In a six hour documentary entitled "God's Warriors" CNN reports on fundamentalism in the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For the segment entitled "God's Muslim Warriors", Christiane Amanpour speaks with Rehan Seyam an American-born Muslim who lives in New Jersey and who is allegedly part of a new generation of Muslim-Americans who are suddenly finding themselves compelled to embrace their faith.
In a fallacious appeal to emotion CNN allows Rehan Seyam to recall an improbable anecdote where she claims to have been intimidated and tormented by a man who sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" using insulting lyrics about terrorism and Osama bin Laden. Instead of avoiding the man or running off like any normal person might do, the alleged victim would courageously confront her oppressor and boldly ask "Do I look like a terrorist to you?" In an effort to support Mrs. Seyam's story, CNN would claim that stories like Mrs. Rehan Seyam's are "not altogether uncommon" and then à la Michael Moore proceeds to cite statistics that would appear to substantiate Mrs. Rehan Seyam's claim. The viewer is needless to say, led to a predicable and self-evident conclusion.
The reality is that Mrs. Rehan Seyam and individuals like her represent a new generation of self-radicalized Muslim-American extremists who have come to reject Western cultural values and who are continuously abusing a nation's tolerance. By Mrs. Rehan's own admission, her commitment to Islam while living in a "materialistic America" is her own "jihad". Lets not kid ourselves, these are hardly the words of a "victim" desirous solely of expressing her religious beliefs without persecution.
Equipped with a degree in applied clinical psychology Mrs. Rehan Seyam has the audacity to claim that "people look at me as if I am threatening and I do not feel like I am threatening looking ... I don't feel I should instill fear in anybody's heart ..." By her own admission, she is making people anxious and uncomfortable, and that is entirely understandable considering the fact that we happen to be at war with Mrs. Rehan Seyam's co-religionists who have already attacked our homeland once before. It's hardly likely that Mrs. Rehan Seyam's is oblivious to the anxiety that she puts many Americans through with her arrogant display of chauvinism. So we are left with a nagging question, why does she do it?
Simply put, it's a political statement and a repudiation of everything that our nation stands for, it is the so-called moderate's way of instinctively showing their fraternal support for their violent co-religionists. Inadvertently, Mrs. Rehan Seyam makes it quite clear that the hijab for her is a symbol of Islamic self-assertion and ethnic chauvinism, it is a reactive revolutionary response and a rejection to assimilation and integration. You might notice that many of these displays of Islamic self-assertion and ethnic chauvinism only became popular after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Prior to September 11th it was a rare occurrence to find someone asking if they can pray before a flight departure or insisting to wear a hijab. You'd be hard pressed to find a cabdriver who would refuse a passenger simply because he was carrying a bottle of wine and you can rest assured that no one would have the audacity to demand that you finance and build "foot basins" for them to wash their feet.
It goes without saying that the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 in fact played an instrumental role in radicalizing many individuals such as Rehan Seyam not only in the United States, but around the world. The challenge the West faces is to determine not only the source of the radicalization, but who has already been radicalized and to what degree. Alluding to her insignificance and professing a dualistic worldview, Rehan Seyam's closing comments might actually shed some light into the source of her radicalization - "I'm not here to live my life and do whatever I want. I'm here to worship God,"... "I don't think that everybody has that, and I think that I'm lucky for it."