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:
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail