Islamophobes Discover Sudden Jihad Syndrome in the Hinrichs Case?
Posted Dec 15, 2005

Islamophobes Discover Sudden Jihad Syndrome in the Hinrichs Case?

by Sheila Musaji

On October 1, 2005, Joel Henry Hinrichs III, a Christian college student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, detonated a large bomb made of TATP outside of a packed football stadium.

When news of this terrible tragedy broke, The Jawa report had an entry titled “Islamic Terrorism in Oklahoma Likely” 

What sorts of facts do they string together to come up with this allegation?  Their “evidence” is that the Islamic Center near the campus where Hinrichs went to school is affiliated with ISNA?  His roomate was from Pakistan and attended this mosque?  Zacharias Moussaoui may have at one time attended this same mosque?

The Northeast Intelligence Network adds another “fact” - that Mr. Hinrichs was seen walking through the parking lot of the mosque   This is not too surprising for a student whose on-campus apartment was only a block away from the mosque.

The FBI has denied that this case is tied to terrorism.

Of course, the Christian Broadcasting Network weighs in  and repeats all of these “facts”.  And Daniel Pipes’ carefully worded article on the issue suggests that this might be a case of “jihadism” saying:  “There are plenty of cases of apparent free-lance jihadism, of self-starting Islamists who on their own initiative decided to take up violence.”  And, Michelle Malkin joins the Islamophobic echo chamber spreading these totally false claims.

A Conservative Voice article ominously titled Terrorism Strikes the Heartland repeats the same series of connections but adds the “fact” that Hinrichs had a beard ”... too similar to those worn by newly observant Muslim men to be a mere coincidence.” Now we’re getting somewhere this is real proof that he must have converted to Islam.

TAM published an article Jihad in Oklahoma? You Got It All Wrong Bloggers by Cathy Young which pretty well discredits all of these.

Rumor and innuendo are not journalism - the problem is that these sorts of sensationalist sites are where many pick up their strange theories which then take on a life of their own and are repeated and enlarged upon until

All sorts of false claims were made on various sites.  Mr. Hinrichs was a Muslim and visited the mosque frequently.  He tried to enter the stadium twice but was rebuffed.  He had a one-way airplane ticket to Algeria; that there were nails in the bomb and that Islamic extremist literature was found in his apartment. 

None of these claims are true or even slightly plausible, but that doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the fact that they are being widely disseminated.