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Friday, March 22, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Webster’s Dictionary defines terrorism as the “calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature.” To hear neocons, Republicans, the Christian right and the so-called alt-right tell it, such violence is exercised primarily by Muslims and people of color. But history does not bear that out in the least, especially in the United States. For all the damage they’ve inflicted, Jihadist organizations such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban do not have the market cornered on violent extremism. While it’s true that the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history—al-Qaeda’s assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11—was carried out by far-right Islamists, most of the country’s recent domestic terrorist activity has come from a combination of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, extreme Christianists and far-right militia groups.

From the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people, to Christianist Jim David Adkisson’s rampage at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian University Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, on July 27, 2008, far-right white terrorism has posed the most persistent domestic terrorist threat in the U.S. And under President Donald Trump, white extremists have grown emboldened, as evidenced by the murder of activist Heather D. Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

We may never know the motivations or political ideology of the Las Vegas shooter, but one thing is for certain: that is one mass killing that Fox News and Ann Coulter won’t be able to blame on people of color. Here are 10 disturbing examples of terrorism carried out by white supremacists, white nationalists or radical Christianists in recent years.

1. Emanuel AME Church massacre, June 17, 2015.

The Charleston, South Carolina-based Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, aka Mother Emanuel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington and many others spoke from the pulpit, has a long history of fighting for civil rights. It was all the more tragic that white supremacist Dylann Roof targeted the iconic church for a racially motivated act of domestic terrorism. Roof shot and killed nine people during a prayer service simply because they were black, including the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator. The killer, charged with multiple counts of murder, said he was hoping to launch a race war.

2. The shootings of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, February 22, 2017.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, two Indian immigrants legally working as engineers in the U.S., were having a drink at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on February 22, when according to Madasani, they were confronted by an angry, middle-aged white man demanding to know if they were in the U.S. legally. “Get out of my country,” he threatened them.

About 30 minutes later, witnesses said, the man returned with a gun and shot them both. Kuchibhotla was killed, while Madasani survived, and a third man, Ian Grillot, was wounded when he tried to intervene. Adam Purinton, the alleged shooter, was charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder before being indicted on federal hate crime charges.

3. The killing of Heather D. Heyer, August 12, 2017.

Fifty-three years after Ku Klux Klan members murdered white civil rights workers Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi, along with their African-African ally James Chaney, anti-racist activist Heather D. Heyer was killed by vehicular assault on Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Unite the Right rally drew hundreds of racists, including KKK members, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, skinheads, far-right militia members and Christianists, and the 32-year-old Heyer was among the hundreds of counter-protesters. Justin Moore, a KKK grand dragon, praised the killing, saying he was “glad that girl died,” not unlike the Klansmen and neo-Nazis who celebrated the terrorist murders of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner in 1964.

4. Minnesota Islamic Center bombing, August 5, 2017.

A report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. increased by 584 percent between 2014 and 2016. During the first half of 2017, CAIR reported 134 individual anti-Muslim hate crimes. On Aug. 5, 2017, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, was bombed while attendees were gathering for morning prayers. Had ISIS bombed a Christian church, it would have received round-the-clock coverage from Fox News and AM talk radio. But the terrorist attack on the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center was barely mentioned in the right-wing media. (Thankfully, there were no injuries.)

5. The stabbing of Timothy Caughman, March 20, 2017.

White supremacist and confessed killer James Harris Jackson did not know Timothy Caughman, the 66-year-old African American he fatally stabbed in midtown Manhattan on March 20, 2017. Jackson confessed that he traveled from Baltimore to New York City that day “for the purpose of killing black men,” and Caughman had the misfortune of being chosen at random—a killing Jackson said “was practice” for a larger terrorist attack he planned to carry out against black men in Times Square. Jackson, who was charged with first- and second-degree murder, said his motive was to discourage black men from dating white women.

6. The Portland commuter train stabbings, May 26, 2017.

On May 26, Ricky John Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher were passengers on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon when they witnessed a white man threatening and verbally abusing two women—one of whom was wearing a hijab—and screaming Islamophobic insults at them. When the passengers intervened, witnesses said, the man attacked them with a knife. Best and Meche died, while Fletcher was treated for serious injuries. Jeremy Joseph Christian, who was charged with murder, had a history of expressing white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic views.

7. The shooting of Deep Rai, March 3, 2017.

The climate of fear and Islamophobia that has plagued the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks has imperiled not only Muslims, but also Sikhs and Hindus who have been mistakenly targeted in hate crimes. Four days after 9/11, Frank Silva Roque shot Balbir Singh Sodhi (a Sikh immigrant from India who owned a gas station in Mesa, Arizona) five times, killing him; Roque, convicted of first-degree murder, was sentenced to life in prison.

More recently, Deep Rai, a 39-year-old Sikh and Indian immigrant, was attacked by a gunman outside his home in Kent, Washington, on March 3, 2017. According to Rai, the assailant, described as a tall, stocky white man, pushed him to the ground and said, “Go back to your own country” before shooting him in the arm (Rai’s wounds were not fatal). After the attack, a Sikh activist in Seattle reported that there has been a “distinct escalation” of “hate incidents” against Seattle-area Sikhs in 2017.

8. Arson attacks on mosques, January 14 and 27, 2017.

According to a study by professor Brian Levin for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, hate crimes have increased nationwide by about 5 percent from 2015 to 2016. In August, the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported that attacks on mosques in the U.S. have been frighteningly common in 2017. CNN’s analysis of CAIR data found 63 examples of mosques being targeted for threats, arson or vandalism between January and July of this year—an average of nine incidents per month and at least two per week.

On January 14, the Islamic Center of Eastside in Bellevue, Washington, a Seattle suburb, was burned to the ground. The Houston office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives determined a separate fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center on January 27 was a product of arson. Although there were no injuries in either incident, both attacks demonstrate that CAIR has every reason to be concerned about the safety of Muslims in the U.S.

Alex Henderson’s work has appeared in the L.A. Weekly, Billboard, Spin, Creem, the Pasadena Weekly and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.

 

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6 responses to “The Trump Effect? 9 Eruptions Of White Nationalist Terror”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Gun violence and hate crimes are not a new phenomena. It is part of our history. What is new are the overt expressions of hate, and the frequency of racial attacks carried out since Trump announced his candidacy and, especially, since his inauguration. His action, or lack thereof, and bizarre statements that in effect condoned heinous crimes and went as far as referring to white supremacists and neo-Nazis as very fine people, emboldened domestic terrorists consumed by hatred and determined to harm anyone who does not look or sound like they do. The fact that many Sikhs and Hindus are being confused with Muslims is not surprising. It demonstrates the level of ignorance that prevails among the far right movement.

    • Unkabob says:

      I don’t think it matters, these groups are intent on eliminating anyone not them and as it progresses expect them to eventually target you and me. That’s their mindset because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with race, it has to do with hatred and killing just as it had to do with killing during the dark ages and the mongol period.. We humans can be wonderful species while at the same time, a most dastardly, soulless group of masochists..

  2. stsintl says:

    This is rise of WCSA [White Christian State of America]. Just like ISIS claim to Islam and rise of Arab race is in itself an attack on them, claim of WCSA to Christianinty and White race is in itself an attack on both. Fear and violence has been in the DNA of American culture. Started with fear of the Natives [American Indians], then of the blacks, Italians, Polish, Spanish, and now under the leadership of Rex Tillerson’s “Moron”, it is the fear of the Muslims and Islam. The Oval Office resident even tweets to blame the rise of crime in the UK to Islamic terror.
    I’m sure, there will be no Trump Tower in the HELL, where he would be burning forever for attacking Almighty God, to protect him. There will be no John Kelly to defend him in the Highest Court of Justice.

  3. 788eddie says:

    This might be a good time to remind everyone that Caucasian (i.e.”white) is a recessive gene.

    That’s right; whenever anyone who is white marries (or not) someone of another race, and they decide to have children, the off-spring are usually something other than “white.”

    The result is that, as we move forward, whites will be less and less of the general population.

    My suggestion to the white supremacists, kkk, neo-nazies and others of their ilk: make friends, so you won’t get payback when you’re on the short-end somewhere down the road.

  4. First of all, we all need to avoid playing the pointless game of proper nomenclature, a favorite past-time of us in the West—particularly now in America. Language evolves, and should be allowed to accommodate nuances—like whether to call racist acts in the country as what they are intended to be, namely terrorism.

    The acts of racists are intended to sow seeds of terror by violence and intimidation, even though no specified political agenda is made. However, the fact is that hidden in the agenda of a certain political Party is the inner godless urge to intimidate, whether overtly or in subtle ways by way of carefully crafted policies and laws.

    Muslims who commit violent acts are immediately called terrorists although there is NO political agenda. US Government campaigns against Native Americans wasn’t political in theory, but had the effect of terrorizing and intimidating the indigenous people into submitting to expansionist policies, and therefore should be considered and called terrorism.

    But, the bottom line is that no one has the right to intimidate and terrorize any other person or groups—it rounds counter to the Spirit and intent of the Message of Jesus. And therefore, racists don’t merit the right to call themselves Christian. Any acts committed therefore by racists are at the very least anti-Christian acts, and whether we want to consider it etymologically as terrorism or not is a foolish and time-wasting exercise in fruitless semantics.

    Many Americans who like to play this game do so out of a sense of guilt and know deep down inside that the rest of us know what’s going on, yet this same subset of Americans who delight in word-play hope to avoid looking in the mirror at themselves for the hypocrites they are, by resorting to distractions of what to call intimidation motivated by racist sentiments.

    • dbtheonly says:

      Aaron,

      Would suggest you limit definitions of “terrorism”, “racism”, “sexism”, etc. such words are sometimes used to separate us. When overused they lose their bite. If everything is “terrorism” is anything terrorism? This came home to me about a dozen years ago. Fox was labeling any violence in Iraq, “terrorism”. The word became a meaningless buzz word. Lacking any demand for urgency.

      The Tea Party of the Left can play the same game. Buzz wording about instead of looking for practical solutions to real problems.

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