business. Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, has informed dedicated anti-jihadists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer that they have been barred from entering the UK for three to five years. They were scheduled to speak an English Defence League rally in London this weekend. For merely conveying facts about Islamic jihad, the Home Office charged that Spencer and Geller have set up "anti-Muslim hate groups” and that their presence in the UK would “not be conducive to the public good.” The denial was based on ostensible violations of the British government’s “Unacceptable Behaviour” policy. One of the violations of that policy is to express views that “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”
Fostering hatred is a remarkably flexible term in Britain. While Spencer and Geller have been unfairly demonized, no action has been taken against a genuine hate-spewer, British cleric, Anjem Choudary. Choudary recently told his followers to claim welfare benefits and said that Prime Minister David Cameron should be killed. Yet Choudary is not only welcome to say whatever he wants, he is also welcome to take home more than $38,000 a year in welfare transfers, and live in a house in Leytonstone, East London worth more than $486,000. That he also mentored the terrorist thugs who hacked to death British soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight on a London street is of no consequence as well.
Supports may justify the tolerance of Choudary’s hatred by the fact that he’s a British citizen whose father was a Pakistani immigrant who sought refuge in the UK. However, there are a multitude of jihadi foreigners welcomed into the country. For instance, the Home Office allowed radical Saudi preacher Muhhamed al Arefe into the country, despite al Arefe's statement that a man "may use beatings to discipline his wife.“ Arefe is known for promoting hatred against Shiites, and a movement developed to petition the Home Office to refuse him entry because he instigates "community tension.” The Home Office, of course, denied the request.
With respect to both the Seattle bus ad debacle and the banning of Spencer and Geller, the common denominator is the vicious effort to conceal the truth about terrorism and its primary cause, radical Islamic ideology. Meanwhile, those who oppose the true hate preachers and violence promoters are delusionally accused of the very crimes they seek to expose. Every one of the men pictured in the bus ads in Seattle is a dedicated terrorist. Yet as far as the unholy alliance of American leftists and Muslim activists is concerned, any depiction of that reality constitutes “Islamophobia.” The same unholy alliance in the UK countenances the likes of Choudary and al Arefe, while those who would challenge their despicable world view are literally barred from entering the country. The Orwellian paradigm of “war is peace … ignorance is strength” is rapidly becoming too hegemonic to combat.
Sadly, none of this is surprising. Islamists, like their leftist allies, have become well-versed in both newspeak and incrementalism. Grievance politics frees them to promulgate intolerant jihadism, even as those who challenge them are tarred as religious bigots. Incrementalism enhances that effort, as the West slowly capitulates in a variety of ways, the most distressing of which are the scrubbing of references to jihad and Islamic terror FBI training manuals and the ongoing infiltration of Islamists into the highest levels of U.S. government.
The Rewards for Justice program has been around since 1984. Approximately $125 million has been paid to more than 80 people for information that led to the arrests and convictions of those who would do Americans grievous harm. In 1995, it played a significant role in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Despite that reality, the ads will be removed from Seattle buses in the next seven to ten days. What won’t be removed is the ongoing threat to this nation posed by Islamic terrorism and its perpetrators.
Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.