The Islamophobes have a number of default positions they revert to when being challenged by facts, or if they feel that they may appear discriminatory when they become aware that their generalising has inadvertently slipped into the realms of bigotry.
Critics of western foreign policy, racial profiling, or the prevalence of anti-Arab and anti-Asian suspicion that is being milked by the right wing, will sooner or later be faced with the 9/11 fallback. Remind them that we’re implementing a collective punishment across a whole faith group unfairly and you might hear the classic, but underused canard, ‘not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims’. When you hear this coming from FOX anchors and Tea Party Republicans one could be forgiven for thinking that they may actually believe this. Conservative America is not generally renowned for its extensive knowledge of international current affairs, or indeed historical affairs. When you hear it emanating from the little Englanders of the British far right, it’s safe to say ignorance plays a significant part.
But much of this ignorance stems from the perception of what terrorism and terrorists look like. It’s vital that the western media reserves the label terrorism for the ‘enemy’, to feed the need for an evil bogeyman, to justify the war on terror and legitimise the ‘Muslim threat’. There is a tangible reluctance to label any domestic or non-Muslim incidents as terrorist related. The likes of Jared Loughner and Timothy Mcvey are considered lone psychopaths, paramilitary activity in Ireland is called ‘sectarian violence’, and civilian deaths in Afghanistan are just collateral damage. Leftist conspiracy talk, I hear you say. But is it?
Thankfully not much research is needed to debunk the notion that Muslims have cornered the market in terror.
If we take the EU from 2006 – 2010, there have been a total of 2139 failed, foiled or successful terrorist attacks. Of these only 7 were attributed to Islamic terrorists, which accounts for 0.32%. In other words, 99.68% of failed, foiled or successful terrorist attacks over the past 5 years have been non-Muslim.
Stateside, the FBI has statistics available which show that between 1980 – 2005 only 6% of terrorist attacks were down to Islamic extremists.
That didn’t take long did it? So how come we don’t hear about the other 90 odd % of the incidents? We probably do, but as they don’t fit the profile of what we’re told terrorism is they pass us by. You also have to remember that Islamic terrorism is big news, so will occupy more column inches, more airtime and generate more hysteria. Still don’t believe it? To give some idea of the reality I want to list some of the more notable incidents that have occurred since 2001. The criteria must match those of Islamic terrorism i.e. non-governmental groups or individuals acting on political, religious or racial motivation. Or more precisely:
Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies.
Right Wing/Christian – USA
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.
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.
Kody Brittingham, a Marine is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
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 axe before being shot at by a security guard.
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
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.
Vadim Ignatov shooting attack on Muslim home in Oregon.
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.
Thomas Hayward Lewis, a white power skinhead arrested in Mobile Alabama for vandalism and cache of explosives found in his home.
January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.
Dennis & Daniel Mahon send mail bombs to a diversity office in Scottsdale AZ that injure three.
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.
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
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.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting by James Wenneker von Brunn.
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.
July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.
April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama’s purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.
May 2009: A “sovereign citizen” named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one “domestic terrorism” too.)
March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
May 2010: A “sovereign citizen” from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.
May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.
May 2010: Two “sovereign citizens” named Jerry and Joe Kane gun 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.
July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named 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.
As well as the above incidents there have been over 40 cases, that I would classify as terrorism, directed at mosques in the USA since 2001. I haven’t included incidents labelled vandalism, graffiti, or assault. These are arson, bombings and shootings.
Far Right – UK
The films show balaclava-clad white British men brandishing guns, knives and clubs, calling on all Muslims to leave the United Kingdom or be killed. One appears to be a soldier who has served in the Gulf.
In one film a man tells Muslims to “go home” or risk being burnt alive. He threatens: “I’ll cut your head off,” and claims to have “comrades” across Britain who have “had enough”.
The Bishop of Oxford was sent a death threat calling for his beheading after backing a plan to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer.
A British neo-Nazi who sought to emulate Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was convicted in July of plotting a racist terror campaign targeting Asians and Muslims with sophisticated homemade explosives.
Prosecutors established that Neil Lewington, 44, an unemployed electrician, operated a bomb factory in his bedroom, where police found nine pounds of weedkiller, pyrotechnic powders and dozens of fuses and igniters. They also seized a copy of the Waffen SS UK Members’ Handbook, filled with schematics of electronic detonators and chemical weapons devices.
David Copeland, who in April 1999 conducted a 13-day bombing campaign against London’s black, Bangladeshi and gay communities.
A network of suspected far-right extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter-terrorism detectives. Thirty-two people have been questioned in a police operation that raises the prospect of a right-wing bombing campaign against mosques.
Several alleged right-wing extremists have been charged with terrorism offences in the UK in the past year. In one case, a jury convicted Martyn Gilleard, 31, a neo-Nazi forklift truck driver, who wanted to “secure a future for white children” and kept explosives at his flat in Goole, East Yorkshire. He built small hand-held bombs, and among the material seized were membership cards for the National Front, the British People’s party and the White Nationalist party. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
As well as these cases there have been in excess of 60 terroristic attacks on mosques in Europe, Canada and Australia since 2001. Again, these are incidents of arson, bombings and shootings. Including vandalism, assaults, grave desecrations would take the figure well into triple digits.
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) 1969 – 2001 – 481 killed (401 civilian)
Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) 1969 – 1997 – 1824 killed (621 civilian)
Irish National Liberation Army 1969 – 2001 – 113 killed (46 civilian)
Orange Volunteer Force (OVF) 1999 – 2011 – 36 threats, bombings, shootings & arsons. One of the group’s first actions was a synchronized attack on 11 Catholic churches. Peeples defended the attack on the grounds that the churches were “bastions of the Antichrist”. In 2001 he was jailed for ten years for possession of the weapons. He was released in 2004 and became the minister of a Pentecostal church on the Shankill Road in Belfast.
Ulster Defence Association (UDA) 1969 – 2001 – 260 killed (197 civilian)
Totals for conflict:
People charged with paramilitary offences: 19,605
Bombings & Attempted bombings: 16,209
Civilian Deaths: 1,857
2011 has seen the return of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland with the murder of a police officer using a booby trap bomb planted in his car.
On 20th of June, 2011, the UVF invaded the nationalist area of the Short Strandand began attacking nationalist homes, the men were dressed in balaclavas and full camoflage gear. Republicans (Allegedly the Provisional IRA) opened fire, shooting 2 loyalists in the legs. Riots continued for hours, and a nationalist resident of the short strand was seriously injured when a breezeblock was dropped on his head by loyalists. A second night of rioting followed, with a press photographer being shot in the leg by Republicans.
June and July has witnessed rioting in Belfast lasting up to three nights at a time, involving up to 700 people, with petrol bombings and shootings taking place.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. It doesn’t take into account Basque seperatists ETA who between 1968 and 2011 have carried out up to 3,500 attacks killing up to 952, including 343 civilians. It also ignores eco-terrorists Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front and Puerto Rican nationalist groups who between them carried out 66% of all terrorist attacks in the USA from 1985 – 2005.
I have no doubt some will wish to expand the debate to prove that globally, Islamic terrorism is more prolific and devastating than any other form. This may, or may not be the case depending on how terrorism is defined and is something I will address in a future post.