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The Milton Measure

Islamophobia Poses Real Threat

by on Friday, April 14th, 2017

How many times have you heard someone say, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims”? Even though, according to FBI statistics, 94% of terrorist attacks in the United States are committed by non-Muslims, this misconception continues to prevail and skews the thinking required to protect national safety.

Instances of terrorism committed by Muslims frequently lead the news and are sensationalized. Yet, since 9/11, white nationalist terrorists have killed more people in terrorist attacks than any other group, including Muslims. In January, a white supremacist killed six people in a Quebec City mosque. While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an “act of terror,” the suspect was not charged with terrorism. Definitions of domestic terror are obscure and the legalities complex, but the categorization of these attacks as lone-wolf attack or mere acts of violence have harmful consequences on public perception.

Defending against terrorism cannot be accomplished by just banning the entry of immigrants from certain countries. Those actions display a misunderstanding of the reality of terrorism and its main perpetrators in the United States. The Trump administration even tried to use the then developing situation in Canada (the Quebec City mosque attack) to justify its ban when Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that it is “why the president is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security”; his words demonstrate how, with the lack of information available at the time, the Trump administration immediately jumped to the conclusion that Islamic terror served as the motivation of the attack while in reality it was the opposite–islamophobia.

While Trump attempted twice to instate a travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries, he ignored other threats of violent extremism. In a 2015 New York Times article, 74% of 382 sheriff’s and police departments listed right-wing or anti government violence as one of the three biggest violent extremist threats compared to 38% who listed jihadists. Yet, Trump removed white supremacist groups from the terror watch list. Despite the fact that those groups are responsible for violent crimes throughout the U.S., Trump seems to not even consider them a threat to the nation’s security – an issue with which he claims to be deeply concerned about. Despite the more deadly threat of homegrown terrorism, Trump seems to focus more on keeping “bad people” from entering the U.S. than on weeding out attackers already in the country.

When decisions regarding national safety are based on xenophobia, islamophobia, and most of all, a willful ignorance of facts, the threat to all Americans increases. Many experts have stated that Trump’s attempted travel bans only legitimize ISIS’ claim that there is a war against Islam and aids them in recruiting people. Homegrown terrorist acts, especially those committed by white people, need to be prevented as vigilantly as those acts committed by foreigners and jihadis.

This misconception of foreigners and jihadists being the deadliest to the United States needs to be combatted. This gross misunderstanding offers an excuse to reject desperate refugees and encourages hate crimes against Muslims as long as it lives on. Most dangerous of all, because of this mindset, other potentially more lethal threats to national safety and security are ignored while energy and resources pour into defending against the overblown threat of jihadists and keeping them out of the country.

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Posted by on Apr 14 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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