An 18-year-old from Maine, along with two unnamed teens, have been arrested for plotting to bomb a Chicago mosque. These teens must be MAGA-hatted “Islamophobes” driven to violence by Donald J. Trump, right? That’s the clear impression that many of the news reports convey, and it’s what the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) would have you believe. CAIR’s deputy director, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, declared, “This disturbing case highlights the real threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry, antisemitism and other forms of hate.” Actually, it doesn’t do any such thing, and highlights a quite different phenomenon. As is generally true when it comes to establishment media spin, the facts are otherwise.
The Waterville, Maine Morning Sentinel says “Waterville man, 18, planned to use explosives for ‘mass murder’ at Chicago mosque.” Chicago’s WLS reports “Maine teen recruited 2 others to help commit ‘mass murder’ at Chicago area mosque: feds.” CNN has the same slant: “Maine teen accused of plotting to attack a Chicago area mosque.” But the real story is that the chief perpetrator, Xavier Pelkey, and his fellow plotters are Sunni Muslims who were planning a jihad massacre at a Shi’ite mosque.
On March 2, I wrote about a Sunni-Shi’ite dispute at the University of Connecticut, noting that “open-door immigration policies can lead to the introduction of ancient enmities into places where they have never been seen before.” I also said, “The Sunni-Shi’ite relationship has been characterized by 1,400 years of violence. We can be grateful that the UConn controversy didn’t involve any violence. But the smart money would be on that violence also arriving here eventually.”
Well, I hate to say I told you so, but not that much. According to Fox News, Pelkey “and an unnamed 17-year-old and 15-year-old from Kentucky and the Chicago area communicated through Instagram and other chat applications and planned an attack on a specific mosque in late March during ‘spring break.’” The mosque in question was Shi’ite, and what these young men had in mind was positively chilling:
One of the teens ‘explained that they would enter the Shia mosque and separate the adults from the children, then murder the adults,’ the court documents said. ‘If they had not encountered law enforcement at that point, they would continue on to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and execute the same plan. They did not have a plan to escape but rather their plan ended with them being shot by law enforcement.’
All this can be understood by recourse to Islamic texts and teachings that American law enforcement and intelligence officials resolutely ignore, because to study them would be “Islamophobic.” The enmity and violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites goes back practically to the beginning of Islam; the hatred toward Jews is based on the Qur’an, which states that they are the worst enemies of the Muslims (5:82). The idea of not escaping, but rather being shot by law enforcement, stems from the Qur’an’s promise of a place in paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111).
These young men were extremely serious about their plot:
Chicago FBI agents seized multiple firearms, including a Remington pump shotgun, swords, knives, a bow and arrows, multiple homemade ISIS flags, and multiple electronic devices from the 15-year-old’s home following a search warrant, the FBI said. While speaking to the FBI, the 17-year-old said Pelkey ‘had talked about gathering materials to make fireworks to attack someone,’ adding that he ‘told him that he wanted Allah to grant him to be a shaheed [martyr] and die while fighting in the cause of Allah.’
Exactly how Pelkey and his comrades had fallen under the influence of the Islamic State (ISIS) is not addressed in the available reports. Usually authorities wave that question away by asserting that the plotters were “radicalized on the Internet,” and while that may indeed be the case, no one is even contemplating the possibility that a mosque in the United States might be preaching the passages of the Qur’an that have incited so many Muslims worldwide to commit acts of violence. That possibility, as far as American law enforcement officials are concerned, is simply inconceivable.
Meanwhile, the headlines that suggest that Xavier Pelkey was an “Islamophobe” will go uncorrected and mislead many. That, my friends, is the idea.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.