It’s been a busy seven days for people who want to protect America from the Muslim Threat! Since Donald Trump announced his completely impossible policy proposal to ban Muslims from entering the USA on December 7, there have been at least 19 attacks (or threatened attacks) nationwide on mosques, Muslim-owned businesses and homes, and on individual Muslims. Now, we should note that several of those attacks occurred on December 7, so maybe they were merely the work of Patriots avenging the San Bernardino shootings on their own, completely free of Trumpian influence.
In California, the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley was apparently firebombed Friday afternoon while five or six people were inside. In Phoenix, Arizona, some brave patriots shattered windows overnight Wednesday at the Islamic Cultural Center, the site of May’s armed protest against the dangers of Islam.
Happily, Donald Trump can’t possibly have inspired the death of Hamza Warsame, a 16-year-old Somali-American high school student who either fell from or was beaten and thrown from an 8th-floor balcony at Seattle Central College. That happened on December 5, so Donald is in the clear, hooray.
On Friday night, 23-year-old Carl Dial was arrested and charged with arson, burglary, and hate crimes for the Coachella Valley mosque fire. His father, John Dial, told NBC News that he had no plans to help with his son’s $150,000 bail:
We will supply him with money for the commissary. We have no plans to bail him out. He’s an adult … We both said right there, we said to him, I hope you like reading books, because you’re in it for the long haul. He’s a man.
The older Dial said that his son was something of a loner, who spent a lot of his time on the computer:
Dial’s father said his son struggled socially. Carl Dial’s demeanor took an anti-social turn around 2000, and his father said if his son committed the arson he believes some type of psychiatric ailment might be to blame. Carl Dial had seen mental health professionals while younger, he said.
“He was caught up in social media. Social media has produced people like my son, without person-to-person contact,” John Dial said. “I believe he was lacking in social skills.”
Or as Oliver Willis put it in a joke that’s too good not to steal, he was apparently “radicalized online.” Oh, yes, and of course he had psychiatric problems, because he is not a Muslim. Only Muslims commit violent acts out of ideology.
The Coachella mosque fire was limited to the entrance and lobby; but there was smoke damage throughout the building; worshipers gathered Saturday morning to pray in the mosque’s yard while the building was still boarded up and surrounded by crime tape. It was the second hate crime directed at the mosque; in November 2014, five shots were fired at the building during prayers. No one was arrested in that incident, although a reward of $12,000 was offered. Several local officials condemned Friday’s attack; Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez called it a “cowardly act of vandalism that we do not tolerate in our community” and said that it “flies in the face of everything we stand for and believe in as Americans.”
In Phoenix, two windows and an outdoor light fixture at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix were vandalized; the damage was discovered Thursday morning. While the Phoenix Police hate crimes unit was called to investigate, police told TV station KNXV they didn’t believe the mosque was the target of a hate crime. Nonetheless, mosque president Usama Sharmi said he feared that the vandalism was backlash to the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and that the local Muslim community is afraid since Donald Trump issued his call for Muslim exclusion. Reassuringly, several people in the TV story’s comments section wisely pointed out that Muslims in Paris and San Bernardino destroyed a lot more than merely some windows, so members of the mosque have nothing to gripe about.
At another Phoenix-area mosque, Scottsdale’s Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley, Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake attended Friday services and spoke out against Trump-style hatred:
We are a better country than has been on display this week […] My hope and prayer today is that the isolated voices calling for division are overwhelmed by the chorus of voices, like those in this room today, calling for acceptance, for tolerance and inclusion.
Flake didn’t mention Trump by name, but we’ll give him credit for actually going to a mosque and calling for inclusiveness; Flake even went so far as to compare Islam to his own faith without bursting into flame himself:
“Early persecution drove Mohammed from Mecca to Medina,” Flake said. “Early persecution drove the Mormons from Illinois to Utah. I have ancestors buried along that trail.”
There’s probably not much else that we’ll ever agree with Sen. Flake on, but while the rest of his party is having a scare-the-proles freakout over Islam, that took some political huevos.
As of press time, Donald Trump has not yet called for Californians or Arizonans to be barred entry to the United States.