When I read that the Republicans were accusing the press of underreporting terrorist attacks, I was curious what kind of data they would produce. 78 incidents allegedly occurred between September, 2014 and December, 2016. I say allegedly because when I read that statistic, I was very surprised that the number was so low. Think about it – this is a list of all terrorist acts worldwide over the course of two plus years. That’s 7 billion earthlings in which 1.6 billion are Muslim – and only 78 terrorist attacks – seems low to me.
Well, I decided to check out a few things. One, I checked all 78 incidents using Google to see what kind of reporting there was. In every case, there were news articles and most incidents have Wikipedia entries. But the real shock was when I was way down the list…I came upon a Wiki entry that was contradictory to the Republicans point of view – apparently, in November 2016, there were 165 terrorist incidents in the world.
To get a real overview of the Republican list, here is how it breaks down – I have grouped it by geography as well as whether the terrorist was a citizen of the country, or an immigrant/refugee. Many incidents listed ISIL as the “perpetrator”, so I have listed them separately.
US & Canada
So let’s focus on the four immigrant/refugee attacks that happened in the United States. Here is a list of the perpetrators:
- New York/New Jersey – September 2016 - Ahmad Khan Rahami was born in Afghanistan, and his family was granted asylum in the United States in 2011…
- St Cloud, MN – September 2016 - Dahir A. Adan was a member of St. Cloud's Somali-American community. He was born in Kenya and moved to the U.S. at the age of two…
- Columbus OH - February 2016 - Mohamed Barry was 30 at the time of his death. A native of Guinea in West Africa, he arrived in the U.S. in 2000…
- Columbus, OH, November, 2016 - Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a Somali refugee who left his homeland with his family in 2007, lived in Pakistan and then came to the United States in 2014 as a legal permanent resident.
Now – let’s talk about America and Muslims. I would like to establish the proposition that America accepts and embraces all colors and creeds. If that is the case, then we must accommodate our Muslim friends as best we can – allowing them their unique cultural traditions, their “non-western” cosmology and theology, and their traditions and holidays. Note I used the word accommodate – no acquiesce. I am not requiring any American to hold Ramadan sacred; or submit to Sharia Law. I wish only to welcome my Muslin friends into the golden light of freedom that is America.
Here in Portland Maine, we have a number of African immigrants. Many are Somali. Around 5,000 Somalis resided in Portland; a town of 66,000 residents. Around the turn of the century, Somali immigrants in the United States began a secondary migration to Maine from other states on account of the area's low crime rate, good schools and cheap housing. Isn’t it remarkable that Somali’s value the same things as we do? Low crime – good schools – cheap housing? No – it's not remarkable. It’s what you would expect from people who are looking for a safe place to settle down, raise their children and live out their lives in peace. But their Muslims – should we fear them… no.
We must embrace our fellow immigrants and welcome them into our community. We must do what is necessary to make them feel at home and accepted. We must. It’s our duty as Americans. Immigrants all.