Notes from Norm: Calling Terrorists By Their Name
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were under siege by violent gangs.
Gangs executing young men in the street. Burning homes and murdering children inside of them. Shooting a Minneapolis cop in the back and killing him while he took a break for pizza.
Drugs, sophisticated weapons and a gang culture that invaded community after community resulted in murder rates that were skyrocketing.
At one point the City of Minneapolis was being referred to throughout the country as “Murderapolis”.
Liberal Minnesota politicians, however, took great exception to the notion that criminal thugs were being organized for the sole purpose of terrorizing communities.
Rather than call a gang a gang – they referred to them as “organized groups”.
It was suggested that calling a gang a gang was tantamount to being a racist.
Yet, as a candidate for Mayor, and a former prosecutor, I felt then – as I do now – that the greater racism was in the violence that was being inflicted on communities of color by gangs that cared nothing about the color of the skin of their victims.
The leaders of these gangs were smart. Sophisticated. They were also unbowed by rhetoric; unmoved by words of understanding, tolerance and compassion.
They had an agenda and were willing to risk it all for their ultimate goals.
They did not lack an ideology. Their ideology was to crush the other gang. To take over neighborhoods. To defeat law enforcement. To destroy the power structure of civilized society.
They had the tools by which to sow their poison. They were creative and bold. They used modern culture and its tools to entice recruits to join their cause.
Music and videos and money and prestige and glory were all wrapped together to create a marketing campaign that was difficult for young recruits to resist.
The aim was control, wealth and power.
They recruited, primarily, young men from impoverished neighborhoods into a life of crime, murder and destruction.
But, Minnesotans were urged to avoid labeling them for what they were: violent criminal gangs.
The price for this political correctness was more dead children. More grieving parents. More damaged communities.
This weekend the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab issued a new threat against America and the roots of liberal angst against calling terror by its name is threatening our capacity to effectively battle this evil.
This time the attacks were directed against Middle America.
It was al-Shabaab that was responsible for an attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
That attack cost the lives of more than 60 people who were killed during a four-day siege.
According to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, a “…video posted Saturday shows six minutes of graphic images celebrating the Westgate Mall attack. Near the end of the video, a masked man wearing a camouflage jacket appears on screen.”
Portions of his comments included these chilling remarks:
“What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London's Oxford Street? … What would be the implications of such an attack? One could only imagine. And all it takes is a man with firm determination … so hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate.”
To many outside of Minnesota, as well as those inside of Minnesota, it may come as a shock that Minnesota has become Ground Zero for terrorist recruitment in America.
It shouldn’t be.
At least 22 young Somalian men from Minnesota have traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabaab – a not insignificant number have also traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS/ISIL.
And, last week, it was reported that a 19-year-old Minneapolis man was indicted on charges of supporting ISIS/ISIL.
A recruiting video called “Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise” was released in 2013 by al-Shabaab to celebrate the death of Minnesota men who fought and died along Islamic terrorists.
The crop of terrorists they continue to recruit is becoming as bountiful as the harvest of Minnesota farm field.
The threat to Minnesota grows every single day. It’s growing in America.
Terrorists are recruiting Americans to kill Americans.
Not in faraway lands with names most of us have to Google on the internet to figure out where they are.
But, in cities with names like Minneapolis in states called Minnesota.
The people of New York and Washington, D.C. learned first-hand the brutality of violent Islamic inspired terror.
The people of my state, and every state in Middle America, must now realize that the threat of terrorism has crept beyond our coasts directly into the Heartland of America.
Liberal politicians in Minnesota remain quiet while the terror recruitment by Islamic terror groups grows.
Minnesota’s Governor – its United States Senator – and our nation’s President – have chosen to call Islamic Terror by any other name than what it is: Islamic Extremism.
The President’s recent “summit” to address the rising threat to America from terror groups was completely devoid of calling out our enemies by their name.
But he is all too willing to call out those demanding he do so as being insensitive to the feelings of the communities from which our enemies hail.
As a Muslim writer recently wrote in reference to calling out Islamic extremism, Muslim extremism or Middle East extremism for what it is, “We have to name it to tame it”.
The greater threat to the integrity of Muslims – to Islam – is to allow their religion to be hijacked by terrorists and zealots. As Egyptian President Sissi has noted,” Islam is being destroyed, it is being lost — and it is being lost by our own hands.”
Christians who sow violence in the name of Christianity – Jews who sow violence in the name of Judaism – are Christian extremists – are Jewish extremists – and there is not a liberal politician in America that is afraid to call them out for what they are and what they believe.
Yet, with America at war, it is politically incorrect and unfashionable to call those who are waging war against us for what they are and what they believe.
We are at war with Islamic extremists. Muslim terrorists.
There are sides in every war.
In this war there is America and our allies who cherish freedom and liberty and democracy and peace and stability.
Then there are Islamic extremists and Muslim terrorists that simply want to destroy all of it.
The war will not be won with cautious rhetoric, careful syntax and professorial distance.
Victory will not be achieved with a government jobs program for terrorists who already have a job: Being a terrorist.
It’s time the President to call out those who seek to destroy America for who and what they are – not attempting to name them for anything other than what they are.
If we know our enemy by their name we can defend America in ours.