By Guest Writer
I, of course, mean the attacks perpetrated in North America by white nationalists against Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, and women. I mean the real “Bowling Green” massacre where an FBI raid uncovered assault rifles, firearms, body armor and ammunition to be used by a white supremacist against African-Americans and Jews. I mean the Christian pastor in Tennessee whose trial started this week. He planned to travel to upstate New York to burn down mosques. I mean Glendon Scott Crawford, the white supremacist who got 30 years for his plot to use a “radiation dispersal device” to kill Muslims and Barack Obama. I mean the Kansas Crusaders who planned a “bloodbath” to kill Muslims. Not even babies would be spared. I did hear about the incident in Quebec City where a Trump supported walked into a mosque and opened fire. It did not, however, get round the clock coverage or even much Facebook “I stand with Quebec” postings. I, for one, was too busy laughing about the alleged “Bowling Green Massacre” to pay much attention to a real one.
According to Vice News “between 9/11 and June of 2015, white supremacists and right-wing extremists killed nearly twice as many people (48) on American soil as radical Muslims did (26).” But where is the demand to step up enforcement against white supremacists? Oh, I remember – Trump wants to change the Homeland Security program “Countering Violent Extremism” to provide less scrutiny on the white supremacists and more focus on radical Islam.
So who is in the most danger from radical Islam? Muslims in other countries. According to the Washington Post “between 2004 and 2013, about half of all terrorist attacks and 60 percent of fatalities from terrorist attacks took place in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan….” In “2015, three quarters of all deaths from terrorist attacks occurred in five countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.” As much as 95% of the victims of these attacks were Muslim. “The vast majority of terrorist attacks – about 98 percent between 2001 and 2015 – occurred outside the United States and Western Europe.”
Yet our President tells us that the “bogeyman” we must fear is radical Islam and cites attacks against Americans that the media ignored. The White House claimed that “[s]ince ISIS declared its caliphate, there has been a major attack targeting the West executed or inspired by the group more than once every two weeks” and provided the list which included planned or executed attacks between September 2014 and December 2016.
The list does include the most high-profile terrorist attacks in the last two years – Nice, Paris, San Bernardino, and Orlando. It also highlights some that got little attention such as Bangladesh, Australia, and Bosnia. USA Today and ABC News found (here, here, and here) that all of the incidents had been covered in thousands of articles. USA Today had covered 59 of the 78 incidents and ABC News had covered 57. The incidents not covered involved 2 or fewer deaths and the attackers were unidentified. In at least one incident the police had ruled out terrorism and in another incident the Iranian-born attacker had become radicalized once he came to Australia.
According to ABC news, only 8 of the attacks involve people from the countries covered by Trump’s immigration ban and only 3 on the list were perpetrated by refugees or those posing as refugees (United States, France, and Germany). In fact, Americans were responsible for more attacks than those from the 7 banned countries combined.
So what is Trump doing? Fear mongering. Merriam-Webster defines “Fear monger” or “scare monger” as “one inclined to raise or excite alarms especially needlessly.” It makes people wary of anything different from themselves and they seek an autocratic person to make them feel safe. It can jar people from their normal patterns. People will even vote against their own self-interest if they fear something else more. You can read about it here and here. It is how he got elected and how he plans to retain his popularity. While we are busy fearing this bogeyman, he will take health care, education, and money from those with the least voice and give it to his corporate masters.
It is time for Christians to stand up to the politics of fear and hate. It is our responsibility to become informed, demand facts, speak truth to power, protect those who can’t protect themselves, and participate.