Nod to Cobb: Every once in awhile, I like to swing by the more conservative black bloggers and see what they are talking about. Cobb cites WorldNetDaily, a conservative news site. I read the WND article and offer you this quote from the top:

A speech released May 5 by Osama bin Laden’s deputy confirms earlier fears that African-Americans are the No. 1 recruiting target for the next generation of attacks. Al-Qaida has been trying to lower its Arab profile to reduce the odds that its terror cells will be subjected to security scrutiny.

“Federal and local law enforcement authorities should be aware that al-Qaida terrorists may not appear Arab,” warns a recent Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by WND. “Non-Arab al-Qaida operatives could find it easier to avoid unwanted scrutiny since they may not fit typical profiles.”

At first, it struck me as some Republican racial profiling/politics of fear mess designed to discredit the overwhelming lack of support among African-Americans for the Iraq War. Al-Qaeda sends chills down my spine and they actually do still scare me more than the Bush Administration. And WorldNetDaily. I was about to berate Cobb for being so gullible. But then I decided to dig a little deeper. Was there any truth behind this?

We tend to get only summaries of Al-Qaeda’s lengthy messages. This last one released by Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri was over an hour long. The BBC used to provide full transcripts of Zawahri’s chilling rants like this one where he berates the Queen. These are hard to come by these days.

So in poking around, I found this quote at the very end/second page of a Reuters article entitled “Qaeda’s Zawahri says Iraq bill shows U.S. defeat”:

Zawahri also called on African-American soldiers to refuse to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying America had only changed the “appearance of the shackles and chains” of their slave forefathers.

Zawahri repeatedly praised Black Muslim leader Malcolm X on the video which included footage of the American militant’s speeches, interspersed with documentary scenes of police action against blacks in the 1960s and poor blacks in urban ghettos.

Cobb’s strange and inarticulate reaction to WND’s story included:

I mean sure, we have campus radicals and we have Harry Belafonte, but.. I mean we have Harry Belafonte. Besides having absolutely radiant teeth, Harry didn’t even fight in movies. Blacks in America aren’t interested in fighting. Those that are… well, they’re in the Marine Corps. Sorry Ayman, I thought you knew.

Actually, I beg to disagree, Cobb. African-Americans have fought for America’s freedom and for justice here and abroad since before the nation was founded. Ahem: Crispus Attucks, anyone? The Amistad? Not to mention the heroic service of African-Americans during the Civil War and every American war since then even as we never stopped fought for freedom and equality in our homeland. African-Americans are fighters. There are a lot of ways to fight and by reading this blog — that makes you a fighter for freedom, too.

We just ain’t interested in fighting for Al-Qaeda. We’ve worked too hard to receive credit for our contribution in building this great nation. Too many of our ancestors suffered and died to guarantee their descendants the right of full participation in America’s political system, society and economy. Ain’t about to tear all that down with a bunch of cowardly psychos attacking innocent civilians from their cave dwellings. Yeah, Al-Qaeda, I’m talking to you.

We are among the most patriotic people in America and that includes black Muslims. From the Wikipedia entry on African-American:

Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the American political process than other minority groups in the US, indicated by the highest level of voter registration and participation in elections among these groups in 2004. [4]

There is no chance that Al-Qaeda will find recruits among us. Still, al-Qaeda’s propoganda bears watching if only because racist Republicans will use it as a way to poison our positive trajectory. Republicans will throw this in our face and try to drive a wedge between us and other progressives. They may even fling some mud at Barack Obama, whose father was Muslim. We will need to remain vigilant and push back on hate messaging designed to incite fear and to diminish our strength. Just because we were against the Iraq war before it started and are even more against it now doesn’t mean we are for al-Qaeda. Far from it.

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