A few days ago, the FBI arrested Islamist terrorist Mohamed Osman Mohamud for trying to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The guy was quite serious about trying to blow up as many innocents as possible:
In months of preparation with men he thought were co-conspirators but were in fact undercover agents, Mohamud backed up his talk with action. After initially making email contact with Islamist radicals in Pakistan, he took part in constructing what he hoped would be an extraordinarily powerful bomb, scouted the best location for the attack, parked the van containing the bomb near the Christmas tree crowd, and, finally, dialed the cell phone number he believed would detonate the explosives. “I want whoever is attending that event to leave either dead or injured,” Mohamud said of the 25,000 people expected to take part in the event.
Portland’s elected officials, however, were quite a bit less serious about protecting their citizens than Mohamud was about blowing them up. In 2005, the Portland city council withdrew Portland police officers from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after Mayor Tom Potter complained that the FBI wouldn’t give him security clearance “so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.” Nice to know where his priorities lie.
Law enforcement certainly should not target people in general due to their “religious or political beliefs.” For example, I concur with those who were appalled at the Obama Administration’s focus on the “religious or political beliefs” of returning veterans and groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority in a terrorism threat assessment back in April of 2009. (Current Portland Mayor is apparently not bothered about targeting such folks, since he told a local paper that he might ask the city council to rejoin the Joint Terrorism Task Force because “he has much more faith in the Obama administration” than in the Bush Administration.)
But there are some whose “religious or political beliefs” lead them to focus on killing Americans. They can be described as Islamic extremists. Michelle Malkin has a gallery of this broad strata of society here. We should be hunting down those people using all available resources — such as cooperation among state and federal law enforcement — instead of hand-wringing about offending their sensibilities. Those who would ignore the very real and widespread threat of Islamic extremists put all of us in danger.