Op-Ed: Hostage-taking was as a consequence of conspiracy theories run amok

Op-Ed: Hostage-taking was due to conspiracy theories run amok

On Saturday, an armed 44-year-old British man, a Muslim, stormed into Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and demanded the discharge of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani serving an 86-year sentence in a close-by federal jail on terrorism-related prices.

We don’t know all the pieces there’s to know in regards to the 4 folks whom Malik Faisal Akram held hostage. However I’m sure the 11-hour ordeal — which ended with the hostages protected and Akram lifeless — left them terrified.

And I may also promise you this: Not a kind of 4 hostages had something to do with Siddiqui.

Siddiqui was tried and convicted for grabbing a carbine and taking pictures at U.S. service members whereas beneath arrest in Afghanistan in 2008. Contemplating why a British Muslim may threaten the lives of 4 Texas Jews in 2022 for the actions of a Pakistani in Afghanistan in 2008 tells you numerous in regards to the toxic attain of antisemitic conspiracy theories and the necessity to name out and cease them.

Karachi-born Siddiqui, 49, got here from an informed, religious Muslim household. She gained entrance to the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise and, in 1995, went on to acquire a sophisticated diploma in cognitive neuroscience at Brandeis College, a nondenominational liberal arts faculty based in 1948 by the Jewish group the place 44% of undergraduates establish as Jewish.

“She should have been conspicuous when she confirmed up on campus, closely pregnant and wearing her Muslim head scarf and lengthy darkish robe or hijab,” writes Deborah Scroggins in her 2012 ebook “Needed Girls: Religion, Lies, and the Warfare on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui.”

At Brandeis, Siddiqui introduced her faith into her scientific work, regarding her professors. After the 9/11 assaults, she left the U.S. for Pakistan and Afghanistan. By then, she reportedly had already come to the eye of U.S. authorities.

In 2008, Afghanistan police arrested her. She was carrying paperwork on making explosives, together with descriptions of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Constructing and different New York Metropolis landmarks. Throughout an interrogation, Siddiqui grabbed a rifle and shot at her captors and questioners.

Earlier than her 2009 trial for the taking pictures, Siddiqui tried to dismiss her legal professionals due to their Jewish background and demanded that potential jurors bear DNA testing to find out if they’d Jewish genes.

“Research the historical past of the Jews,” she wrote in a plea to then-President Obama. “They’ve at all times back-stabbed everybody who has taken pity on them and made the ‘deadly’ error of giving them shelter.” She added: “This why ‘holocausts’ maintain occurring to them repeatedly! If they might solely study to be grateful and alter their conduct!!”

A protection psychologist claimed that Siddiqui’s antisemitism was proof of her delusion.

“Her beliefs that Israel, the USA and India are conspiring to invade Pakistan, that Jews are answerable for 9/11 and have infiltrated American political and nongovernmental organizations” mentioned the psychologist, Thomas Kucharski, indicated that she was not match to face trial.

However in fact, antisemitic conspiracy theories dominate Pakistani textbooks, media and authorities. Why would Siddiqui imagine anything?

In Could, Pakistan’s prime diplomat invoked the parable of world Jewish monetary and media management on CNN. He instructed a CNN anchor that Israel was “shedding the media battle” over its insurance policies in Gaza, “regardless of their connections.”

“What are their connections?” he was requested.

“Deep pockets. … They’re very influential folks. I imply, they management media.”

When an FBI spokesman mentioned after the hostage-taking in Texas that the standoff was “not particularly associated to Jewish group” — an announcement that made headlines and deeply upset many Jews — it was each proper and mistaken. The Jews don’t have anything to do with Siddiqui, however in minds twisted by antisemitic hate, they’ve all the pieces to do with it. As soon as once more, Jews turned the real-life victims based mostly on utter fictions.

These fictions are significantly harmful after they swirl about in unstable minds. The brother of Akram, the hostage-taker, claimed he had “psychological well being points,” and Siddiqui’s lawyer as soon as describer her as in “whole psychic ache.” That will clarify their actions, but it surely doesn’t clarify the regurgitation of those theories, in some kind or different, by those that could make no such excuses.

Crackpot theories about Jews abound within the Muslim world and within the darker corners of the non-Muslim world as effectively.

“We blame the Jews for all the pieces,” an Egyptian journalist as soon as instructed me. “It’s like a joke.”

Antisemitic rants can look like a joke. Who can take critically Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s tweet about Jewish house lasers inflicting California wildfires, or a Utah tech CEO’s e mail that Jews developed the COVID-19 vaccines to kill billions of individuals?

However when synagogues are attacked, it’s clear these “jokes” aren’t humorous. The person who opened hearth and killed a girl in a Poway, Calif., synagogue in 2019 and the white supremacist who killed 11 folks in a Pittsburgh synagogue six months earlier each believed the antisemitic claptrap they learn on-line.

“HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” tweeted Abdullah T. Antepli, a public coverage and divinity college professor at Duke College, and Duke’s former Muslim chaplain, in a much-circulated thread over the weekend. “Sure, we Muslims residing North America undeniably have an growing anti-Semitism drawback and seemingly we have now but to even start to handle the problem truthfully, morally and precisely.”

“We MUST! With out ands and buts, with none additional denial, dismissal and or trivializing of the problems. We have to truthfully talk about the growing anti-Semitism inside varied Muslim communities.”

“Anyone may suppose that they’re simply making a remark or simply making a joke,” mentioned Congregation Beth Israel’s Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, one of many hostages in Colleyville. “Sadly, somebody, someplace, goes to take that hatred, and so they’re going to go to a harmful place with it.”

Sorry to say, the rabbi is aware of what he’s speaking about.

Rob Eshman is the nationwide editor of the Ahead and writes its weekly “Letter from California.” Elements of this column initially appeared within the Ahead.

What do you think?

Written by LessDaily.Com


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