FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When is Terrorism not Defined as Terrorism?

by Salam Al-Marayati

As we await the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation into the July 4 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, we are witnessing a sudden attack on law enforcement’s definition of terrorism.

If the investigators conclude that the shooting incident involved terrorism, let’s all accept it and move on. If they maintain that it was an isolated incident, expect a widening of the debate on the methodology on classification of violent acts. A deeper problem, however, is how violence and subsequent pain has been politicized and exploited.

When Irv Rubin of the Jewish Defense League was charged last fall with attempting to bomb our office, the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and the office of Rep. Darryl Issa, federal authorities avoided the invocation of terrorism. It was a bomb plot and the charges centered on the possession of explosives.

The president did not issue any statement to the nation, as he did for the LAX shooting. In fact, the JDL is still not listed as a terrorist organization. Where were the brave voices speaking out against political correctness? In another landmark case, a federal judge dismissed charges against seven members of the Mujahedeen El Khalq, a pro-Marxist terrorist organization established to overthrow the current Iranian regime.

The group was charged with aiding terrorist groups by soliciting donations at airports. The judge asserted that MEK’s civil rights were violated when they could not defend themselves against the State Department’s assertion that they were a terrorist group in the agency’s listing.

Members of Congress even passed a resolution in solidarity with the MEK after the Clinton administration placed the Marxist group on the terrorist list. Congress was never accused of aiding and abetting terrorists. Should the same standard apply for the three American Muslim charities shut down as a result of the government’s freeze of their assets? Of course, the MEK story did not stir up any debate, because these terrorists are working for the West against a Muslim country.

Selective justice is injustice — it does not help us in the war on terror and continues to project the image that the U.S. is anti-Islam. Other cases involving violence against ethnic groups could have been used as political footballs. An Egyptian store owner was killed within weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it has not been labeled a hate crime or a terrorist attack. Terrorism was never acknowledged when black churches were torched throughout the South. There was also a case involving militants storing arms in an Armenian church here in Los Angeles. Their purpose in smuggling arms was to kill their opponents, the Azeris. If a group of Muslims was caught storing arms to ship to the Kashmiris, for example, I’m sure there would be a national uproar about it as another chapter in the war on terror. American Jews celebrate the fact that their children defer going to college in order to serve in the Israeli army, but American Muslims are chastised as terrorist sympathizers for giving money to the refugees of war-torn countries. The LAX shooting underscores the troubling development of bringing Middle East violence onto our streets.

Whether violence is committed by groups or individuals, our job as leaders in the Muslim and Jewish communities is to diminish, not exacerbate, hatred, rather than jumping on opportunities to score more political points against one another at the expense of human relations.

I can understand the hysteria surrounding the Middle East conflict. Public policy-making is not the place for allowing that hysteria to influence serious decisions.

A violent crime that takes the life of innocent people is bad enough. But to be so adamant about and outraged over the labeling of the crime does not serve anyone’s interest.

To the valiant spokespeople who want to promote the war on terrorism in their selective application of terrorism: Be careful for what you wish, because you might get it, and then you will have to recoil to your corners when the double-edged sword of the terrorism debate swings the other way.

Salam al-Marayati is executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles.

 

February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail