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The list of hot spots in the War on Terror just keeps growing: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tennessee...Tennessee
In a story posted yesterday
on David Horowitz's far-right online pub FrontPage Magazine
, writer Ryan Mauro claims that quite a few Volunteer State residents are volunteering for decidedly un-American activities.
The article, titled "Muslim Row" (a play on "Music Row" perhaps?), starts with a bang (duck!
The Bible-belt state of Tennessee is not known to have been targeted by Al-Qaeda or any other radical Islamic terrorist group, but the Volunteer State may be becoming a hotbed for the growth of extremism. Reports from Nashville, Shelbyville, and Dover indicate that Tennessee has gradually become a stronghold for radical Islamic forces that are transforming parts of the state.
Reports indicate that "Tennessee has gradually become a stronghold for radical Islamic forces that are transforming parts of the state
." Don't mince words now, Ryan!
Let's examine Mauro's evidence for this weighty assertion:
The Nashville situation:
Mauro cites a March 17 story
"reported" by the paranoid, ultra-hawkish Dave Gaubatz and discussed here on Pith
, suggesting that Nashville's Al-Farooq Islamic Center is a breeding ground for Somali jihadists.
The Shelbyville situation
: Shelbyville Times-Gazette
reporter Brian Mosely wrote a series of articles on the challenges the city's Somali refugees face, their resistance to assimilation and the clash of cultures that ensues. (Mauro writes, "They often try to haggle with storeowners, and sometimes refuse to speak to female supervisors at stores, schools and hospitals." Sounds like terrorists to me!)
The Dover situation:
"According to unconfirmed reports received by the Christian Action Network, where I serve as a national security researcher," Mauro writes, "some of these Somalis have moved to this compound, run by a group called Muslims of America, a front for Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The residents here are followers of a radical Muslim cleric named Sheikh Mubarak Gilani, who currently lives in Lahore, Pakistan."
"Unconfirmed reports received by the Christian Action Network
." That oozes credibility: I'm picturing the source as a blog post comment attributed to someone with the pseudonym "TheseColorsDon'tRun."
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Never mind that Mauro himself has been obsessed with tracking geopolitical threats since high school
(where he was nicknamed "Government"--the girls must have been swooning), or that he hosts his own website, worldthreats.com
(!), where he links to the FrontPage
article in a post titled "The Islamization of Tennessee."
Certainly it would be naive to assume that Nashville or the rest of the state is immune to any sort of jihadi recruitment. But to draw such an extreme conclusion--"Tennessee has gradually become a stronghold for radical Islamic forces"--from such flimsy evidence is like saying, "2+2=100...now if we can just find the other 96 somewhere." Not only is it irresponsible, it contributes to the already suspicious attitudes many Tennesseans have toward their new neighbors. And if Mauro and his ilk were ever to uncover a genuine threat here, they'd be treated like the boy who cried wolf.
It must be killing these guys that under the Obama administration, there is no more War on Terror