Islamist Groups Push Conspiracy Theories in Homegrown Terror Cases

Nor is the Niazi case unique; there are many parallels in Islamist tactics responding to the arrest of four alleged terrorists in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx on May 20, accused of plotting to attack two synagogues and to bring down U.S. military airplanes.

The alleged Bronx terrorists met at Masjid al-Ikhlas, a mosque in Newburgh, New York, whose head, Imam Salahuddin Muhammad, blames the FBI informant who discovered the plot for inciting his congregants. Like his peers in California, Muhammad disparages the informant as a convict.

“I am very concerned that the hard work of building bridges here in Newburgh over the last quarter of a century will now be dismissed, because of the actions of a convicted felon,” Muhammad says.

These conspiracy theories are echoed and expanded by other prominent Islamists and their apologists. According to Adem Carroll, the executive director of the Muslim Consultative Network, the government has co-opted Islamic extremists for its own ends.

“These plots are being used to drive funding for the war on terrorism,” Carroll says.

CAIR has made an even more peculiar claim, saying that the Bronx incident may be an FBI conspiracy to “drive a wedge between two American religious minorities” -- Jews and Muslims.

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt of the Riverdale Jewish Center, one of the sites targeted in the plot, fails to see how ignoring threats to his community’s security improves Muslim-Jewish relations.

“It is clear that the aspiration to do harm and the commitment to fulfill that aspiration runs like a dark thread through this entire thing, and that’s not the FBI,” Rosenblatt says.

The Islamists have begun openly to undermine the FBI’s ability to confront terrorism. On the CAIR-New York website, an article entitled “Visited by an FBI Agent? Know Your Rights” was published, detailing how to legally avoid providing information to the agency.

The Islamists’ penchant for conspiracy theories is not benign: it is a calculated effort to deny inconvenient truths and an excuse to remain passive in the face of homegrown terrorism. By blaming the FBI for radicalized members of their community, the Islamists effectively discourage American Muslims from complying with their country’s efforts to ensure their security and that of their fellow citizens.

In choosing to side with fringe elements of their population -- like Niazi and the alleged Bronx terrorists -- over the FBI, the Islamists effectively portray these radicals’ worldview as an accepted norm in their community. The Islamist leadership’s actions are detrimental to the image of American Muslims and a betrayal of their constituency’s broader interests.