The van driven into a crowd in Barcelona is towed away. (AFP/Getty Images)
In Spain Thursday, a man drove a truck into a crowd at Barcelona’s popular Costa Dorada area, killing at least 13 and injuring 100. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked, “There will be questions about copycats. Questions, if what happened in Barcelona, was at all, at all, a copycat version of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
No, Wolf, it was a phenomenon with which you and your CNN colleagues have only a glancing familiarity: Islamic jihad. Of course Wolf Blitzer immediately reached for a connection with Charlottesville, because he most likely doesn’t believe that there are Islamic jihadis at all, just mentally ill lone wolves driven to violence by “Islamophobia.” Jihad doesn’t fit his network’s narrative. And vehicular jihad? Wolf has never heard of such a thing.
Last June, the Islamic State published a poster depicting an SUV driving over a heap of skulls and bearing the legend “Run Over Them Without Mercy.”
And the Islamic State issued this call in September 2014:
So O muwahhid, do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit. Strike their police, security, and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents. Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be….If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him….
Many Muslims in the West have heeded this call. The man who rented the van used in the Barcelona attack was a Muslim from Morocco named Driss Oukabier, who was arrested, while one of his apparent accomplices was killed in a gun battle with police. This could have been just one part of a much larger jihad plot, as Spanish police now believe that a massive explosion in a house in Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, was also linked to the Barcelona jihad plotters.
There have been many other vehicular jihad attacks. Just last week in France, a Muslim named Hamou Bachir hit six French soldiers with his car in Levallois-Perret, where the headquarters of the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security), the country’s primary counter-terrorism intelligence agency, are located. In June, a Muslim drove his car into a crowd on the London Bridge and then jumped out and started stabbing people. We have seen several other vehicular jihadis get out of the car after they plowed into pedestrians, and start stabbing people. In June 2015, a Muslim in Austria drove his car into a crowd, killing three, and then got out and stabbed passersby. Then in November 2016, a Muslim student at Ohio State University named Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a crowd, then got out and stabbed several others.
There have been many others in 2016 and this year: in Nice, in Berlin, in Jerusalem, in Paris, and elsewhere. Yet on CNN and elsewhere in the establishment media, no analysts have connected the dots between these jihad attacks, which have an obvious connection with one another in sharing the same motivating ideology and the same goal. But Wolf Blitzer readily sees a wholly imaginary connection between Charlottesville (in which a neo-Nazi was imitating jihadis, not the other way around) and Barcelona, because he wishes to exaggerate the importance and influence of white supremacists, while minimizing the magnitude of the jihad threat.
And so it goes in the daily news of the contemporary West: another jihad massacre, and another reason to turn off CNN.