Or at least abettors and sympathizers. In the Brooklyn neighborhood in which I grew up, and in which my parents and in-laws still live, there has been something of an influx of Pakistani immigrants in recent years. I never heard of anybody having a problem with them, although it was a bit disconcerting to discover that one of the 9/11 hijackers had lived in the neighborhood for a while (I don’t recall if he was living there at the time).
There is this one candy store that I’ve passed by zillions of times, though I haven’t been in it in recent years. It’s been owned by an elderly Muslim fellow with a turban, and features Arabic writing on the sign and a schedule of prayer times. The man seems like a decent enough guy, and my mother says whenever she stopped in to buy a newspaper he was very polite and friendly; “how are you?”, “have a nice day”, and the like. Shortly after the attacks, my father engaged him in conversation, to see what the guy’s take was on the situation. He told me then that he had a hard time following the guy fully as his English was rather poor, but what got across fully were two things. He kept on emphasizing the Islam is a religion of peace, and also going on about the notion that 4,000 Jews had stayed home from the WTC on the day of the attacks.
OK, fast forward to now: Bust in Alleged Visa Ring
So this sweet old fellow turns out to be an Al-Qaeda sympathizer, and apparently a big-time illegal immigrant smuggler. Religion of peace, indeed. You never know who you are dealing with.
One of the puzzling things about radical Islamic sentiment is the simultaneous claim that Israelis (or the CIA) carried out the WTC attacks, and the celebration of these attacks as a great Islamic triumph that the world needs more of. I guess it’s kind of analogous to the tendency in White Supremacist/Neo-Nazi circles to say that we need to kill all the Jews while simultaneously denying the holocaust with great vigor. Anything goes in love and war.