I refer not to the thwarted aspiration of an alienated youth to commit jihad at a Christmas tree lighting, which appears to be yet another case of thoughtcrime co-opted by government entrapment, but to the arson perpetrated at the local Islamic center the prisoner sporadically attended. It was a small gesture, confined to one room and easily contained, but the intent, presumably, was payback for the center's presumed fostering of a jihadi wannabe. What else should we call this but terrorism? "Hate crime" doesn't quite work for me this time; the arsonist most likely targeted the place for "what they do" rather than "who they are." The perpetrator, still at large as I write, most likely wanted to send a message to Muslims, however petty it proves to be. Whether the ultimate intent was reprisal or intimidation, it falls under the category of terrorism, even if no one is hurt.
Check out the comments below the story I linked to for further parallels to other terror cases. No one likes to have "their" people identified with terrorism, so even the implication that the arson was perpetrated by a non-Muslim as an anti-Muslim act has provoked a backlash from readers raising the eternal battle cry of "inside job!" It had to be the Muslims burning their own stuff, these people presume, in order to get sympathy or stir up still more jihadi sentiment. Those people, the Muslims, are capable of anything, after all. It's the same way different classes of people feel about the U.S. government; the Oregonian idiots are "truthers" in miniature. Theirs is a kind of terrorist mentality in its own right, converting every crime into a conspiracy, conforming events to a manichean worldview. Everything is divided into "with us" and "against us." When that situation prevails, the terrorists -- on all sides -- may well have won.