In a horrific act of anti-Muslim terrorism, a 48-year-old man drove a van into a group of Muslims near a mosque in Finsbury Park in London on Sunday. He shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims … I did my bit, you deserve it.” One man was killed, and ten others were wounded. According to the Daily Mail:
The unnamed man - who was clean-shaven with curly hair and wore a white t-shirt - suffered cuts to his face and hands and was filmed repeatedly shouting 'kill me' to the men who grabbed him. After his arrest the terror suspect continued to goad the crowds that witnessed the attack by smiling, waving and even blowing kisses at them.
The incident is horrific. The perpetrator should spend the rest of his life in prison (the U.K. has no death penalty). And the Left isn’t wrong to connect it with an upsurge in anti-Muslim crime. According to London Mayor Siddiq Khan, who has been far too permissive with regard to Islamic radicalism on his own soil, released police figures that showed, according to Newsweek, “Islamophobic attacks had risen fivefold since the ramming and knife assault … a 40 percent increase in racist attacks. … The numbers from London’s Metropolitan Police show that anti-Muslim motivated incidents had risen to from a daily 2017 average of four to as many as 20.”
But it is wrong to use the anti-Muslim attack as justification for equivalency between the danger of the rise of radical Islam and the rise of anti-Muslim xenophobia. That’s absurd. Yes, attacks on Muslims have risen — and that’s unjustifiable and awful. But major attacks on Muslims by anti-Muslim terrorists are far less common than major radical Muslim attacks on non-Muslims across Europe — and they are supported by no major terrorist group, let alone state actors. Radical Muslims run states; anti-Muslim countries do not exist in the same way (even the most extreme anti-Muslim countries have Muslim populations, for example). This London attack marks the first major terror attack in Great Britain against Muslims since 2013, when a Ukrainian student attempted to bomb a mosque in Birmingham and stabbed a young Muslim man to death (if I’ve missed one, I apologize in advance). In the last four months, we’ve seen the Westminster terror attack, the Manchester Arena bombing, and the London Bridge attack.
This isn’t to suggest that violent anti-Muslim terror attacks are somehow better or less disgusting than violent radical Muslim terror attacks on others. But they are far less statistically frequent, have nearly no global support, and earn the round condemnation of the entire Western world. The Left has attempted to broaden the conversation to include individual hate crimes — for example, harassing a woman in a hijab — but if we do that, we must also include the rate of hate crimes by Muslims against others (e.g. Jews across Europe).
We have a moral obligation to fight against terrorism wherever we see it. But to pretend a widespread anti-Muslim terror movement across the west, organized or disorganized, is a deliberate misreading of the situation by those who are politically motivated to wave away the continuing threat of radical Muslim terrorism.