Debunking the media hype.
The Sunday New York Times for September 18 carried a story by Eric Lichtblau about a “study” by “researchers” at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the San Bernardino campus of California State University, purporting to show that “hate crimes against US Muslims are not just “on the rise” but have “soared to their highest levels since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” While the FBI’s hate-crime statistics are not going to be released until November, data from this center, which is compiled from police reports, suggest that “hate crimes” against Muslims have risen 78% in one year. Some “scholars” of the subject believe that the anti-Muslim animus cannot be linked to the attacks all over the place, in Europe and America, by Muslim terrorists, nor to the attacks carried out in the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, and Libya – by members of the Islamic State, nor to the aggressive, often criminal, behavior, of so many Muslim migrants in Europe, with the constant stream of news about gang rapes, mob violence, property crimes large and small. No, it’s all the fault of some remarks of Donald Trump about the need to keep out, or at least vet more thoroughly, Muslim migrants. It’s not what Muslims do, it’s not what anyone can read in the Qur’an and Hadith, it’s what people like Trump say that supposedly explains the rise in these “hate crimes” against Muslims.
The Times article never mentions the scandal surrounding reports of “hate crimes” against Muslims, which is that more than a few such reports have later turned out to be false. And even were we to accept at face value every one of those claimed to be an anti-Muslim “hate crime,” for 2015 it amounts to 260, that is, five a week, less than one a day, in a country with 325 million people. Does this really constitute a “soaring” rate? And the evidence suggests that we have a right to be doubtful about some of those counted as “hate crimes.”
Here are a few examples: a fire supposedly set at a Texas Islamic Center in February 2015 turned out to have been set near the mosque, by a homeless man, Quba Ferguson, just trying to keep warm. In New Jersey, a Muslim man, Kashif Parvaiz, exploited the willingness of people to believe that there is murderous and rampant Islamophobia, claiming that an anti-Muslim killer had shot his wife in front of their son, screaming “terrorist” as he did so. It turned out that the man’s mistress was the killer, put up to it by him so he could rid himself of his wife and marry her. Nothing “anti-Islamic” about it.
Qur’ans were burned at an Islamic Center, and the Center’s imam, calling for restrictions on “free speech” (meaning anti-Islam speech), was joined by the media, all in a frenzied state about this supposed “hate crime.” Eventually it turned out that the book-burner was one Ali Hassan Al-Assadi, a Muslim angry with people at the local mosques, who said he burned the Qur’ans in retribution.
Want more? There’s the University of Texas Muslimah who claimed that “a gunman followed her to the campus and threatened her.” She finally admitted to making up the whole story.
Or yet another story of mosque vandalism, this time in Fresno where, after CAIR went wild with claims of yet another “hate crimes,” it turned out to have been prompted by a private grievance by one Asiuf Mohammad Khan against a Muslim woman and her family.
Google away, and you’ll find many more examples of crimes first reported as anti-Muslim “hate crimes” that turn out to have been the work of Muslims, or of non-Muslims whose motive had nothing to do with Islam.
And sometimes the original false story of a “hate crime” refuses to die, and for many becomes the accepted version of what happened, even if the investigators long ago concluded otherwise.
There was, most notably, the killing of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, by a neighbor in the same apartment complex. This was immediately reported as a “hate crime.” But the man had a long history of being agitated about parking spaces, and no history at all of being anti-Muslim. His Internet postings showed, rather, antipathy to Christianity. As to the parking spaces, he had fought with both Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors over who could park where.
But because the three people Craig Hicks killed were Muslims, at the time of the murders Muslims immediately swung into action, declaring that of course Hicks’s motive could only have been a deep-seated hatred of Muslims. Nihad Awad of CAIR was quick off the mark: “Based on the brutal nature of the crime, the past anti-religion [but they were all anti-Christian!] statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case.” Linda Sarsour, a well-known Muslim activist, insisted that the murders sent “a message to other young people in the Muslim community that the fear [of anti-Muslim hate crime] is valid.” There was much more in this vein from various Muslim activists, not one of whom could point to a single anti-Muslim statement or act by Craig Hicks. But if Muslims were killed, who cared if it was all about a parking space? It was about a parking space for Muslims. And that made it about Islam.
What everyone who came into contact with Craig Hicks knew was that he was very angry, but what he was very angry about was not Islam but the quality of life at his apartment house. And what enraged him – the neighbor from hell – were such commonplace problems as too much noise coming from other apartments. One of the Muslim survivors said that the first complaint they ever had from Hicks was over the level of noise he and his friends made while they were playing “Risk”: “You were too loud, you woke up my wife.” But what really exercised Hicks were disputes over parking.Sometimes other residents would have more visitors than they had visitors’ permits for; sometimes those visitors, or the residents themselves, parked in places not designated for them. All of this was fodder for the lunatic Hicks. But he was as incensed with non-Muslims over parking problems as he was with Muslims.
Hicks’ wife of seven years testified: “I can say with absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion of the victims, but it was related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors.” Not once in their seven years of marriage had Hicks ever mentioned any hatred of Muslims. But about parking spaces, he had plenty to say. And U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand was equally certain: “The events of yesterday are not part of a targeting campaign against Muslims in North Carolina…..there was no information this is part of an organized event against Muslims.”
Yet, in the just-published story in the New York Times, Eric Lichtblau includes this:
The statistics almost certainly understate the extent of the problem [of anti-Muslim “hate crimes”], researchers say, because victims are often reluctant to report attacks for fear of inflaming community tensions, and because it is sometimes difficult for investigators to establish that religious, ethnic or racial hatred was a cause.
In the killing last year of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C., for instance, the authorities did not bring hate crime charges against a neighbor who is charged with murdering them, despite calls from Muslims who said there were religious overtones to the violence. The police said that a parking dispute, not bigotry, may have led to the killings.
Why does he report with such bland certainty that the “statistics understate the extent of the problem” when we have so many cases of Muslims falsely reporting “hate crimes” (e.g., a man followed and threatened me, a man set fire to our mosque, a man burned a stack of Qur’ans, a man called my wife a “terrorist” and shot her, a woman mocked my hijab) for various reasons, and when we know that CAIR encourages such reporting and makes an enormous fuss over every case? Are there really examples of victims being “reluctant to report attacks”? Where does this information come from? All the evidence goes the other way. CAIR doesn’t fear “inflaming community tensions,” but wants to exaggerate the level of anti-Muslim hate crimes; it positively relishes every “hate-crime” it can add to its growing portfolio of victimhood.
In the next paragraph, Lichtblau appears to suggest that there was something wrong when the “authorities did not bring hate crime charges against” the killer in Chapel Hill. Note Lichtblau’s use of “for instance,” which means that he thinks the Chapel Hill killings were an example (a “for instance”) of a police department not bringing “hate crime” charges because “it is sometimes difficult for investigators to establish that religious, ethnic or racial hatred was a cause.”
But this was an absolutely clear case. Yet Lichtblau writes that “a parking dispute, not bigotry, may have led to the killings.” “May”? No, a parking dispute did lead to the killings. That was what the police investigation concluded. Why, at this point, does he still cast doubt by writing “may”? There was no evidence, it needs to be repeated, of any anti-Muslim feeling by Craig Hicks. He did, online, express animus toward Christianity. About Islam he expressed no antipathy. Quite the contrary: he wrote that “knowing several dozen Muslims, I’d prefer them to most Christians.” His parking space rage was directed at Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as neighbors testified, a source of constant disputes and agitation.
Eric Lichtblau has no reservations about the reporting of anti-Muslim hate crimes, or rather, he sees under-reporting where others, actually looking at the claims made initially about hate crimes, might conclude there has been too quick a willingness to label something a “hate crime.” He ignores the role that CAIR plays in egging Muslims on to report these “hate-crimes.” Naturally some of them will conclude that fabricating such crimes must help the cause of Islam. Lichtblau might at least have acknowledged that there have been cases where Muslims have falsely reported “hate-crimes” and given his readers a dozen examples.
And he is flatly wrong to hint that the Chapel Hill Police were not able to bring a “hate crime” charge against Hicks only because it was “difficult for investigators to establish that” motive. It was not “difficult,” but “impossible,” because there was not the slightest evidence to support such a charge.
What was it that prevented Eric Lichtblau from telling the truth about the Chapel Hill case? He ought to have written:
The statistics on hate-crimes against Muslims remain controversial, for each year there are a number of such charges that have then turned out to be false. Take, for example, the murders of three Muslims in Chapel Hill. Despite all the evidence that Craig Hicks was consumed with anger about a number of things, about parking spaces and noise, and Islam was never one of them. Yet CAIR and many Muslims continue to insist that the Chapel Hill murders were motivated by anti-Muslim hate, and no amount of evidence that something else explains his rage will, it seems, convince them.
That’s how Eric Lichtblau might have injected a salutary note of skepticism about Muslim reports on “hate crimes.” He chose not to. And that is a pity, not just for those who are trying to understand all the ways and means of the Stealth Jihad, but also for Eric Lichtblau himself, who in this case did not do what the New York Times claims it always does — that is, to publish all the news that’s fit to print.
Coda: It’s been ten days since Eric Lichtblau published his piece about the “under-reporting” of attacks on Muslims. How many attacks on Muslims by non-Muslims in this country have there been in that time? None. And how many attacks on non-Muslims by Muslims have there been in the same time? Oh, there was Ahmad Khan Rahani, who planted bombs in New York and New Jersey. He studied at a pro-Taliban seminary in Pakistan; he made reference to ISIS in his journal. His motives are still being investigated. And there was a Somali man who stabbed ten people at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. His motives are still unclear, but there’s been an awful lot of racial tension, according to the Associated Press, and “several Somalis said they saw pickups driving through predominantly Somali neighborhoods the night after the attack, waving confederate flags and honking.” So as of now the most likely explanation, according to authorities, is that Dahir Ahmed Adan was getting even for a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest that hasn’t yet been pulled down from its plinth in Pickpocket Woods, South Carolina (courthouse, cannon, a hero on a horse). And there was Arcan Cetin, a Turkish Muslim who murdered five people at a Macy’s store in the Cascade Mall in Washington State, and posted at Tumblr “Say SubhanAllah” (Glory to Allah)” and praised al-Baghdadi and Khamenei. But the police are still “no closer to determining the motive.” And there was the Muslim, Amjad Hussein, who made death threats to a SUNY professor, but no one as yet can figure out why.
And as for under-reporting on a monumental scale, it is only thanks to a leak that we all learned, a few days ago, that in one year the FBI had 7,712 “terrorist encounters.” None of them were reported to the American public until now. How many attacks by Muslims have been foiled, all over the Western world, that we will never hear about? Eric Lichtblau, please take note.