Critical Commentary: Missing the best chance to prevent terror bombing

Posted on May 17, 2013 by


The Boston Marathon was supposed to be a celebration of the hard work that athletes had put in over long periods of time. Instead jubilation turned into tragedy as homemade bombs went off at the finish line, killing three and injuring over two hundred people (Kundnani,1). The two suspects, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsamaev were associated with the religion of Islam. Since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon nearly twelve years ago, terrorism and Islam have been matched together. Part of this pairing has been due to the media, as news stories have shed a negative light upon Muslims. In the article Missing the Best Chance To Prevent Terror Bombing by Arun Kundnani, a point is driven across that the United States is focusing a great a deal amount on “surveilling” Muslims. Tying this into a religious context we really don’t get an idea of the Islamic faith, analyzing the article by looking at things such point of view, language and more, will help to explore this phenomena.

To get into this analysis a brief summary of the article is important. There are two points that I got from the article: The United States doesn’t need to put all emphasis on Muslim surveillance and Muslims themselves need to confront each other. The introduction starts off regarding the Boston Bombings. Giving the statistics and showing the carnage that occurred that day. I think this is important as it sets the table for the article, Kundnani then gets into the United States Intelligence policies. Over $40 billion has been put into the intelligence budget as well as having 18,000 informants combined in counter terrorism. The author then points out that this is not the answer as there are more issues to focus. He also believes Muslims need to communicate with each other.

My first impression from looking at the article was one of curiosity. How can we prevent terror bombings? This is a good question because it addresses an internal issue within our country and the Muslim community. The author points out that Mosque leaders are under pressure to expel radicals (Kundnani, 2). It is important to remember that not all Muslims are terrorist, they have a basis for their faith. That base is the Shari’a, the Islamic law that gives guidelines for Muslims to live by (Lecture, 5/1). Shari’a reveals norms about moral and ethical behavior, and by the way it looks. With the surveillance of mosques, Kundnani says that mosques are “wary” of having conversation with radicals because of fear of attention. Language is important to understand to uncover the implicit meanings of any piece of media. The word “radical” really stuck out to me throughout the article. The term radical can be perceived as being an outsider. In the case of the bombing suspects it was believed they were upset with U.S. foreign policy (Kundnani, 3). With radicalism in Islamic terms, the “Jihad” comes to mind. It comes into two-forms, the greater and the lesser. The greater jihad is the struggle that is faced to fulfill religious duties. While instead we see the lesser, which is the armed struggle. The media forces people to look at the violence, rather than look at who Muslims really are.

Overall I feel the author has a point with the over surveillance of Muslims in the United States. The emphasis on keeping watch over a group of people hides things that may be important to know. With the Boston bombings we do not know for sure what was going through the suspects minds. Tight watch might have hindered investigation with these two men.

In the article Missing the Best Chance To Prevent Terror Bombing by Arun Kundnani, he raises the point that Muslim surveillance is overkill. He also says that this surveillance is making mosque leaders uncomfortable with talking with worshippers who’s views might be turning radical. Overall I feel the use of language brings up the fact that Muslims are being looked at in a negative light based off individual interpretations. Rather than looking at what is really behind Islamic beliefs. It will be interesting to see how the United States handles this issue.

Arun Kundnani, Missing the Best Chance To Prevent Terror Bombing, CNN, 5/7/13

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