No sooner had the Justice Department opened a new domestic terrorism unit to fight “an elevated threat” from American citizens holding “anti-government and anti-authority ideologies” than a British-born Muslim held Jewish worshipers hostage inside a synagogue. The 44-year-old jihadist said he was holding Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three others inside the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in hopes of freeing imprisoned, Pakistani-born terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who is nicknamed “Lady al-Qaeda.” Puzzlingly, the FBI initially claimed this act of terror “was not,” in the words of FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno, “specifically related to the Jewish community.” To his credit, President Joe Biden insisted, “This was an act of terror” motivated by anti-Semitism, and the FBI corrected the record the next day to read, “This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”
Unfortunately, the FBI’s initial denial of reality represents an improvement over the Left’s reaction to other acts of Islamic terrorism, which erased not only the anti-Semitic subtext but denied those deadly attacks were acts of terrorism. Instead, leftists dismissed mass murders as acts of stress-related “workplace violence” or claimed the gunman’s motives seemed indecipherable, even as he shouted, “Allahu akbar!” Here are a few such incidents:
Fort Hood shooting (November 2009): On November 5, 2009, an Army Major named Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, a military base in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 32. Barack Obama’s lack of seriousness became immediately apparent during a press conference shortly after the massacre. He spent the first two minutes discussing how “a top priority” is the White House Tribal Nations Conference and giving “a shout-out” to one of the attendees, Dr. Joe Medicine Crow.
It turned out President Obama was not the only one to show such nonchalance. Although the FBI anti-terrorism task force saw Hasan strike up an email correspondence with al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki nearly a year earlier, they did not open an investigation. Similarly, military brass spotted Hasan posting online comments calling any suicide bomber “a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause.” Survivors say his final words before shooting were, “Allahu akbar!”
Despite Hasan’s clear motivation, which he subsequently admitted in court, the Obama administration referred to the shooting as “workplace violence.” The Obama-Biden administration had spent years stoking fears about the alleged threat of “right-wing extremism,” and this did not fit the narrative. The administration made the term “terrorism” so charged that the Army’s lead prosecutor referred to it as “the t-word.” The New York Times noted nearly five years later that the Obama administration refused “to call the 2009 shooting terrorism, although it was called an act of terror in a 2011 Senate report and it has an official ID number in the Global Terrorism Database.”
The decision heaped more harm on the victims’ families. The Obama administration’s actions did not merely portray a politically correct fantasy; they denied survivors a Purple Heart and the government benefits that go with it. Even after the Republican-controlled Congress passed a bill conferring the award on the people injured in this act of jihad, the Obama-Biden Defense Department fought against giving the wounded the benefits due to survivors of terror — perhaps the first time a Democratic administration refused to give a civilian a government check. Even Time magazine called the government’s treatment of the incident “a national disgrace.”
‘Random’ shooting at a Paris kosher supermarket (January 2015): On January 9, 2015, a 32-year-old shooter named Amédy Coulibaly entered the Hypercacher kosher supermarket in Paris and killed 4 people during an hours-long siege. During the standoff, he told a journalist he shot his victims, “because they were Jews.”
Yet a month later, President Obama claimed the shooter had no motive at all. “My first job is to protect the American people,” Obama told Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com. “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks.”
Rather than apologize, the administration doubled down on Obama’s choice of words. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.” He said the shooter was targeting “any random deli” and pointed out, “There were people other than just Jews who were in that deli.” After backlash, Earnest tweeted that the “terror attack at Paris Kosher market was motivated by anti-Semitism. POTUS didn’t intend to suggest otherwise.”
San Bernardino Christmas party jihad (December 2015): On December 2, 2015, a married couple walked into a Christmas party thrown by their employer, the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, and opened fire. They killed 14 people and injured 22 others; the death toll would have grown higher if the three explosive devices he left at the scene had gone off.
The media attempted to pin the shooting on every one of their political opponents. Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes told CNN that, since the attack occurred at a county government, it sounded like “an anti-government militia group wanting to attack the government.” MSNBC raised the possibility that the death had pro-life origins, noting that “the Planned Parenthoood of San Bernardino is only a few blocks away.” (Of course, terrorists usually attack their intended target, not one in its general vicinity.)
Police eventually identified the perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook (a U.S. citizen of Pakistani heritage) and Tashfeen Malik (a native Muslim from Pakistan), both of whom had taken an oath of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They had planned the attack for months, making provisions for everything, including the care of their infant daughter. Still, the media tried to intimate the couple had been triggered, perhaps by being invited to attend a Christmas party.
Even after the terrorists’ identities and motives became known, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton stubbornly called them “shooters” rather than “terrorists.” This was apparently part of a coordinated strategy run from the White House. As Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro wrote at the time:
Jack Murphy of SOFREP reported, according to The Daily Caller, that the FBI was ready to label the San Bernardino shootings a terrorist attack almost immediately, but didn’t because the White House stepped in to stop them from doing so. According to Murphy’s source, “as soon as the shooting took place, Obama convened a meeting with the National Security Council and the heads of other federal enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy.”
Public relations for whom?
Attempted Times Square bombing (May 2010): On May 1, 2010, a few eagle-eyed bystandrers saw smoke rising from a vehicle parked on New York City’s Times Square. It emanated from a car bomb, which police defused before it ignited. The first suspect to come to the mayor’s mind was the Tea Party.
Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat (who was then a registered Independent), speculated the bomber would turn out to be a “homegrown” terrorist, perhaps a foe of big government. Bloomberg told then-CBS News anchor Katie Couric, “If I had to guess, 25 cents, this would be” the work of a “homegrown” terrorist, “or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something.” He helpfully concluded, “It could be anything.”
In reality, the terrorist was not one of the majority of Americans who opposed Obamacare but 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, who had received five months’ of explosives training from the Tehrik-e-Taliban during a five-month visit to his native Pakistan.
Assault on the U.S. Embassy at Benghazi (September 2012): Terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Obama administration made a full-court press on the Sunday morning shows to claim the attack was not a coordinated terrorist assault to commemorate the most violent act of terrorism in U.S. history; it was a spontaneous reaction to an obscure anti-Islamic YouTube video posted by a Coptic Christian. The State Department seemed to spend more time condemning the critics of Islam than the killers of American citizens:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
Numerous investigations eventually unearthed the lie at the heart of the Obama administration’s response, but to this day, Democrats portray Hillary Clinton as the victim of the Benghazi hearings.
The common factor in all these attacks is a desire to explain away the crimes of Islamic terrorists — even as they attempt to portray every act of conservative dissent as potential domestic terrorism.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.