The pipe bomb that exploded in a heavily traveled passenger tunnel under the Port Authority Bus Terminal was several miles away from Queens, but the fallout could be felt in the cancellation of subway service in lines that connect the borough to Manhattan.
The suspected bomber, a 27-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, strapped a home-made device that included Christmas lights to his body and headed for the country’s largest bus terminal with the intent to kill as many people as possible during rush hour. The makeshift bomb misfired at 7:20 a.m., wounding the Brooklyn suspect and sparing many lives in the city’s ongoing battle against home-grown terrorism.
In a Facebook taunt posted, he said: “Trump you failed to protect your nation.”
For Queens the bungled attack disrupted service on the No. 7, E, N, Q, R and W lines, but straphangers were philosophical about the delays and resigned to the fact that terrorist incidents are part of the fabric of everyday life in the city. We also have faith in the NYPD anti-terrorism force to keep us safe.
New Yorkers are resilient and Monday’s incident only reinforced our will to move forward without being tripped up by what if’s.
Nevertheless, we still worry quietly and recognize that Queens, the nation’s most diverse county, has been very lucky. There have been a series of young men and even two women from Flushing, Jamaica, Whitestone, Ozone Park and other parts of Queens charged with plotting terrorist attacks and supporting terrorist groups. The NYPD and FBI have ferreted out these small cells and lone wolves before they could exact a toll on the city.
In all of these Queens cases, the defendants have been young Muslim immigrants, inspired by an apparent hatred of the United States. In movies, TV and the Internet, we promote the American Dream as offering infinite possibilities to the newcomers. It may be that disillusionment with life in the United States today has set some of these suspects on a violent path.
The immediate danger to Queens from the Port Authority bomb is that the Bangladeshi community, which plays a vital role in the commerce and community life of the borough, will be viewed suspiciously as a breeding ground for terrorists and suffer a backlash.
The Bangladeshis have made major contributions to Queens and other parts of the city. We must respect that and realize that they are grappling with radical changes in their own countries that threaten their sense of well-being in America as the White House renews calls to closely monitor immigrants from the Muslim world.