Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Contradictory and Disgusting Politics of Terrorism

I pray for the people of Boston. May God bless and comfort the families and the victims of this horrible tragedy. I pray that law enforcement captures the cowards who committed this heinous and cowardly act of terrorism. Such senseless violence will not accomplish anything. It will only breed more violence and hatred.

We cannot let this tragedy consume us with hatred. If we do, the terrorists win. Unfortunately, some people have surrendered to hate. In response to the Boston bombing, Fox News Contributor Erik Rush tweeted that all Muslims should be killed. Here are his disgusting tweets.

We are constantly bombarded with news reports equating Muslims with terrorism. We see images of menacing Muslims wearing ski masks, shooting guns and blowing up innocent people.  We see images of men, women and children killed in New York, Arlington, London, Iraq, Israel and other places by Muslim terrorists. Rarely do we see positive images of Muslims on the news.   When we hear the word "terrorism", we immediately think of Muslims. A prime example of this problem is CNN's false report of a "dark skinned male" being arrested for the Boston bombing.

When one has the power to define, one possesses the ability to shape reality.  When we think about terrorism, we do not immediately think about Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynsky, Eric Robert Rudolph or other white men.   When white people commit crimes, they are punished as individuals. They are not stereotyped, profiled and punished as a collective like Muslims, Arabs, African Americans and Latinos are. In America, that is one of privileges of being white. 

In addition to contradictory standards for racial profiling, we also use a contradictory definition terrorism.  We have been taught to accept and tolerate some forms of violence based on the source of the violence.  The U.S. uses drones to kill innocent civilians around the world.  Israeli airplanes launch missiles into residential areas and bulldoze houses in the occupied territories. Those violent acts are not called terrorism.  They are called collateral damage. The word "terrorism" is reserved Muslims and Arabs.

That negative propaganda causes the American people to consciously and subconsciously hate and fear all Muslims. That hatred explains why most Americans do not care about U.S. drones killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  That hatred explains why most people do not care about Muslims being held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay without being charged or tried. Whenever there is a terrorist attack, we automatically assume that Muslims are responsible. Sadly, we begin to view and treat all Muslims as terrorists.

For example, no one knows who committed the Boston terror attack.  Yet, people assume that Muslim terrorists are responsible.  In response to the attack, people harassed and beat a man in the Bronx. The New York Post reports that:

A Bangladeshi man out for dinner at a Bronx restaurant was viciously beaten hours after the Boston Marathon bombing by thugs who called him “a f--king Arab” before pummeling him to the ground, sources said.

Abdullah Faruque, 30 — a native of the South Asian country who grew up in The Bronx — was at Applebee’s on Exterior Avenue in Melrose at about 11:30 p.m. Monday when he went outside for a smoke.

Three or four Hispanic males he’d noticed drinking at the bar followed him and angrily got in his face, he recalled yesterday.

“One of the guys asked if I was Arab. I just shook my head, said like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ I didn’t even know that [the] Boston [bombing] happened because I had a busy day,” Faruque said.

He turned to head back inside as one of the men snarled, “Yeah, he’s a f--king Arab,” and the gang pounced, punching him on the head and body, dislocating his left shoulder and leaving him semiconscious.

“Before I could grab the door, they started swinging at me,” the network engineer said of the 90-second beatdown. “I’ve been jumped before. If you can’t win, you back up, you try to protect yourself.”

The victim said he went home and turned on the TV, and only then learned about the bombing and put two and two together.
Erik Rush's hateful tweets encourages that type of violence against innocent, law abiding Muslims. Unfortunately, Mr. Rush is not alone. Anti-Muslim hatred is acceptable in mainstream America. Politicians like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and others regularly make anti-Muslim statements without facing any real opposition.  

So when someone like Erik Rush says kill all Muslims, there is very little public outrage in the media. That is frightening and dangerous. If Mr. Rush said kill all whites, kill Jews, kill all black people, kill all gays, kill all women or kill all disabled people, Congress would hold hearings. Politicians would have universally condemned his statement. His story would have been on every single TV news channel and in every newspaper.  Fox News would have fired him immediately.  People for the American Way is one of the few organizations demanding that Fox News fire Mr. Rush.

As an African American, Erik Rush should be ashamed.  Throughout our history, we have been persecuted and oppressed.  Today, we are still racially profiled, stopped and frisked just because of the pigment of our skin. In light of our history and current day realities as a people, no African American should embrace anti-Muslim hatred. By the way, many of Mr. Rush's fellow African Americans, including myself, are Muslim.

If we accept this kind of hatred, American society may degenerate into a state resembling Nazi Germany. Stand up to hate. Sign the People for the American Way's petition.