Attack on the Sikh Temple: When is a Terrorist Not a Terrorist?

Posted By Levi

August 9th, 2012 7:32pm

Category: Security, Terrorism

Professor Juan Cole – Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.”What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

We have had several Congressional hearings on the dangers  of Muslim terrorism inside the United States yet not a single one on the dangers poised by right-wing groups despite the fact that there have been more terror attacks on U.S. soil in the past decade committed by white, “right-wing extremists” than by Muslims.

From CNN:

The word “terrorism” in the United States usually brings to mind plots linked in some way to al Qaeda, while the danger posed to the public by white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and other right-wing militants is often overlooked . . . Militants linked to al Qaeda or inspired by jihadist ideology have carried out four terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, which have resulted in 17 deaths. Thirteen of them were in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009. By contrast, right-wing extremists have committed at least eight lethal terrorist attacks in the United States that have resulted in the deaths of nine people since 9/11, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation.

One other point. Since 911, many Sikhs have been targeted by anti-Muslim groups on the mistaken belief that Sikhs are Muslims. They are not. In fact, the first person murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks was a Sikh, a gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona. You can learn about the Sikh people here.

But, perhaps ordinary Americans can be forgiven for not knowing the differences between Sikhs and Muslims for apparently, presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn’t seem to know the difference either. He referred to Sikhs as ‘sheik people‘ and the sikh temple as “sheik temple.” A  shiek is a tribal elder or patriarch in Arabic countries. It can also be used to refer to minor religious officials and village leaders, or as a term of respect.

According to the Washington Post:

Referencing his earlier event in the Chicago area, Romney said: “We had a moment of silence in honor of the people who lost their lives at that sheik temple. I noted that it was a tragedy for many, many reasons. Among them are the fact that people, the sheik people, are among the most peaceable and loving individuals you can imagine, as is their faith. And of course, the person who carried out this heinous act was a person motivated by racial hatred and religious intolerance.”

On a related note,  the day after the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin —a Muslim mosque was burned to the ground, completely destroyed by a fire that began in the middle of the night.Literally within hours, hundreds of Americans have responded with thousands of dollars in donation to help rebuild the mosque thus sending a powerful message that good Americans will not tolerate bigotry and anti-Muslim hatred.

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