Five extreme reactions to the Boston Bombings
Apr 25, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz
The confusion after the bombing of the Boston Marathon last week saw a number of reactions that were ‘colourful’ to say the least. Australians will be familiar with radio broadcaster Alan Jones’ claim that the perpetrators were most likely “left-wing radical students”, as well as Bob Ellis’ rather bizarre speculation that “it seems to me likely that this was not al-Qaeda or a lone madman … but more likely, much more likely, the NRA.”
The most shocking reactions, however, did not come from Australians. Be it an unnerving sense of vindication or an incomprehensible conspiracy theory, AIJAC has compiled five of the most ‘out-there’ responses to the awful carnage that took place.
5. They had it coming
The idea that the Americans brought the attack on themselves was what popped into the heads of two seemingly unlikely allies: a Jordanian Salafist, and a United Nations lawyer.
As cited last week in a post by AIJAC’s Sharyn Mittleman, Mohammad al-Chalabi, who heads the Jordanian chapter of the extremist ‘Salafist’ movement, was elated to hear about the bombings, telling the AP that:
American blood isn’t more precious than Muslim blood. Let the Americans feel the pain we endured by their armies occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and killing our people there.
Meanwhile, a piece was published on the Foreign Policy Journal website (no connection to the magazine of the same name) by Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”
Falk, who has previously been exposed for promoting antisemitic material and 9/11 conspiracy theories, also seemed to think that the Americans deserved the attacks:
Listening to a PBS program hours after the Boston event, I was struck by the critical attitudes of several callers to the radio station: “It is horrible, but we in this country should not be too surprised, given our drone attacks that have killed women and children attending weddings and funerals in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Another caller asked, “Is this not a kind of retribution for torture inflicted by American security forces acting under the authority of the government, and verified for the world by pictures of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib?” …
Can we not expect one among our politicians, other than the Tea Party darling Rand Paul, to have the courage to connect some of these dots?Should we not all be meditating on W.H. Auden’s haunting line: “Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return”?
(via UN Watch)
Of course, America had done no evil to the actual bombers. In fact, they had both been taken in as refugees and received an extremely generous humanitarian resettlement program.
But then, they were both Muslims, so it is evident where Falk is coming from — ie the perspective that America must do its utmost not to anger any Muslims, lest they suffer the vengeance of ‘The Muslims’. This is both a rather racist way to characterise the global Muslim population and alarmingly close to al-Qaeda’s justification for attacking innocent civilians in the US.
Falk’s comments caught the attention of the US State department, who issued this response:
The United States completely rejects the provocative and offensive commentary by Mr. Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, regarding the recent terrorist attack in Boston, Massachusetts … these comments underscore once more the absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur.
4. They sent the right message
Another Salafist leader was not merely happy to see a blow being dealt to the US, but was supportive of the bombers’ motives. In a clip translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Egyptian Salafi Cleric Murgan Salem explained how all Muslims are obliged to wage jihad against all those who do not accept Islam:
[The bombers] have managed to get the message across: We can reach you whenever and wherever we want. … American is waging a war in our countries … Those courageous heroes [the bombers] have shifted the battle over to America’s own turf.
If there were any lingering doubts as to where exactly Salem’s allegiances lay, he then cleared the issue up. Salem apparently is not”‘from al-Qaeda”, but is sympathetic to their worldview:
Although I am not from Al-Qaeda, I can say, as someone who has known these people, that the path of Al-Qaeda is the path of the Koran, which calls upon [Muslims] to wage Jihad against infidels who attack them and intervene in their affairs. This is the path of Islam and the Koran, and not something invented by Osama Bin Laden. … Whoever does not accept Islam is an infidel. Allah said so, not me.
3. The Jews and the American right in cahoots
MEMRI also translated a column by Palestinian-born Jordanian journalist As’ad Al-‘Azouni on Jordanian website Ammon News. According to Azouni, the bombing was really a Jewish-orchestrated conspiracy to intimidate Obama into preventing a Palestinian state from being created.
You heard it here first:
It has been known for quite some time that the U.S. is at the epicenter of a Jewish plan to harm it by removing it from its throne as the world’s only superpower – in accordance with the exploitative Jewish approach. …
We will never forget the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that shook America. But if you think about it, you will find that the Jews and their allies in the American right committed that heinous crime in order to embroil America in wars of attrition in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in order to keep it from recuperating and resuming its pressure on Israel to resolve the Palestinian problem by establishing a Palestinian state. …
The terrorist bombing … clearly bears Jewish fingerprints. It is a message to President Obama to stop messing with Israel. … The Jews and their allies in the American right – who harbor intense hatred for anyone who isn’t white and still regret that a black president occupies the White House – will not let President Obama discharge his second term in office without problems. The Jews, as usual, are impossible to make an alliance with. They have no loyalty towards those who have served them, and betrayal is in their nature.”
In a similar vein, albeit relatively toned-down, was South African news watchdog the ‘Media Review Network’ (MRN). Also mentioned in Sharyn’s post (and originally picked-up by the ‘Elder of Zion’ blog), MRN issued a since-deleted press release warning of “right-wing groups possibly allied to Israel”.
We also urge media to be mindful of the possibility of a deliberate orchestrated campaign by any number of right-wing groups possibly allied to Israel.
Israel’s secret service and intelligence agencies are known to possess a huge foot print within many right-wing circles primarily devoted to a campaign of vilification of Islam and Muslims.
The MRN’s official mission statement is to “dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country.”
“Understanding”, that is, of such issues as “Jewish power the ‘0.002%’ world problem” – the title of a blatantly antisemitic screed on their website. Apparently, dispelling myths and stereotypes about Muslims involves anti-Jewish conspiracy-mongering.
2. Reading between the lines
Also mentioned in Sharyn’s post was a statement from Essam El-Erian, the vice chairperson of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party:
Our sympathy with the families of the victims, and the American people do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.
This series of events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali … Bombings intensified in Syria in a suspicious manner that deviated from the path of the great Syrian revolution … Violent explosions returned, rearing their ugly heads again in Iraq, targeting peaceful movements aiming for needed reform. …
A question that forces itself: Who disturbed democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred, and intolerance to freedom, justice tolerance, development, human dignity, and social justice? Who planted Islamophobia through research, the press, and the media? Who funded the violence?
El-Erian did not answer those thought-provoking questions, leaving the audience to ponder. Was it the US government? Was it the Jews? Or are they one and the same?
1. ‘US is rule by jews’
Finally, there was controversial Islamist Indian parliamentarian Akbar Owaisi. In this Facebook post, tweeted by Canadian secular Muslim/anti-Islamist activist Tarek Fatah, Owaisi reacted to the bombings with a rather non-sequitur “Innocent people killed in this so sad of that :(. US is rule by jews”.
Extra props goes to Owaisi’s Facebook friend Mohd Zahed Ali for his breathtakingly wise observation that “Killin innocent people is like being evil.”