The Revelation

DEFINING TERRORISM

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DEFINING TERRORISM

Cole Morse, staff writer

     Since racism and prejudice continue to fester in the hearts of Americans, the United States, a land built off of the importance of equality, may fall to the grips of hatred. The effects of terrorism on America have been extremely detrimental to the increasingly progressive and accepting nature of society. The rise of terrorism has been largely blamed on the Muslim population after the atrocity of 9/11 and has led to xenophobic tendencies in many Americans.

     According to the official FBI website, there are two forms of terrorism: international and domestic terrorism. International terrorism is committed by “individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations” whereas domestic terrorism is enacted by “individuals and/or groups…that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

     Many people do not acknowledge or are not aware that domestic terrorism is currently a far more concerning issue than international terrorism. The inability to acknowledge domestic terrorism has led to the labeling of true terrorists as “challenged” people, a description which is quite obvious, but too lenient in relation to the brutality of the terrorist’s action.

     According to CNN, in 2015 a young white man by the name of Dylann Roof shot and horrifically murdered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina. Roof claimed his objective was to instigate a “race war.” If the same crime had been committed by a Muslim person, the sentencing and treatment of Roof would have been far different. Since he was a young white man, Roof was only charged for hate crimes and given the death sentence instead of also being charged for acts of terrorism.

     “If this attack on the church in Charleston had been conducted by a Muslim man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar,’ what is already a big news story would have become even bigger, as it would appear to fit so well into the political and media narrative that Muslim militants are the major terrorist problem in the United States,” CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said in a CNN article by Doug Criss.

     In said article by Criss, the police claim that Conditt did not admit to any “hate” or “terrorism” related influences and that he was simply a young boy in pain; however, if Conditt did not wish to inflict pain, hatred, and terror upon the world then he would not have attempted the bombings. Martha Crenshaw, Professor of Political Science at Stanford, claims that those who execute acts of terrorism thoroughly plan their infliction of violence, an argument which directly counterpoints the statements made by the police in regards to Conditt. Although stating that all white terrorists who are not labeled as such are protected by racists is an extreme exaggeration, one cannot deny the role racism plays in defining terrorism.

     Junior Sameer Khan, a Muslim himself, believes that the prejudiced misconception regarding Muslims is unacceptable and ignorant.

     “It is not fair to brand a certain religion or race after certain instances, especially in regards to the extreme circumstances of terrorism,” Khan said. “It’s exceptionally unfair because you see that a lot of the current terrorists are white people.”

     The reality of the situation is that many Americans have been misled by the media and even xenophobic political leaders to believe that foreign terrorism is far more prevalent than the terrorism being inflicted by American citizens on one another.

     “When we look at a terrorist’s acts and who commits them, if that person is of a minority groups we tend to lump the entire minority group by that one event,” History teacher Linda Rodriguez said.

     Such an event has occurred in regards to Muslims in America. According to The Guardian, there have been eight international terrorist attacks since 9/11 linked to the “war on terrorism.” In contrast, USA Today has recorded 358 mass killings from 2006 to 2017 alone. Said murder sprees which have claimed the lives of 1,883 people. The great majority of said killings were committed by Americans. The newspaper also found that most mass killings, a massive 77 percent, utilize guns. One of the reasons people may refrain from using the label “terrorist” on fellow Americans is the fact that American terrorism usually does not utilize bombs, but the readily available stream of guns. According to The New York Times, from June of 2016 to Nov. of 2017, in only 511 days, there were 555 mass shootings. Although discrepancies have arisen over the matter of how many exact shootings have occured, as The New York Times noted a far higher rate that USA Today, one factor that may not be disputed is that the ‘war on terrorism’ has quickly evolved into a war with ourselves.

     According to the freelance journalist David Neiwert, “at the end of the day, it’s not only on the government to acknowledge the reality of the growing threat of far-right extremism, it’s on everyone from members of the media to average Americans.”

     Since anyone can be a terrorist despite, race or religion, America needs to become more concerned with those who are executing more killings: Americans.

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