Sudden Jihad Syndrome in Vienna
Austrian authorities announced on October 2 that they arrested a second Bosnian-Muslim suspect in the plot to attack the American Embassy in Vienna. Mehmed D. (34) was apprehended following the arrest of Asim C. (42) last Monday, after the latter tried to enter the Embassy carrying a backpack packed with grenades, plastic explosives, nails, screws and other metal fragments. This was a classic case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome; and the Austrian authorities’ reaction to it is depressingly familiar to those of us who have been following the ongoing SJS epidemic here in America.
That reaction has four key elements:
1. Denial that the attack is motivated by Islam;
2. Strong hint that the attacker is insane;
3. Assurance that the attacker(s) acted alone, and that there is no al-Qaeda link;
4. Prominent publicity to the Muslim “community’s” expressions of shock & horror.
Claim that—if the attacker is a Bosnian Muslim—his behavior was caused by the trauma of the 1990s war in which his people were supposedly the victims.
Like in a predictable soap opera, all five elements are at work in Vienna. This confirms what I have been saying for years: that the same Jihad-enabling pathology is at work on both sides of the Atlantic.
As for (1), Austrian police said that, in addition to his deadly load, Asim C. was carrying a book that “contained references to Islam”—but when the Kurier newspaper published a photo of the book, it turned out to be a Muslim prayer book. Nevertheless, Doris Edelbacher, chief spokeswoman for Austria’s federal counterterrorism office, played down “speculation” that the intended attack was motivated by Islamic ideology. For his part Erik Buxbaum, chief of Austria’s public security, declared that it is “too early to speak of an Islamist background.” The authorities are unclear about the would-be attacker’s motive.
As for (2), Ms. Edelbacher said Asim C. was “incoherent” and “rambled” to police in an interrogation that lasted until late at night. Herr Buxbaum further indicated that the suspect may have received psychiatric care in recent years.
As for (3), “no link had been established between the two men and any Islamic movement.” In addition, the would-be attacker is already portrayed as a bungling loner who did not really intend to detonate his device: “Although investigators had found half a kilo of plastic explosives in his apartment, they doubt that Asim C. had really intended to carry out a terrorist attack on US embassy along with another Bosnian Mehmed D., who was also arrested.
As for (4), Guenther Ahmed Rusznak, a spokesman for Vienna’s Islamic community, condemned the incident and “rejected radical Islam.” The media in Austria carried statements by the leaders and members of the country’s large Bosnian-Muslim community expressing indignation at any suggestion that the incident reflected its views or aspirations.
As for (5) press reports on Wednesday revealed that Acim C. “had been injured and traumatized during the war in his country.”
This is déjà vu all over again. Let us recall that, nine months after the shooting spree by a 19-year old Bosnian Muslim, Sulejman Talovic, left five people dead and four wounded in a Salt Lake City shopping mall, the authorities claim to be clueless about his motives. The mainstream media were quick to blame the Serbs for Talovic’s alleged early-childhood traumas that supposedly caused him to crack. (They even interviewed a Bosnian jihadi veteran to make that point.) In fact, the rampage in Utah was yet another outbreak of the SJS that is erupting across America with increasing regularity.
Talovic’s family and a “shocked” Bosnian-Muslim community were unsurprisingly quick to reject any possibility of the jihadist connection. “We are Muslims, but we are not terrorists,” the killer’s aunt, Ajka Omerovic, told the media. But Talovic’s Bosnian-born girlfriend revealed that his favorite film was Malcolm X—the same movie that triggered off John Walker Lindh’s path to jihad. Contrary to the family’s assurances, she also revealed that he had a contact at the local mosque—the same mosque attended by U.S. Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, the deserter now safely back in his native Lebanon.
The SJS pattern, both in America and in Europe, is boringly predictable: a Muslim commits an act of violence, or is caught plotting to commit one. The authorities are either quick to deny the suspect’s links with Islamic terrorism, or, if such a link is nevertheless suspected, adamant that he is acting alone. The local Muslim community responds with a mix of indignation and denial. Non-Muslim civic leaders then respond by reassuring the Muslim community that it is loved and appreciated. The media report heart rendering stories of the Muslim sense of sadness, rejection, alienation, or else dwell on the perpetrator’s history of woe—in a “Bosnian” case by evoking alleged wartime traumas and blaming the Serbs.
Over the past couple of years there have been several SJS incidents directed against Americans. It is remarkable that even when the perpetrator explicitly linked his motives to jihad, the authorities refused to accept his word:
—Last January 31, 22-year-old Ismail Yassin Mohamed stole a car in Minneapolis, rammed it into other cars, then stole a van and continued to ram other cars, injuring one person. All along, Mohamed repeatedly yelled, “Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill”; when asked why he did all this, he replied, “Allah made me do it.”
—In August 2006 Omeed Aziz Popal, an Afghan immigrant, killed one person and injured 14 during a murderous drive through the streets of San Francisco, during which he targeted people on crosswalks and sidewalks. He identified himself as a terrorist but the authorities ascribed the incident to Popal’s mental problems and stress caused by his forthcoming arranged marriage.
—On July 28, 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Once inside, Haq announced, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” and then began shooting, killing one woman and injuring five more; yet an FBI agent stated: “We believe . . . it’s a lone individual acting out his antagonism. There’s nothing to indicate that it’s terrorism-related.”
—In March 2006, a 22-year-old Iranian student named Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar drove an SUV onto the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, deliberately trying to kill people and succeeding in injuring nine. At a court appearance he explained that he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.” Officials again dismissed terrorism as a motive, even after Taheri-Azar wrote a series of letters to the UNC campus newspaper detailing the Qur’anic justification for attacks on unbelievers.
The list of SJS-related incidents, and official denials of the syndrome’s existence, is growing longer each year, starting with the killing of Meir Kahane in New York in November 1990 by El Sayyid Nosair. The authorities ascribed the killing not to jihad but to Nosair’s “depression.”
In March 1994, Rashid Baz, a Lebanese immigrant, opened fire on a van carrying members of a Jewish congregation on Brooklyn Bridge, killing one boy. The authorities claimed it was a case of “road rage.”
In February 1997 Ali Abu Kamal, a Palestinian immigrant, opened fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, killing one tourist and injuring six others before committing suicide. The authorities attributed the incident to Kamal’s “mental instability” caused by a failed business venture, and that version remained officially accepted until a month ago. Last month, however, his daughter admitted that a letter had been found on her father’s body justifying his act by his religiously inspired hatred for America, Britain, France, and Israel.
In 2002 two cases of SJS occurred at airports. In July Hesham Mohammed Hadayet opened fire at the Israeli Airlines counter at LAX, killing two people and injuring four. The FBI initially claimed that “there’s nothing to indicate terrorism,” but reclassified the attack as a terrorist act when it was revealed that Hadayet may have been involved with Al-Qaeda. In September Patrick Gott, a Muslim convert, killed one person and wounded another at New Orleans airport. He was armed with a shotgun and his Kuran, but the authorities claimed he was insane.
In October of that same year two converts to Islam, John Mohammed and Lee Malvo, killed 13 people in a spree that terrorized Washington and its suburbs for weeks; and yet again the media and the authorities denied the obvious connection. It was subsequently revealed that Malvo’s prolific religiously-inspired “artwork” included a self-portrait in the cross hairs of a gun scope shouting, ALLAH AKBAR! with the word SALAAM scrawled vertically, and a drawing of the Twin Towers burning and captions JIHAD ISLAM UNITE RISE! along with “America did this” and “You were warned.”
In March 2003 U.S. Army Sergeant Asan Akbar threw a grenade into a tent with fellow soldiers in Kuwait, killing an officer and wounding 13. He declared at the time of his arrest, “You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.” He gave his home address as the Masjid Bilal Islamic Center in South Central Los Angeles, to which he belonged and where he worshiped. In spite of this, George Heath, a public affairs officer for Fort Campbell, Ky., where the suspect was based, explained the incident by asserting that Akbar faced “a leadership challenge.” Another U.S. Army spokesman said the motive for the attack was most likely “resentment” rooted in Akbar’s “attitude problem.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld blandly called the attack “the kind of an incident that occurs in cities and towns from time to time, and it’s always unfortunate, always tragic, and one has to go through a process of investigation to try to determine what in fact happened and why it happened.”
Five months later Mohammed Ali Alayed slashed the throat of his erstwhile Jewish friend, Ariel Sellouk, following Alayed’s rediscovery of his Islamic identity. After the murder he went to a mosque. The authorities nevertheless “could not find any evidence that Sellouk . . . was killed because of his race or religion,” enabling Alayed’s defense attorney to claim that “there was no evidence to substantiate the hate element.”
In May 2005 firefighters conducting a routine inspection in a Brooklyn supermarket found 200 automobile airbags—which contain components that can be used to make bombs—and a room lined with posters of Osama bin Laden and beheadings in Iraq. Yet officials were again adamant: This has nothing to do with terrorism.
In June 2006 Michael Julius Ford, a Muslim convert, shot to death one fellow worker at a Denver Safeway and injured five before being killed by the police. And yes, his friends and family, and the Denver Post, were all baffled.
The list will continue for many years to come, and the victims’ blood is on the hands of the Western elite class, in Vienna, Denver, London, and any other place that is blessed and enriched with the presence of a Muslim “community.” The ongoing refusal of the elite class to protect the people they rule from Islamic terrorism is the biggest betrayal in history. It is rooted in the mindset that breeds the claim that “force is not an answer” to terrorism, that profiling is bad and open borders are good, that Islam is peaceful and the West is wicked. The upholders of such claims belong to the culture that has lost its bond with nature, history, and the supporting community. In the meantime, thanks to them, the quiet onslaught continues unabated, across the Mediterranean and through every major airport in Western Europe and North America.