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Killing Muslims Will Land You in Jail

Anti-Muslim hate crimes

Ever since the “war on terrorism” morphed into the “war on Islam” or “the war on Muslims” or “the war on radical Muslims,” I have warned people who subscribe to this notion: Do not go out and start killing Muslims in this so-called war because U.S. authorities at the state level will charge you with murder.

Unfortunately, there have been those who haven’t gotten the message. One of those is a Londoner, who just ran a vehicle into a group of people leaving a mosque. Another is a 22-year-old Virginia man who just killed a teenage Muslim girl.

While we still do not know the exact motive for the killings, it is likely that they were motivated, at least in part, in both cases by the “we are at war with Islam” or the “we are at war with Muslims” mindset.

Under the law, it is a criminal offense to kill someone without legal justification. If you do so, you will be charged and prosecuted for murder. If you’re found guilty, you will be punished with incarceration, fine, and possibly even execution.

The law recognizes that killing the enemy in wartime is one of those legal justifications that immunize a soldier from criminal prosecution. When someone kills the enemy on the battlefield, he cannot be prosecuted and punished for murder. (It’s different if a soldier kills an enemy soldier in captivity or commits other war crimes.)

After the Cold War ended in 1989, which caused the U.S. government to lose its official Cold War enemies, the Soviet Union and communism, the U.S. government went into the Middle East and began killing people, including hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children with 11 years of brutal sanctions that caused deadly illnesses among the Iraqi populace.

Most of the victims were Muslims. Therefore, it should have surprised no one that when retaliatory attacks ultimately came, both before and after 9/11, they came from Muslims.

Rather than focus on the U.S. government’s actions in the Middle East as the motivating factor behind the attacks, a segment of Americans decided to focus instead on Islam and Muslims as the root of the problem. Steadfastly refusing to criticize the U.S. government and especially the Pentagon and the CIA, they convinced themselves that the problem lay in a supposed centuries-old quest of Muslims to take over the world, including the United States.

Before long, Islam and Muslims had replaced the Soviet Union and the communism as America’s official bugaboo. The Muslims are coming to get us, the sentiment went, just as the Russians and communists were supposedly coming to get us during the Cold War.

The people who subscribed to this line failed to notice one glaring fact: That their overarching fear of  Islam and Muslims was entirely new — that is, that it took control over their minds after the 9/11 attacks. Before that, their minds were consumed with fear of Russia and the Reds.

When it was the Soviet Union, rather than the United States, doing the occupying of Afghanistan, the U.S. government partnered with and supported the extremist Muslims who were trying to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet occupiers. Ironically, the people today who say that the problem is with Islam and Muslims cheered the U.S. government’s partnership with and support of those extremist Muslims in Afghanistan. That’s because there was no concern about Islam or Muslims during the Cold War. The fear that people had during that time, again, was with the Soviets and the commies.

Another fascinating aspect of this phenomenon is that the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 succeeded in installing official Islamic regimes in both countries. Just look at their constitutions (here and here). The constitution of Afghanistan states: “Afghanistan shall be an Islamic Republic.” The constitution of Iraq states: “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation.”

I have never heard any American  adherent to the “we are at war with Islam” notion ever complaining about or criticizing the U.S. government’s installation of these two Islamic regimes and their subsequent protection in the long and deadly occupational period that followed both invasions.

So, what’s really going on here?

For the “we are at war with Islam” segment, the U.S. national-security establishment is their everything. The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA are their god. The thought of criticizing their god is akin to heresy. Their minds will simply not permit them to think in that direction. In their minds, Americans should be constantly expressing gratitude for what these national-security state agencies have done for them, i.e., “defend our country” and “protect our rights and freedoms.”

They simply cannot bring themselves to see that it is U.S. interventionism that is the root of anti-American terrorism. They have instead convinced themselves that the U.S. government needs to be in the Middle East killing Muslims because Muslims have supposedly been coming to get us and the West for centuries.

I suspect that deep down most of the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim crowd knows that their views are fallacious, which is why they limit their attacks on Muslims to emails and websites rather than by killing them. They are smart to refrain from killing “the enemy” in their “war on Islam” because, as I have warned many times in the past, if one goes out and starts killing Muslims, he is going to be arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and punished for murder.

In fact, that is precisely what is going to happen to the attackers in London and Virginia, who just went out and killed Muslims. They are going to be charged with murder, and they are going to be prohibited from defending against the charges by telling the jury that they were just killing the enemy during wartime. That’s the way it should be because the “we are at war with Islam” notion has been disingenuous from the start.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.


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