The definition of terrorism in America has become nearly as skewed as the crime itself. If you ask anyone to imagine a terrorist, chances are they’ll imagine him with a turban on his head. What led Americans to this racist and incorrect conclusion?
Throughout history, the public’s idea of terrorism has evolved, targeting certain groups. For example, in 1914 the terrorists were the Serbian Black Hand, the group that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In 1939, it was the Nazi party. In the 50s and 60s, it was the Communists. And now it is al-Qaeda and ISIS. The terrorists change based on recent global conflicts.
Islamophobia, or fear of Muslims, is something that has been increasing exponentially over the past five years.
US Uncut reports that in 2014 there were 154 hate crimes against Muslims, and the number is expected to be higher than that for 2015. In the past week alone, there have been 19 hate crimes against Muslims nationally.
America, with help from biased media outlets, has decided that all Muslims are dangerous, militaristic extremists. Because of this, the stereotype against Muslims has been summed up by calling them ‘terrorists’.
But to get it straight, the formal definition of terrorism according to Merriam-Webster is “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”
When given this definition, terrorism can be applied to much more than what we know as terrorists. The definition also doesn’t specify that the group trying to achieve their goal must be the group to commit the violent act.
In August, Rohnert Park police officer Dave Rodriguez drew his gun on Don McComas in an attempt of intimidation, to try and stop McComas from recording the encounter on his phone. The violent act was the drawing of the gun on McComas.
The Patriot Act, which expired in June of this year, was signed into law by President Bush soon after 9/11 and was enacted in order to “intercept and obstruct terrorism”, as stated in the act. The Patriot Act used the country’s fear of terror to disguise several laws involving strictly internal affairs, such as Section 215 (which violated the Fourth Amendment), allowing for their ratification. The violent act used in this case was 9/11.
One could even say that megalomaniac Donald Trump is using a form of terrorism in his campaign, instilling fear of ‘radical Islam’ in his followers in order to gain the popular vote.
Those are some examples of the true definition of terrorism, all of which take place in our own country and are committed by our own country.
Another misconception about terrorism, Islamic terrorism in particular, is that it’s caused purely by religious conflicts. Here’s an example: ISIS claimed that the attack in Paris last month was retaliation for French air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as well as French President François Hollande’s foreign policy towards Muslims worldwide.
Actually, Islam and Christianity have a surprising amount of similarities, in that they both worship God, advocate peace (the word Islam comes from the arabic word salam, meaning ‘peace’), follow the Ten Commandments and believe in heaven and hell.
The idea is that terrorism changes through the ages. Terrorists can be any race, any religion and have any motive. Being a terrorist doesn’t mean that you are Muslim, in fact ,that is an outright racist conclusion.
The fearmongering that American politicians and media companies have been doing has destroyed the country’s ability to think open-mindedly about Muslims.
In fact, we reject the idea so much that we don’t even notice the fearmongering that has been happening in our own country.