After this week's horrendous attack on the French capital of Paris, an act of terrorism which appears to have been planned and executed by ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), news crank Ann Coulter decided that it would be a perfect time to throw some xenophobic and Islamophobic red meat to her angry followers. The ever-helpful Ms. Coulter put this out in a tweet:
"Why does NO ONE say the obvious thing on TV? It's insane. Don't want terrorism in the US? Stop importing Muslims!"So there it is. The answer to stopping terrorism dead in its tracks (at least within the U.S. borders): "Stop importing Muslims!" Simple words for simple minds.
Annie, disregarding all of the actual history that went into the continuing unrest and upheaval in the Middle East and the creation of ISIS itself, most of which has to be laid at the feet of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, it remains a bit of a stretch to blame all U.S. terrorism on one major religious group. True, the young men who brought down the twin towers and flew a plane into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were Muslim - but they were also, almost in entirety, Saudi Arabians - not Iraqis or Iranians. Saudi Arabia was, and still is, our geo-political ally, so much so that the Bush administration pushed through hell and high water to get members of the Saudi royal family out of the States after 9/11 before a public reaction to their presence here could have resulted in a diplomatic catastrophe.
Then the Bush administration invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and created political wounds and hatreds in the Middle East that fester and boil over to this very day. Today, thanks to the leadership and policies of George W. Bush, the Middle East remains a mess - and a consummate petri-dish for the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS.
Aside from the 9/11 attacks themselves, involvement by Muslims in the U.S. terrorism scene has been practically nil. The Tsarnaev brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombing were Muslims of Chechen heritage, and Aurora theatre shooter James Holmes reportedly did convert to Islam more than a year after his midnight killing spree, but he was raised Protestant - within the borders of the United States.
But there has also been an abundance of homegrown terrorism here in the United States with no reported international or Muslim connections. Remember Dylann Roof, the young man who killed nine church members in South Carolina as they kneeled in prayer? Mr. Roof, a man concerned with honoring the Confederate flag and protecting the sanctity of white women, was raised as a Lutheran. And then there is the story of Adam Lanza, a teen with access to automatic weapons and lots of literature from the National Rifle Association. Lanza cold-bloodedly killed more than two dozen first graders and their teachers as they huddled in fear in their classrooms at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza, an American by birth, was raised as a Catholic.
So the answer, Annie, has to be more than just a simplistic dumping on one group. Terrorism is a complicated subject with roots deeper than those of a redwood. Perhaps a more thorough form of immigration screening might help weed out potential terrorists, but so might better and more accessible mental health care within our own borders, and stricter controls on the sale of weaponry - to include comprehensive background checks for potential gun-purhcasers. Maybe if automatic weapons (weapons which serve no "sporting" purpose) were banned, acts of domestic terrorism would decrease.
There are lots of things we could try short of banning millions of individuals based solely on their religion. Discrimination breeds nothing but dissent - and it invariably makes the problem worse.