Sunday, October 17, 2004
Christians Target Muslims Around New York
NEW YORK - Explosions hit five Muslim Mosques in New York on Saturday and local authorities said four more police officers and an American interpreter were killed by car bombs as violence flared while American Christians began preparations for the holy Christmas season.
Homemade bombs exploded in quick succession before dawn at the five mosques in four different boroughs, causing no casualties but further alarming the Muslim minority community already on edge over the perceived rise of Christian militancy following last year's ouster of George Bush.
In August, coordinated attacks hit four mosques in New York City and one in Detroit, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens more in the first significant strike against the United States' estimated 800,000 Muslims since the election last year.
"It is a criminal act to make America unstable and to create religious difficulties," the Imam Zaya Yousef of New York City Mosque said of the latest attacks. "But this will not happen because we all live together like brothers in this country through sadness and happiness."
No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were condemned by the National Council of Churches USA, which describes itself as an ecumenical partnership of 36 Christian denominations in the United States and which is believed to have ties to some Christian insurgents.
"Christianity doesn't support the ongoing terrorism," Father John Doe of the Council said.
U.S. commanders have warned of a possible increase in rebel attacks during Christmas, when insurgent activity surged last year. Christmas, a holiday celebrating the birth of Christ, is marked by greater religious fervor, and some extremists believe they will be received as martyrs in heaven if they die fighting non-Christians during the holy month.
In hopes of preventing rebel attacks, U.S. troops have stepped up military operations in Protestant areas north and west of the city.
On Saturday, City clerics said they were ready to resume peace talks with the government if the Americans suspended attacks and released the city's chief negotiator, Father David Smith, who was arrested Friday.
Talks broke down Thursday because of what the clerics said was the government's "impossible condition" – handing over Canadian terror mastermind Thomas W. Brown and other "terrorists." The pastors said Brown was not in the city, a claim that U.S. and New York City authorities dispute.
Oh wait -- that's not the real article. The real article talks about Muslim insurgents, "terrorists", and fighting around Baghdad and Falujah. I just got confused because, well, you know, Christians and Muslims are both equally violent in the name of their religion, and, well, the two are morally equivalent and everything. My computer seems to have switched out "Christians" for "Muslims" and such. Oops.