Posted by: mystic444 | May 15, 2010

Pipe Bomb Explosion At A Mosque

On May 10, 2010, someone exploded a pipe bomb outside of a Mosque in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa, who has a blog entitled “God, Faith, and a Pen: Living in the Light of His Love”, has given me permission to reprint two articles he has published about this incident. I thoroughly enjoy his blog, and highly recommend it to anyone reading mine. A link to his site can be found on the right hand side of my blog. Here are the two articles, and thanks to Dr. Hassaballa for writing them and giving his permission for me to post them here. (The first 2 paragraphs of the second article are identical to the first article, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the two articles are the same.)

May 14, 2010

Words Do Matter

Filed under: American Muslims,Islamophobia — Hesham A. Hassaballa @ 3:53 PM

1 Votes
In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving

On the evening of May 10, there was a small explosion and fire outside a Jacksonville, FL mosque. According to a fire department investigation and officials of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, worshipers heard a loud noise outside the mosque, and there was a small fire that was extinguished. The damage was described as “very minimal” by a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue spokesperson. Thank God, no one was injured in the attack. According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, mosque officials reported that an unknown white man in his 40s entered the mosque on April 4 and shouted “Stop this blaspheming.” He was chased away by worshipers, but he reportedly said, “I will be back.”

Now, it has been determined that the explosion was due to a pipe bomb, and it is being investigated as a possible act of domestic terrorism. “It was a dangerous device, and had anybody been around it they could have been seriously injured or killed,” says Special Agent James Casey. “We want to sort of emphasize the seriousness of the thing and not let people believe that this was just a match and a little bit of gasoline that was spread around.”

This should be of grave concern to all people of faith in America. One of the greatest things about this country is the fact that people can live, work, and worship in peace and without fear. Yet, this incident highlights the danger of the continuing and rabid anti-Islam hate that spews from certain elements in American society. These people do not just attack the actions of the criminals who act in Islam’s name, something which I do myself. No, they continually tie the actions of criminal elements with the entire faith of Islam, smearing all Muslims in the process. And it can lead to incidents such as the Florida mosque bombing.

It can also lead to incidents such as the recent defacement of an art exhibit at the School of the Art Institute. The exhibit featured art that highlighted the violence and racial profiling directed towards Muslims in the post 9/11 era, and someone defaced it with caricatures and text saying “Kill All Arabs.”

At this point, we do not know if the Florida mosque attacker was influenced by the words of the Islamophobes or was just a lone, disturbed individual. But, words do matter. The ugly incidents of threats and violence against members of Congress after health care reform was passed into law showed us that. So did the attempted Christmas Day and Times Square bombings as well: they were linked to the radical Muslim cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, who issues sermons calling for “jihad” against America. While I do not advocate curtailing free speech, that freedom comes with responsibility. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic…”

Criticizing the fact that Muslims do not worship Jesus Christ as God, or that Muslims deny the crucifixion of Christ, or even taking issue with an assertion of Muslim scripture is one thing, and I would defend anyone’s right to speak thus. But, continually saying “Islam is evil,” or “Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office,” or “kill all the infidels,” or “Muslims must hate non-Muslims” crosses the line into hate speech. Hate hurts America, and it is not becoming of the beautiful country and people I know we are.

Terror Double Standard

Filed under: Domestic Terrorism,Double Standards,Terrorism — Hesham A. Hassaballa @ 12:18 PM

2 Votes
On the evening of May 10, there was a small explosion and fire outside a Jacksonville, FL mosque. According to a fire department investigation and officials of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, worshipers heard a loud noise outside the mosque, and there was a small fire that was extinguished. The damage was described as “very minimal” by a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue spokesperson. Thank God, no one was injured in the attack.

According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, mosque officials reported that an unknown white man in his 40s entered the mosque on April 4 and shouted “Stop this blaspheming.” He was chased away by worshipers, but he reportedly said, “I will be back.” Now, it has been determined that the explosion was due to a pipe bomb, and it is being investigated as a possible act of domestic terrorism. “It was a dangerous device, and had anybody been around it they could have been seriously injured or killed,” says Special Agent James Casey.

Yet, you would not be faulted for not knowing that it even occurred. Most of the news coverage has been local in Florida. There has not been nearly the same amount of coverage as the failed bombing in Times Square.

Now, of course, the size of this pipe bomb is nothing compared to the size of the truck bomb allegedly placed by Faisal Shahzad. The mosque bombing was perpetrated by one individual, and it increasingly looks like the Taliban in Pakistan were behind the attempted bombing in Times Square. Obviously, an attack on Times Square in the middle of a tourist/theater district is much more of a story than an attack on a mosque in Florida.

But just as the Times Square bomb could have really done harm, the pipe bomb could have also done a lot of harm. FBI officials noted that the blast radius could have been 100 feet. In addition, The FBI Special Agent in Florida, James Casey, had added: “We want to sort of emphasize the seriousness of the thing and not let people believe that this was just a match and a little bit of gasoline that was spread around.” The attempted attack on Times Square was rightly called an act of terrorism. But, as this news report says: “The FBI is looking at this case as a possible hate crime, and now they’re analyzing it as a possible act of domestic terrorism.”

A pipe bomb that explodes outside a mosque causing a fire a possible act of domestic terrorism? What if a pipe bomb exploded in Times Square? Or outside a church? Would this be called terrorism? Of course it would…and it should. So should this attack on the Jacksonville, FL mosque.

It must be said that this is not the only incident of an attack on a house of worship. Black churches have been attacked in this country for decades, and people have been killed. It is an ugly stain on the fabric of our nation’s history. Yet, so is this. Houses of worship are sacred spaces that must be respected, protected, and kept safe.

It is heinous wherever it occurs: whether it is a church in Baghdad, a Church in Birmingham, a synagogue in Chicago, a mosque in the West Bank, or a mosque in America. And we should also call a spade a spade: a pipe bomb outside a mosque is terrorism. But, because no Muslim is behind it, it does not get much attention. This must stop.

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