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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Timothy McVeigh as Straw Man

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently repeated an incorrect statement that cuts to the heart of one of the most serious debates in the arena of terrorism studies. At a Senate hearing, she said:

We do not portray the Oklahoma City bombing as Christian terrorism, even though Timothy MacVeigh [sic] thought of himself as a Christian. MacVeigh [sic] was guilty of mass murder -- and there was nothing Christian about it. The same principle applies with Islam. When Muslims commit terrorist acts, they are not practicing their faith; they are betraying it.

I generally try to stay out of political discussions of any stripe, but this statement is flatly incorrect in its factual basis, on an issue which deserves some serious consideration.

McVeigh was not a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word. He did not identify himself in that way, nor was he a member of any religious group or congregation. He claimed no religious motivation for what he did, and he wasn't radicalized by a self-proclaimed religious leader or through his association with a religious organization.

For a more detailed discussion of this, see my posting from last year around this time:

Why 'Islamic Terrorists' And Not 'Christian Terrorists'?

I first spotted Albright's testimony in a link from the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report Web site.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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