Thursday, May 22, 2014

What is a terrorist?

In America the term “terrorist” remains reserved almost exclusively for acts of political violence carried out by Muslims. Despite the far Right’s history of deadly violence, it is jihadist violence that continues to dominate media headlines and the attention of policy makers. The Southern Poverty Law Center calculates there are 939 far right-wing hate groups across the country today, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, border vigilantes and others.

Arun Kundani, adjunct professor at New York University and author of The Muslims are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the War on Terror, writes: “The definition of terrorism is never applied consistently, because to do so would mean the condemnatory power of the term would have to be applied to our violence as much as theirs, thereby defeating the word’s usefulness.”

Violence carried out by far Right groups or individuals, which have racism as a central component of their ideology, is of similar magnitude to that of Jihadist violence. In the years 1990 to 2010, there were 145 acts of political violence committed by the American far Right, resulting in 348 deaths. By comparison, 20 Americans were killed over the same period in acts of political violence carried out by Muslim-American civilians.

Right-wing extremists have carried out a great number of high profile acts of political violence since 9/11, from the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, to the murders at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Attacks that have garnered fewer headlines include the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller, who ran an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. His killer was tied to a number of far right-wing groups, including Sovereign Citizens, a neo-confederate movement who deny the powers of the federal government.  Last month saw shootings at a Jewish Community Center in greater Kansas City. Frazier Glenn Cross, who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather, and one other. After being taken into custody, Cross shouted, “Heil Hitler.”

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report warning of violent right-wing extremism. The report  pointed out that some domestic extremists were interested in recruiting military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

From here 

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

A complementary article that may be of interest