The peculiar coincidence of Muslims who commit acts of violence

Sometimes a person puts something so elegantly that you have to sit back and admire it.  James Taranto does so with the peculiarly coincidental nexus of Islam and violence:

“Two assailants hacked a man to death on a busy southeast London street Wednesday afternoon before delivering a rant about Islam to bystanders, leading Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short a diplomatic trip to Paris to deal with what he described as a likely terrorist attack,” the Washington Post reports.

A reader sent this to us as an “Out on a Limb” submission. Christina Lamb, whose Twitter bio describes her as an “author, foreign correspondent, long time follower of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” had the same idea, only without irony. She tweeted yesterday (quoting verbatim): “are we not jumping to conclusions calling beheading an islamist terrorist attack & not violent madmen using name of islam?”

Say what you will about Twitter, it has a way of forcing people to reduce complex ideas to their essence. The proximity and brevity of Lamb’s two formulations–an “Islamic terrorist attack” and “violent madmen” killing in the name of Islam–make obvious what a lengthy exegesis might obscure: that they denote exactly the same thing. As a matter of pure logic, her statement is the equivalent of asking “Are we not jumping to conclusions by assuming A instead of A?”

Yet rhetorically and emotionally there is a world of difference between the formulations. Whereas “Islamic terrorist attack” puts the focus on a systematic threat, “violent madmen” puts it on the idiosyncrasies of the particular perpetrators. The former tends to induce vigilance, the latter resignation. It’s what psychologists call a “framing effect.”

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  • Libby

    The Imam for one of these “mad men” framed it thusly:
    “Maybe Michael, in the eyes of many people in Britain, Muslim and non-Muslim, they don’t condone what he did. They condemn it. But in the eyes of Muslims around the world they don’t see him the same way. The Muslims in this country, they are so happy, proud of him. They see him as a freedom fighter attacking a military base.” – Omar Bakri, founder of banned British Islamist group Al Muhajiroun
    How many times do they need to tell us that these attacks are intentional, and that it is in fact condoned by their religion (not an anomaly), before people like Cameron and Christina Lamb believe it?

  • Ymarsakar

    When has the Left not jumped to the conclusion that Christians are mad men and terrorists?

  • Charles Martel

    When British repugnance against Islam reaches a boiling point—and it will in some places—it will be interesting to watch Britain’s legions of soccer hooligans and aimless welfare punks light into their Muslim counterparts. Should be quite a brawl.

  • 11B40


    One of my preachments goes like this: “Islam is the millstone. If your plan doesn’t include constraining, undermining, or eradicating Islam, you don’t have a plan. What you have is a hope.

    You’re welcome.

  • Danny Lemieux

    It funny how the violence perpetrated against infidels in Britain is provoked by what Britain is “doing” to Muslims worldwide. What, pray tell, are Filipinos, Bali Indonesians, Thais, Indians, Burmese, Australians, Nigerians, Kenyans, Southern Somalis, Europeans, Pakistani Christians, Egyptian Christians, Syrian and Iraqi Christians, Lebanese Christians, Canadians and Americans doing to Muslims? It must be a giant worldwide conspiracy against Muslims. I wonder, are these same oppressive and intolerant people similarly picking on Buddhists, Hindus, Voodoo practitioners as well? Why oh why can’t people leave those poor Muslims alone?
    As Mark Steyn pointed out, if it wasn’t for that crescent symbol on that COEXIST bumper sticker, we wouldn’t need that bumper sticker. 

  • Ymarsakar

    The Leftist media talking about children dying in Afghanistan and Iraq plays a large part in their motivations. NOrmal Westerners are disgusted by such news, turned off, and become apathetic. Islamic members, however, get some righteous anger going on.
    Stoke that up high enough and it’ll be enough to motivate people to GIt It Done on you. In the streets. Daylight.

  • jj

    He’s going home to deal with what is “likely” a terrorist attack.  If that’s going to be the basis from which he begins, he might as well stay in France.  In fact the world would be better off if he stayed in France.

  • Oldflyer

    I find a Nexus between the apologists for Islam and the apologists for the White House. 
    We are told that our President had no role, and no knowledge of the Benghazi lies; the illegal IRS targeting; or the sneak attacks on “unfriendly” reporters and news organizations.
    Granting that all of that may be true; any rational person understands that a climate of corruption must flow from the top.  When systemic corruption is present, it has to be countenanced, if not actively encouraged, from a central authority.  Plausible deniability and all of the other gobbledegook aside, the Man at the Top is responsible.  In the case of Obama, he has repeatedly  urged his dogs to the hunt by means of thinly coded messages.
    Likewise, when acts of violence are repeatedly perpetrated by Muslims, who by the way  usually do proclaim their grievances against Infidels incident to whatever  atrocity they are perpetrating, then one can only conclude that Islamic philosophy, and  Muslim leadership, countenance these acts,  implausible deniability aside.
    Of course, as with the Imam in Great Britain,  they  often do profess their own culpability while bragging of the success of the act.  It is just that certain segments in the West cannot  face this reality.   Maybe a psychoanalyst could tell us why.

  • shirleyelizabeth

    Does Islam have a religious hierarchy like Catholocism/Judaism? Do they profess to any priesthood power? I’d say maybe they’re waiting for the terrorism call to come from THE leader (not afforded to Christians), but I hear it’s in the Koran already.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I don’t believe so, Shirleyelizabeth. The Sunni have no hierarchy, just local preachers (imams). The Shia have a hierarchy of Imams, so to speak, in terms of who is most respected. I also believe that there is a belief in a mystical “12th Imam” or spiritual leader who is supposed to herald the apocalypse, or something like that. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

  • Michael Adams

    Well, Danny, I can say a little, that an Ayatollah is like a Bishop. The official line is that men rise in this structure based upon their scholarly attainments. We hear the same in the ECUSA, and have learned to doubt it. My guess would be that Ayatollahs get to that level by a mixture of scholarship and political cunning. (Sound familiar?)The ultimate goal is to have another Caliph, a successor to Mo.  Even as that long war continues, there is nearly constant internecine strife between Sunni and Shia. This confuses Westerners to no end, Our wizards of smart are just sure that the two factions can not collude, because they are at each others’ throats.  Nevertheless, they do fight for the Caliphate, but have not waited until it is attained, to fight OVER control of the Caliphate. BTW, this difference of opinion about the true successor to Mo is the basic difference between Shia and Sunni. Other differences have grown up between them, but the fight over succession is where it all began.

  • Mike Devx

    I ran across this enjoyable comment at another site.
    Yes we muslims have no problem interacting and accepting other religions of the world.  We appreciate that the other religions of the world understand and tolerate our ways.  We too will tolerate you.  Just so long as it is understood that islam is the master religion and all other religions are subject to our laws and edicts. 
    What’s the problem?


  • Charles Martel

    Islam has no central authority other than Allah, whose take on things is pretty well laid out in the Qu’ran. That’s why theology as we know it doesn’t exist in Islam. Because Allah cannot and will not be known, it’s useless to speculate about him (it) outside of the bounds set by the Qu’ran.
    But unlike Protestantism, whose lack of central authority has led to the movement’s endless splintering and re-splintering, Islam doesn’t really lend itself to dozens or hundreds of contending schools of interpretation. There have been moments in Islamic history when different schools of thought arose, but their proponents were snuffed out in the tried-and-true Muslim manner: they were assassinated. In that manner, Islam is almost self-policing. You don’t need a central authority when the range of interpretation has been narrowed down to a monumental inflexibility and the price for innovation or dissent is your head.
    In the case of Sunni versus Shiite, we’re really looking at an ancient war of succession. After Mohammed’s (pbuh) death, the empire of loot and lust that he built was one hell of a shiny bauble. No wonder why Muslims fell to doing what they apparently do best–killing one another–and extending the argument almost 1,400 years.

  • Ymarsakar
    Powerful video. Gave me info even I didn’t know. Top recommendation.

  • Mike Devx

    Thanks, Ymar.  That is an excellent presentation by Bill Warner.
    The most useful thing I’ve taken from it so far is that to gain your initial understanding of Islam, you’ll have to absorb all of not merely the Koran, but the Sura (biographical) and the Hadiths (traditions).  Warner has written three books to assist you in this (if you wish) and you can find them at his website,
    I’m considering purchasing all three; or I might start with the Hadiths book and see if its quality recommends all three.
    Also of note in the lecture at Ymar’s link is Warner’s discussion of the historical misrepresentation of Western Civilization’s collapse into the Dark Ages, and the misrepresentation of the “Golden Ages” of Islam (and of how Western Civilization’s legacy was preserved by Islamic civilization during the Dark Ages).
    I recommend Ymar’s link too!  Definitely food for thought!