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.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail