Islamophobia Can Be A Useful Term

Islamophobia Can Be A Useful Term

by Sheila Musaji

In my article on the terrible tragedy in Norway, I mentioned a number of journalists and news sources that had jumped to the immediate conclusion that this was probably an act of Jihad, and called this an Islamophobic reaction.

This morning, Aaron Goldstein at the American Spectator (one of those mentioned) responded in an article objecting to being called Islamophobic.

Would Musaji prefer that I had set my sights on ETA or the Tamil Tigers? Of course both organizations engage in terrorism. However, ETA generally confines its activities to Spain and France while the Tamil Tigers have not carried out an attack outside of Sri Lanka. Islamic terrorism, on the other hand, is a global phenomenon no matter how much Musaji wishes to minimize its breadth and scope.

Now for my part, I don’t want to minimize what Breivik has done. After all, 91 people are dead at his hands. As I stated previously, it must be determined if he acted alone or with others. And if he did act with others, it must be known how strong their organization is and if they plan more attacks. But notwithstanding the severity of these attacks we not only cannot deny the global nature of Islamic terrorism but we cannot discount the possibility Islamic terrorists could be still plotting an attack against Norway. Or is it Islamophobic to say that al Qaeda might be planning another attack on Norwegian soil?

Actually, I stand by my description.  As I said in my article, This is the real problem.  No matter how much evidence Islamophobes are presented that this “adage” is false, they are determined to continually repeat the phrase until most people accept a lie as the truth.  The claim that most, or all terrorists are Muslims ignores history.  In fact, most terrorist attacks have been made by individuals who are not Muslims.  The only way this can be denied is to re-define terrorism in such a way that it only includes acts committed by a Muslim, and to call all other attacks something else.    Yes, there are Muslim terrorists, and they are just as frightening as all other terrorists.  These are dangerous people.  What is needed is a serious look at what causes this sort of radicalization and extremism, no matter what the political or religious motivation. 

Mr. Goldstein included this quote from my article in his statement, but did not include the link to our TAM collection of information about the falsity of the claim that most or all terrorists are Muslims.  This link would have taken his readers to an article that clearly shows that even in the U.S., the threat of terrorism comes from many sources.  Since Mr. Goldstein in his original article had stated that As the adage goes, “Not all Muslims are terrorists but nearly all terrorists are Muslim.” and this was the statement that I found to be not only inaccurate, but Islamophobic, it would seem that leaving out this link was important to his maintaining that his statement was accurate.

Mr. Goldstein also stated in his original article that Finally, consider all the acts of terrorism which have occurred since September 11, 2001 - Bali, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Fort Hood not to mention all those suicide bombings in Israel. All of those attacks were carried out by Muslim entities.

Here are just some of the terrorist acts carried out by non-Muslims right here in the U.S. in the time period he mentions:

- Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville TN killing two and injuring seven (a note found in his SUV indicated this was intended as a suicide attack and said the church was apparently targeted because of its support of liberal social policies),
- Alabama Free Militia, five members of anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans.  During raids by federal agents, authorities seized 130 hand grenades, two machine guns and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition
- Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd’s clinic in Albuquerque NM
- The Animal Liberation Front targeted a UCLA professor with a firebomb due to her research on animals,
- Daniel L. Barefoot, Sharon Renee Barefoot, Jonathan A. Avery, Jonathan Maynard, Marvin G. Gautier and Rossie Lynwood Strickland , six members of the Nation’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan pleaded guilty to a variety of weapons and conspiracy charges in connection with an illegal gun trading scheme in the early 2000s to finance a plan to blow up the Johnston County, North Carolina, courthouse.
- Philip Bay planned a massacre of fellow Virginia Beach students
- John Patrick Bedell, an anti-government extremist walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead. 
- Kody Brittingham, a Marine is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material. 
- Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others at Virginia Tech before committing suicide,
- Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman, two white power skinheads plot to target an African American High School and kill 88 blacks and decapitate 14 more (the numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic to white supremacists) and although expecting to fail try to assassinate Barack Obama,
- Demetrius Van Crocker a white supremacist from rural TN attempted to acquire Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives that he planned to use to destroy government buildings,
- James Cummings dirty bomb plot, Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear “dirty bomb” in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
- Matthew L. Derosia rammed a SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota
- John Earl, a Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic and pulled out an ax before being shot at by a security guard,
- Earth Liberation Front members plead guilty to burning The Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington.
- Paul Ross Evans left a package at a women’s health clinic in Austin, Texas containing an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime
-  David Anthony Fuselier and 4 other members of the American Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted in federal court in Louisiana on conspiracy and intimidation charges for burning a cross at the residence of three African-American men in Longville, Louisiana. The five men, who all pleaded guilty, had burned the cross in an attempt to coerce the victims into leaving the community
-  Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator was convicted in 2004 of soliciting the murder of Chicago federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow
-  Jeffrey Harbin who has ties to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) and was formerly a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, arrested for transporting 12 grenade-like improvised explosive devices.
- Kevin William Hardham has been charged with illegal possession of an explosive device and attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction,”  after leaving a backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane, Wash
- Lucas John Helder rigged pipe bombs in private mailboxes to explode when the boxes were opened, He injured 6 people in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. His motivation was to garner media attention so that he could spread a message denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana.
- Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, LA,
- David Hull, Pennsylvania Klan leader was convicted of a variety of illegal weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to use hand grenades to attack abortion clinics; he also allegedly told an informant that he had turned his car into a “suicide bomb on wheels.”
- Hutaree “Christian warrior” militia.  Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.
- An Idaho Mountain Militia Boys plot to kill a judge an a police officer and break a friend out of jail is uncovered,
- Vadim Ignatov shooting attack on Muslim home in Oregon
- Bruce Ivins anthrax attacks kill five across the U.S. with politicians and media officials as the apparent targets,
- JDL plot by Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel to blow up the King Fahd Mosque and the office of Congressman Darrell Issa in CA foiled,
- Jerry and Joe Kane, two “sovereign citizens” gunned down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed. 
- Anarchist Joseph Konopka was found in possession of deadly amounts of sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide
- William Krar is charged for his part in the Tyler poison gas plot, a white supremacist related plan, his weapons cache included a half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers, and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases.
- James J. Lee wearing explosives and carrying a gun took hostages at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland before being killed by police. He was protesting the channel’s “anti environmental” message and programming encouraging birth of humans who he called filthy
- Ryan Daniel Lewis was convicted of arson in a number of incidents on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front in CA
- Thomas Hayward Lewis, a white power skinhead arrested in Mobile Alabama for vandalism and cache of explosives found in his home
- Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged mass murderer who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona at a political gathering
- Donny Love, Sr. has been indicted for his alleged role in bombing of the federal courthouse in downtown San Diego.  Multiple nail-laden pipe bombs exploded at a Federal Courthouse in San Diego causing “considerable damage” to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away. The F.B.I. is investigating links between this attack and an April 25 explosion at the FedEx building also in San Diego
- Keith Luke went on shooting spree in MA to kill as many non whites and Jews as possible,
- Dennis & Daniel Mahon send mail bombs to a diversity office in Scottsdale AZ that injure three,
- Alberto Martinez - two officers were killed at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq by a deliberately placed mine,  Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez was charged, but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, NC,
- David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women’s Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions
- Justin Carl Moose plot to bomb abortion clinics.  The FBI alleges he referred to himself as the “Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden”
- Donny Eugene Mower was arrested on federal charges of attacking a reproductive health clinic in Madera CA, and authorities said he also is responsible for vandalism and menacing signs left at the city’s Islamic center.
- Robert Pickett discharged a number of shots from a weapon in the direction of the White House,
- Richard Andrew Poplawski - Three Pittsburgh police officers are fatally shot and a fourth wounded by Richard Andrew Poplawski, who had posted his racist and anti-Semitic views on white supremacist websites.
- Project 7, two members are arrested plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officials in order to kick off a revolution,
- Charles Carl Roberts IV went into an Amish school in Lancaster County, PA and killed 5 girls before committing suicide, 
- Daniel and Timothy Robinson arrested in possession of materials to make bio-chemical weapons
- Scott Roeder Assassination of Dr. George Tiller
- Daniel James Schertz, N GA White Knights member pleaded guilty to building pipe bombs designed to blow up buses carrying Mexican and Haitian migrant workers from Tennessee to Florida
- Kyle Shaw bombing of a Starbucks in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, police said his motive was to emulate “Project Mayhem” a series of assaults on corporate America
- Joseph Stack’s suicide flight into an IRS building. 
- Roger Stockham was arrested in a car laden with explosives outside one of the nation’s largest mosques in Dearborn MI
- Texas Militia former leaders plot to attack the Federal Building in Houston,
- Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, a pair of “Patriot” movement radicals who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure”—threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
- Jomar Falu Vives a Fort Carson, CO soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of killing 2 people and wounding another in drive-by shootings,
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting by James Wenneker von Brunn,
- Lonnie Vernon and 4 others were arrested on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks, Alaska judge
- Clayton Waagner, claiming to act on the part of the “Virginia Dare Chapter” of the Army Of God mailed hoax letters containing a white powder to 554 clinics,
- white supremacists planned to bomb a series of institutions associated with the black and Jewish communities including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,
- Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend on the Red Lake, MN Chippewa reservation, then went to Red Lake H.S. where he killed 7 people and wounded 5 others before committing suicide,
- Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
- Alexander Robert Youshock’s plot to bomb a school in San Mateo, CA

Unless Mr. Goldstein and all the others who continually make this claim about all acts of terrorism having been committed by Muslims are willing to say that none of these tragic events are really terrorism because they weren’t committed by Muslims, then such statements, are quite simply, lies!

Every time one of these terrorist incidents happens, we are told that it is the exception that proves the rule.  There are certainly a lot of exceptions to that supposed rule.

In regards to a terrorist attack in Europe.  Europol released a report EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report in 2010.  This 56 page report discusses in detail the most recent information about terrorist incidents in Europe.  According to figures listed in this report for 2009, Dan Gardner notesAs for who’s responsible, forget Islamists. The overwhelming majority of the attacks- 237 of 294 - were carried out by separatist groups, such as the Basque ETA. A further 40 terrorists schemes were pinned on leftist and/or anarchist terrorists. Rightists were responsible for four attacks. Single-issue groups were behind two attacks, while responsibility for a further 10 was not clear.    Islamists? They were behind a grand total of one attack. Yes, one. Out of 294 attacks. In a population of half a billion people. To put that in perspective, the same number of attacks was committed by the Comité d’Action Viticole, a French group that wants to stop the importation of foreign wine.

There have been many other such reports released by private and governmental agencies discussing threats from terrorists and violent extremists - Muslim and non-Muslim. 

Our current definition seems to be only violent acts against civilians carried out by Muslims.  Glenn Greenwald made this point exactly as I would have made it, if it was possible for an American Muslim to raise this issue without being considered somehow traiterous:  That Terrorism means nothing more than violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes has been proven repeatedly.  When an airplane was flown into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, it was immediately proclaimed to be Terrorism, until it was revealed that the attacker was a white, non-Muslim, American anti-tax advocate with a series of domestic political grievances.  The U.S. and its allies can, by definition, never commit Terrorism even when it is beyond question that the purpose of their violence is to terrorize civilian populations into submission.  Conversely, Muslims who attack purely military targets —even if the target is an invading army in their own countries—are, by definition, Terrorists.  That is why, as NYU’s Remi Brulin has extensively documented, Terrorism is the most meaningless, and therefore the most manipulated, word in the English language.  Yesterday provided yet another sterling example.  Please see his original article for many links.

CNN reports that The threat of domestic terrorist attacks in the United States similar to last week’s fatal bombing and assault in Norway is significant and growing, analysts said Monday.    The greatest threat of large-scale attacks come from individuals and small groups of extremists who subscribe to radical Islamic or far right-wing ideologies, said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START.


If Mr. Goldstein, or any of those who so quickly jump to the conclusion that any violent act must have been committed by a Muslim would just look at the evidence, they might consider the fact that their response is based on something other than actual factual information.

Whatever you might call that knee-jerk reaction, I call it Islamophobia.  I also call it foolhardy and dangerous to our safety and security.  The Norwegian police had been warned about the rising level of far right extremism, but didn’t take the warnings seriously.  I believe that we have to be concerned about all extremist ideologies, and individuals and groups who believe that violence is a solution to their problems.  And, we need to work together to attempt to identify the root causes of such extremism, and to do whatever we can to prevent the radicalization of more individuals.  Terrorism and extremism are global phenomena, and we can’t minimize their danger, no matter what the source.