Alleged Christian Terrorists said to Target Moderate American Muslims

FBI raids on the Hutaree Christian militia brought to light this formerly little-known group based in Adrian, Michigan.

Unlike the generally secular white supremacist organizations, Hutaree are explicitly Christians. Many seem to be millenarians, expecting the end of time to come soon. Like the so-called Patriot Movement, they are gun nuts. They are said to be organized to kill the Antichrist, and some reports say that they planned violence against American Muslims.

Polling shows that about 1/4 of members of the Republican Party believe that President Obama is the Antichrist, and one fears that Hutaree may agree.

Irregular times has a good overview of their beliefs, which include secession from the US and return to colonial times, perhaps in preparation for another revolution. (Will they have to register in South Carolina?). Some are antinomians, rejecting US laws. They fear a liberal ‘new world order.’

Fox Cable News and Rupert Murdoch bear some responsibility for such groups. When Glenn Beck tosses around a charge like ‘anti-Christ’ at a prominent liberal, he knows that term is an incitement for militant Christians. And the years of rabid Fox promotion of hatred of US Muslims is bound to get someone among them killed– and is therefore murder by television.

I am struck that Hutaree has a great deal in common with the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. The Hutaree militia seems to recruit from the poor or lower middle class. Michigan’s real unemployment rate is said to be 17%, and for many Michigan workers there have been years of hopelessness and joblessness, inducing despair and anger. The Mahdi Army likewise drew on Iraqi unemployed and angry youth. Many Sadrists believe that the Mahdi or Muslim messiah will soon come, perhaps accompanied by the return of Christ. The Mahdi Army has sometimes targeted Christian video or liquor shops, as a symbol of the oppressive other (yes, that is unfair to Iraqi Christians but they had the misfortune to be W.’s co-religionists.). The Hutaree, a mirror image, target Muslims. The Mahdi Army considered Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the Dajjal or anti-Christ. Both have an unhealthy interest in firearms for political intimidation of others. The Hutaree fear the United Nations, as the Mahdi Army fears the US occupation. (Muslim radical groups often also hate the UN.)

Both groups are victims of a neoliberal world order that uses and discards working people, while protecting and cushioning the super-wealthy. Instead of a rational analysis of exploitatation, however, they are responding with emotion and symbol, projecting their economic and political alienation on other religious or ethnic groups (the Mahdi Army ethnically cleansed tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims from Baghdad in the name of anti-imperialism. They resort to irrational conspiracy theories, to religion and guns. Admitedly, the Mahdi Army is somewhat more rational, since they really do face foreign occupation, though their targeting of Sunnis instead of forming a nationalist front was highly dysfunctional.

The US press is saying the Hutaree people are a Christian “militia” but is avoiding calling them ‘alleged Christian terrorists.” Apparently only organized Muslim radicals can now be called terrorists.

End/ (Not Continued)

16 Responses

  1. "Admitedly, the Mahdi Army is somewhat more rational, since they really do face foreign occupation, though their targeting of Sunnis instead of forming a nationalist front was highly dysfunctional."

    The Mahdi Army was very solidaristic with the Sunnis at the time of the US's onslaught on Fallujah, but were made increasingly angry by the cumulative effect of all the terrorist bombings carried out against Shi'ites by Zarqawi's crew with local Sunni facilitators – starting with the March 2004 Karbala and Baghdad massacre, continuing throughout 2004-2005 with assorted market-bombings and worker-bombings in Shi'ite areas + more Karbala-bombings, last provocation-straw being the destruction of the al-Askari mosque in Feb. 2006 with obvious local Sunni complicity? That was when the Shi'ite militias really started fighting-n'-killing back.

  2. While it's no surprise that a Christian militia wants to go after Muslims, the AP news report posted at Yahoo claims that the Hutaree's were busted for conspiring to off police, luring them into traps and then using explosives at the subsequent funeral(s). A curious thing in the article is that the group was discussing "numerous scenarios," which makes one wonder just how far along they really were. That' not to minimize their dangerousness, but makes one wonder about whether the FBI raided on the basis of speech or actual planning. That's a big difference.

  3. "Alleged Christian Terrorists" you mean to write: Christian militia group based in Michigan alleged to be terroristsNYTimes …indicted on sedition and weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to murder law enforcement officers in hopes of setting off an anti-government uprising. "This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society, Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge in Detroit, said in a statement. And what is interesting here, as professor Cole points out, is that the phrase, "found throughout our society" does not mean "found all over the world." Though I would find your phrase, Juan, "Apparently only organized Muslim radicals can now be called terrorists," to be a bit petulant ~ I do agree that the words "terrorist," "surge," and "insurgent" etc., have become so muddied as to be near meaningless in any academic sense.

  4. Sad to see you ignore the good that Sadr's people have done. When USA first occupied Iraq there was total lawlessness almost everywhere, EXCEPT Sadr City, which was calm, and social services were maintained. It was USA that attempted to destroy Sadr by framing him for murder of a USA stooge, which murder occurred AFTER Sadr had left the mosque. It was USA that banned Sadr's newspaper.
    USA's real problem with Sadr is that he is a courageous nationalist who refused to bow down to "shock & awe".

  5. Jesus was a charter member of the NRA. Just ask Moses.

    But seriously, your blog a few days ago spoke of the dangers of [insert German name for scapegoating here]. This be an example of said danger.

  6. Yep, Richard Clark was right when he said bad guys aren’t puppies they don’t follow you home. There's no need for them to when we have are own home grown here. They are kept enraged by the likes of newt g and all those wonderful people in the so called news services of fox/cnn/and others.

    jo6pac

  7. I overheard a conversation about the danger of "rag-heads" outside my apartment today, so I've been thinking about ignorance. That's why I really liked Cole's point about Glenn Beck's flawed explanations for the suffering of American workers, explanations that can incite violence against innocent people. Intellectuals such as Cole must continue to debunk mainstream media nonsense, such as Beck.

  8. I get the Southern Poverty Law Center magazine. It boggles my mind how many of these gun worshiping, anarchistic, racist, bigoted, and scary bands there are in the US. And they are spread all over.

    I often wonder if they get cabin fever because they can't go out and blast away some poor non-conforming specimen. God bless the FBI for keeping a watch.

  9. As far as I’m concerned, any militia group that tries to hijack our secular democracy and turn it into a fascist theocracy is declaring war on our country. Hutaree and other similar sorts of Christian militia groups are trying to do just that. And I must say that Chris Hedges has zeroed in on what is causing gun-toting, Bible-thumping hate to sweep across America:

    link to truthdig.com

  10. "The US press is saying the Hutaree people are a Christian "militia" but is avoiding calling them 'alleged Christian terrorists." Apparently only organized Muslim radicals can now be called terrorists."

    I don't pretend to be an expert, and I agree with Juan I dislike the blanket term terrorist in general. But I recognize the implications if the media did use the term for a group like this within the u.s. it could spark another scare and effects on policy could be enormous. Just think about the opening of a new front in the "War on Terror". This is all hypothetical of course. I'll say no more on this frightful topic.

  11. Parvati Roma, Muqtada was strongly against the "resistance" in 2003; especially when it hit Shiite targets in 2003.

    In fact many resistance statements, including by Zarkawi listed Muqtada as one of their targets to attack in early 2004.

    Muqtada railed at the mass killing of Iraqis in 2003 and early 2004. He and his followers argued that since the vast majority of the people the resistance killed were Iraqis, this proved that America was backing the resistance against the Iraqi people. [If you remember, not many American soldiers were killed in February, 2004, compared to many Iraqi security forces and many Iraqi civilians.]

    This was the crux of the Sadrist anger at America in March, 2003. Bremmer threatened to shut down Muqtada's media outlets unless they stopped stating that America was behind the resistance, and responsible for resistance attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi security forces. When Muqtada refused, his followers were arrested around March 30, 2004. Chalabi, Muqtada's close ally, was also targeted around the same time by Bremmer.

    Parvati Roma, according to Muqtada, the Fallujan resistance were a bunch of CIA agents organized by America to mass murder Iraqis.

    Many Muqtada supporters including Chalabi angrily railed at the Fallujan terrorists (or US backed Fallujan terrorists) in March, 2004.

    Parvati Roma, do you remember how careful Muqtada was to appear against the Fallujan resistance in November 2004? This is because most of Muqtada's base hated the Fallujan resistance.

    Sadrists neither formally endorsed or formally opposed the Iraqi Army and Marine assault on Falluja in November, 2004. On the other They continued to assert that America was backing the resistance and was behind the attacks on the Iraqi Army, Iraqi police, and Iraqi civilians.

    Parvati Roma, in public at least, Muqtada railed against attacks against the Iraqi government, Iraqi Army and Iraqi police by the resistance except for a few limited exceptions (April, 2004, August, 2004, and March/April, 2008.)

    When Muqtada seemed complicit in attacks against the popular Iraqi Army in March/April 2008; it politically devastated him.

  12. If anybody is trying to remember the last time Lenawee County (Adrian MI) was in the news (2006)… the Lenawee county jail building was thought to be the model for Camp 6 Guantanamo.

    link to independent.co.uk

  13. @Anand, re Muqtada al-Sadr's attitude towards the assaults on Falluja, and Iraqi Sunnis in general:


    Nov. 2004
    Fallujah assault not justified: Sadr
    ….
    A spokesman for radical Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has condemned the US-led assault on the city of Fallujah, appealing to Iraqi soldiers to abandon the Americans in the fight for the rebel bastion.

    "Let us condemn the invasion of Fallujah and ask our sons in the national guard and police force not to become instruments of the occupation forces," Sheikh Abdel Hadi Darraji told AFP.
    (…)
    Sadr's spokesman argued that Zarqawi was being used in part to justify the assault, saying "the pretext of the presence (of Zarqawi's terrorist network) does not justify an attack against an entire population".

    Last month, Sadr told Sunni leaders in Fallujah that he was prepared to help, whether they chose to fight or opted for dialogue to end their stand-off with the US-installed, interim government and US forces.

    ………

    Even in the thick of the civil-war phase back in 2006/2007 the Sadrists still kept many bridges open with the Iraqi Sunnis – their objections were never to Sunnis as such let alone to Sunnis who blew up US hummers, but only to hardline Baathists with a bloody record of misdeeds against their own families/sect and to Zarqawi-type sectarianist fanatics – as this Jan 2007 post by Juan Cole makes clear:
    …….
    It is an abiding paradox of contemporary Iraq that the Mahdi Army and the Sunni Arab guerrillas are slaughtering each other daily, but that young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (the leader of the Mahdi Army) has a better political relationship with Sunni Arab MPs and leaders than any other Shiite.

    During the first siege of Fallujah in late March and April of 2004, Muqtada's Sadrists sent aid convoys to the besieged Sunnis there. (…)

    From his side, Muqtada makes a distinction between "Sunnis" on the one hand, and "Saddamis" and "Nawasib" on the other. (Nawasib are those Sunnis who have a violent hatred for the Shiites and the family of the Prophet, and nowadays in Iraq "al-Qaeda" would be such a group in Muqtada's eyes.)

    So many Sunni fundamentalist MPs and officials of the Iraqi Accord Front (some of them rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood) are acceptable to Muqtada. He would argue that the Mahdi Army is not killing Sunnis, only Saddamis and Nawasib.

  14. Citizen militia were active in Lenawee County in the 1990s, also (Clinton era). They have great difficulty with a Democrat leading the nation.

  15. Seriously?!? there is NO comparison….i spent 2 years in iraq fighting al sadr and his militia the reason he gained any following is because his father was a national hero! he at least had enough class to fight us straight up and NOT plan to bomb funerals i gained a great deal of respect for him and his fighters. Very wise politician to stay alive along as he has we could have offed him in najaf when we had the Imam Ali shrine surrounded in 2004-2005

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