The Maddening Predictability of the Media and Islamic Terrorism

On December 19th, less than a week before Christmas, Anis Amri hijacked a Polish-registered truck, killed the driver, and aimed the truck at an outdoor Christmas market in the heart of Berlin. The following day, ISIS claimed responsibility for inspiring the attack. Their online propaganda magazine, Dabiq, had called for such acts after their success in Nice, France earlier in the year. That attack killed over 80 people and 19 were killed in the Berlin attack.

The perpetrator was eventually caught and killed by Italian police in Milan, Italy which means that he made it through the border out of Germany, through Switzerland and then into Italy. The night of the attack, all major news outlets covered the story with predictable lamentations while trotting out the usual “experts” in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism. To wit, we were treated to the following list of platitudes, comments, conjecture, excuses and lectures.

First, it is often common for the talking heads to say “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones.” We are witness to makeshift shrines and memorials where townsfolk place wreaths and flowers at the site of the attack. Usually, the country’s leader will stand there somber and place flowers themselves ignorant of the fact that it was their open border policies and welcoming of refugees/immigrants with open arms and big hearts that invited the terrorist into their fold. Instead of praying for and thinking about the victims, one should be hoping these leaders rethink their policies that invited the violence into their country.

And apparently only European victims are worthy of our thoughts and prayers. Not counting war victims in towns besieged by ISIS in Iraq, there were over 8,000 innocent victims of terrorism in Iraq alone in 2016. Nary a day goes by without an act of terrorism in that country. In Nigeria, there were over 1,400 deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Unlike Syria and Iraq where Muslims are basically killing Muslims (they have run out of Christians to kill), in Nigeria the bulk of the victims are non-Muslims, mainly specifically-targeted Christians. That averages to 4.2 victims in Nigeria every day, but there are no pleas for “thoughts and prayers.”

The media will usually portray the attack as “shocking,” or that the townsfolk were “shocked.” In fact, Berlin was described invariably as being “in a state of shock.” What is so shocking about an every day occurrence other than the fact that this particular incident occurred in Europe. In 2016, there were over 1,800 acts of Islamic terrorism worldwide. That averages out to 5.6 attacks every day. Admittedly, most of them occur a world away in the Middle East where daily acts of terrorism are the new normal. But, they are not confined to this region of the world. We are seeing a spike in Islamic terrorist attacks in India, Thailand, Cameroon and the Congo. Over 200 people have been killed in Egypt, a country largely immune to attacks when Mubarek was in charge. Our “ally” in the war on terror- Pakistan- has witnessed over 600 deaths, or half of the over 1,200 in neighboring Afghanistan.

It is not that anyone is “shocked” by these attacks. We should be immune to the shock given the new norm. There are many documented cases of thwarted plots on German soil. But should we really be shocked when the terrorist has success? The fact is we are shocked because it happened in a place with a false sense of immunity from terrorist attacks. If it can happen in an isolated village in Nigeria, it can happen in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Don’t be fooled and don’t be shocked when it inevitably happens again in some place “this isn’t supposed to happen.”

On the same day of the Berlin attack, a gunman assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey, but not before yelling “Allah akbar,” or “Allah (God) is great.” This is the rallying cry for most terrorists. If Allah is so great, why does he resort to making people drive trucks through crowded markets? Why can’t Allah resort to good old fashioned plagues and floods like the Judeo-Christian God? And why doesn’t Allah tolerate any depictions of his prophet, Mohammed? If the Judeo-Christian God can tolerate having his only Son’s passion depicted in a jar of urine, surely Allah can tolerate a cartoon drawing of a prophet.

Finally and most obnoxiously, the media will portray the attack as something out of the norm for Islam. Some counter-terrorism think thanks here and in Europe actually blame Western culture of somehow being complicit in the attacks since Europeans are growing rightfully weary and wary of the growing threat within their borders. Think about this fact: when some crazy loon shoots at an abortion clinic or walks into a pizza parlor in Washington, DC with a gun, the entire conservative Right is pilloried and blamed. The loon, in the minds of the media, is indicative of everyone on the Right.

Compare that with their depictions of Islamic terrorism. In their renditions, he is the exception to the norm. We are to ignore him because, after all, Islam is the “religion of peace.” Talking to a Muslim friend (he is quite secular), I noted an article in some foreign policy journal where it was estimated that about 1% of Muslims are potential terrorists and that at most 10-15% sympathize with terrorists worldwide. He vehemently corrected me asserting that the numbers were much higher than what those foreign policy wonks publish in their journals. Even at 1%, when you are talking over 1 billion people, that translates into a lot of terrorists and even more sympathizers.

It is a dangerous new world made more dangerous by the media trying to assuage the feelings of Muslims by propagating a false narrative of multicultural platitudes. While the West must be 100% effective at stopping Islamic terrorism in the name of Allah, the terrorist need succeed only once to achieve their goal. This writer confesses to not knowing what the solution is, but I am damned sure it does not involve sugar-coating the problem. In fact, it makes it worse.