The Oct. 27, 2016 New York Times article, “Refugees Felt at Home Until White Militia Came” is a subtle whitewash of American anti-Muslim terrorism. Although 3 men were charged with domestic terrorism, the Times chose to characterize the plotters as “members of a White Militia”, the Crusaders of Kansas, and does not call them terrorists, or even “accused terrorists”.
When the article refers to terrorism it is linked to Somalis, or the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. This reinforces the association of ‘terrorism’ with Muslims and the immigrant community. It is not fair to the Somalis and other residents of Garden City, Kansas. They are suffering from a terrorist attack that the media refuses to acknowledge and this will make the healing more difficult.
We have a long history of hiding the truth about domestic terrorism. We avoid teaching our children about the genocide of Native Americans. We redefine anti-black violence as school segregation, drinking fountain privileges, and sitting rights on buses. And now we avoid clear talk about Right Wing Christian terrorism.
Until we face our weaknesses we will never become strong.
@Trump We believe in absolute obedience to Trump. We have the right to oppress those who disagree. We live in fear and know we are powerless. We are victims and Trump is our rescuer.
Our black and white worldview tells us that people are divided into two classes: the weak and the strong. Most of our problems will be solved when we get rid of the immoral, crooked and feeble-minded people. Aggression against the weak is necessary.
We don't want to look at our own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear. We would rather turn these into anger against Mexicans, Muslims, 'the gays', immigrants... Actually, anyone who is not with us is a valid target of our rage.
Trump & Palin tell us, over and over, that we are right to think of ourselves as victims.
(The reason this simple formulation is so dangerous in politics is that it fuels the fear-mongering we’ve seen so much of from Republicans lately, and it sets the stage for the authoritarianism (or even fascism) of the rescuer. [LeTourneau])
Reality is what Trump says it is, and we will blindly follow him.
A 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report warned that a depressed economy and the election of Barak Obama were factors in the sudden rise of radical right-wing groups and an increase in their recruitment efforts. It noted that ex-military men were a notable factor. It warned of an increase in violence from the radical Right, and this proved to be accurate.
The Republican Right tried to hide the report fearing a voter backlash. Republican House Speaker John Boehner went so far in misreading the report that he said it cast [all] veterans as "potential terrorists." In response to the political pressure the DHS soon reduced the staff working on the right-wing terror angle, the associated training, and publications also.
This political pressure served not only to hide a real threat, but gave more power to the one-sided fear mongering of people like Brooklyn's Representative Peter King and Michele Bachman who seek to paint all of Islam as a terrorist gang and all Muslims as terrorists. As a result, the scrutiny of Muslims was increased despite their considerably lesser role in domestic terrorism. From
1990 to 2010 there were 145 murderous attacks from America's Right Wing extremists and only
25 from Muslim extremists.
The skewed focus extends beyond the DHS. Since coming under Republican
control in 2010, the House Homeland Security Committee has held five
hearings on Muslim radicalisation, and none on right-wing threats.
The New York City police department created a spy-on-Muslims section with a single focus on Muslim terrorism. Its secret Demographics Unit spent $135 million dollars on cars, agents, devices, database work, etc. For 6 years these secret police spied on Muslims; in Mosques, colleges, social events, stores, coffee shops, and wherever else they could be found.
The result: zero arrests, zero plots uncovered, zero leads pursued. The FBI has characterized the effort as harmful and a waste of money. The Muslim American threat to American lives was exaggerated. In fact while the Right extremist incidents increased, the plots and indictments of radicalised Muslim Americans fell sharply this past year. From 2008 to 2011 the number of anti-government "Patriot" groups grew from 131 to 1,274. The Marine Corps Command recognises the ex-military linkage and expresses "significan concern and alarm" in its training material.
Anecdotal evidence we uncovered (from an admittedly small sample) reveals a harmful consequence of this spying. Muslims in and around New York City have lost faith in the local police and feel that they are not partners in keeping the Muslim community safe, but rather they have become persecutors who are not to be trusted nor cooperated with. This is a dangerous isolation of a community and the city fabric will suffer from it.
Let's admit that the Radical Right is a much greater danger than the American Muslim population. Let's admit that not all ex-military personnel are a danger, but they do account for a significant number of domestic terrorist acts.
And let's stop persecuting all American Muslims because of irrational fears nurtured by hate mongering publicity seekers.
The end of another day of fasting. Unwinding into the night with an evening of ritual: Mahgrib, Iftar, talk, and Isha. Even later came TaraweeH, but that is another story. Several families, really parts of families, gathered together in a small apartment in Brooklyn.
The meal was lavish. Each of the many dishes delicious, and plates overflowed, as did the talk. Each dish lifted its own plumes of spice-laden air, thick with memories of Ramadans past, places past, lives past.
"This feels like home," said a young woman, here alone, her family still in Baghdad. She lifted her face and said softly, "The gathering; the crowded table; the many dishes; the talk, arguing, children playing and teasing...like home."
Lina, the hostess, reached a hand to touch a hand and said, "Please. We are your family now. We are all one family here."
The table overflows and there aren't enough chairs so some are sitting on hassocks and the youngest, Luma, is on the sofa. She doesn't mind because from there she can watch an ElectricFactory show ("Please Arwa, use the earpiece.") while she eats, eavesdrops, and learns English at the same time.
After dinner the teenagers head for the bedroom, the women for the kitchen, and the men chat of everyday things: the long commutes to work, the business of making a living, studying...then AHmed told of his recently failed venture and how he had to sell the grocery store, and how that gave him the money to start another business and how this new work was so fulfilling.
"This work is the work I did in Baghdad. Air condition. Big." His hands draw large machines in the air and he continues, " Large for companies, for stores. The same. I love it. I can do it here. The store I sold in Manhattan, they are now a customer. In Baghdad we had three stores of... appliances. Air condition, refrigerator..."
He pauses here, eyes moving to the floor, hands drooping in his lap.
"Then one day my man of business...er...my partner of the business assassinated. They come into the store, some men, and they just shoot him. No. No rob. Just to kill him. He has wife and three daughters. "
He pauses again, staring into space. His breath seems to stop and his face has loses all emotion, and he continues, flatly, "Then, after this, they kill my brother-in -law. He has two children. Two sons. No reason. Too much."
Murmurs of recognition and words of condolence are offered, and accepted. A few more stories come forth of life in Baghdad in 2005, 2006 (when most of those here at the table left Iraq). The usual coda of questions without answers follows ("Who does these things? Who are these people?" Why?) and then, with a joke or two, there is first an attempt and then success at moving the mood. We return to the present and become concious of the laughter from the kitchen. Luma has not budged from the sofa. She gives no indication of having heard any of the conversation around her but notices immediately when the older women enter the room.
The women return with kaHwah and kleicha and qataiyef. They bring withthem a real joy and appreciation for what we have. The evening returns to a bright night with friends, with family, and with Ramadan's spirit of calm reverence for all that is given.