rainbow flag #usa #carlifornia #sanfrancisco #gaycommunity #rainbow #flag #sfThis is the seventh in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Making a Game of the Language of Terror

The FBI just released redacted transcripts of the 911 calls the Orlando shooter made during his massacre (WebCite cached article). The redactions have outraged most folks on the Right, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, as reported by the Daily Beast, among a multitude of other media outlets (cached):

House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized the decision to redact parts of the transcript, likening it to censorship and echoing Donald Trump and other Republicans’ complaint that President Obama would not use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe the attack.

“Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous,” Ryan said. “We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why.”

It is believed that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS in the call, but the specific group was removed from the transcript of his original 911 call.

The Right’s sanctimonious fury hinges mainly on the accusation that the Obama administration is being “politically correct,” avoiding providing any connection between the shooter and his religion, Islam. There’s just one tiny little problem with that: The FBI’s transcript itself directly contradicts that contention! Here’s an excerpt from the FBI (emphasis mine):

In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted], and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is why he was “out here right now.”

Did you catch that? I hope so. The FBI itself — and in its own words — explicitly reported the shooter had said he was “an Islamic soldier.” That’s right, folks. The FBI — supposedly hamstrung by its putative effort never to mention Islam in connection with the Pulse nightclub shooting — actually did so; they did it clearly and unambiguously. There’s no doubt about it … it’s there, in their own words.

Looking over what they released, I’d say the FBI redacted mentions specifically of ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood and its leader, as well as the content of hostage negotiations. It’s pretty easy to see why they’d not want to release the latter; it’d provide people insights into how hostage negotiators work, which they’d obviously prefer weren’t common knowledge. It’s harder to understand the omission of the name of ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They seem to want to deprive that primitive horde of recruiting material, however, that ship has already sailed — it’s been widely reported already, based on information the FBI and others have already provided, that the Orlando shooter had professed allegiance to them. ISIS can use any or all of those reports in its recruiting propaganda. The FBI redacting it from the transcript deprives them of nothing.

This move is also consistent with the Obama administration’s unwillingness, overall, to lend too much credence to the Islamist terrorists’ claims that they’re fighting for Islam. They’re trying to avoid tarring and feathering the whole religion. In this case, as I noted, they didn’t entirely remove all of that from the transcript. What’s more, it’s kind of foolish to avoid associating these savages with the religion they follow. To say the butchers are “radical Islamists” is most certainly not the same as saying that all Muslims are murderous radicals. It means only that some of them are. To note that some Muslims are radical isn’t even unique to their religion; pretty much all religions have radical extremist elements. Yes, even the “religion of love,” Christianity!

While this policy is misguided and naïve (as I’ve said often), it’s hardly scandalous. It’s a diplomatic approach, and as such, is a matter of judgement … and that’s a subjective thing. So reasonable minds can and will disagree on such matters. Diplomacy isn’t the same thing as “political correctness,” which is what most of the Right thinks is behind this effort.

In the end, what America’s Religious Right is really after, is ammunition they can use against their religion’s chief rival in the world. Unlike the Obama administration, they truly do wish to tar and feather the entire religion of Islam. They use events like the Orlando massacre to imply — or sometimes state outright — that Islam is an inherently barbaric and violent religion, one that requires all of its adherents to slaughter innocents any time they choose. What they ignore is that their own religion, Christianity, also happens to harbor extremists of its own. When this is pointed out to them, they tend to get their panties in bunches and spew laughable protests like, “But those guys aren’t ‘Real’ Christians,” as though there is such a thing as a “‘Real’ Christian.” (To be clear, there isn’t! To think so is to fall for the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.) In other words … if someone does to their religion what they feel compelled to do to Islam, they refuse to stand for it. That they’d use tactics against others that they don’t want used on them, directly contradicts the teachings of the founder of their own religion, who expounded “the Golden Rule”, and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical.

Photo credit: Hai Yang, via Flickr.

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