Op-Eds

  • Why we ended long-term solitary confinement in Colorado

    Opinions October 12, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times. These reforms are unique to Colorado. It’s estimated that, around the country, more than 80,000 prisoners at any given time are held in isolated confinement. Long-term solitary was supposed to be rehabilitative, but it did not have that effect. Studies have found that inmates who have spent time in solitary confinement are more likely to reoffend than those who have not. Data shows that prisoners in solitary account for about half of all prison suicides; self-harm is also more common in solitary units than in less-restrictive ones. In addition, solitary confinement was intended to be a last resort for those who were too violent to be in a prison’s general population. But then we gradually included inmates who disrupted the efficient running of an institution. In other words, inmates could be placed in solitary for almost any reason, and they were.

     
  • It’s time to abandon the word ‘terrorism’

    Opinions October 10, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Huffington Post. The word “terrorism” no longer has any useful, objective application. The word has become a coded, racialized reference to Muslims, and nothing more. The inability to contemplate the Las Vegas attack as possible terrorism doesn’t boil down to a sophisticated analysis of how to define terrorism or waiting until we have full knowledge of the underlying motives. It’s the continuation of a racialized discourse that assumes terrorism does not apply to mass violence committed by white men. Let’s stop trying to redeem the word “terrorism” by expanding its boundaries to make room for white men who perpetrate mass murder. The word is irredeemable. It’s time to let it go.

     
  • ‘Lone wolf’: Our stunning double standard when it comes to race and religion

    Opinions October 2, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Washington Post. Despite the scale of the attack and Paddock’s being armed with more than 10 rifles, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo immediately dismissed any ties to terrorism, classifying Paddock, a white male from a rural town 80 miles from Las Vegas, as a “local individual” and a “lone wolf.” But if Paddock were Muslim, his status as a local individual would be entirely irrelevant, and the motive of “Islamic terrorism” or “jihad” would likely be immediately assumed, even without any evidence. Time and again, following a terrorist attack involving a (nominal or bona-fide) Muslim individual, Muslim Americans are expected to disavow and condemn the attack. However, no one expects white men to apologize on behalf of all other white men, even though 63 percent of mass shootings since 1982 have been committed by their demographic.

     
  • A scary number of Americans don’t think Muslims or atheists have First Amendment rights

    Opinions September 18, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Huffington Post. Nearly a quarter of Americans ― 22 percent ― either don’t know or don’t believe that U.S. Muslims are granted the same constitutional protections as other citizens. Misinformation can have real impact on people’s lives. Hate crimes against Muslims have risen sharply in recent years, often fueled by rhetoric from that paints the religious minority as outsiders in their own country. A major tactic of anti-Muslim campaigns and commentators has been to cast Islam as a political ideology rather than a religion, which would preclude Muslims from receiving protections on the basis of their faith.

     
  • Islamophobia is not simply about intolerance of Muslims, says expert

    Opinions September 15, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: IBT. A lecturer in sociology from Rice University, Craig Considine — who reviewed more than 40 news articles and referenced dozens of academic studies relating to the experiences of American Muslims and the stereotypical depictions of Muslims — stresses upon the role race plays in Islamophobic hate crimes in a research paper titled “The Racialization of Islam in the United States: Islamophobia, Hate Crimes and ‘Flying While Brown.”To dismiss the role that race plays in anti-Muslim racism is to adopt a “colorblind” understanding of Islamophobia, the author says.

     
  • The end of DACA is the latest nightmare for undocumented Muslims

    Opinions September 5, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Vice. No one is certain exactly how many Muslims are currently protected by DACA. Undocumented Muslim youth like Nayim Islam have been living for months under a government that can be as Islamophobic as it often is xenophobic. Now, facing the potential end of DACA, too, undocumented Muslims like Islam feel as if they’re under a unique kind of siege. “It means a lot of uncertainty,” Islam told me when asked what it’s like to be an undocumented Muslim in 2017. “It means you’re being attacked from multiple angles. It means having to constantly fight just to survive.”

     
  • Terrorism the most exaggerated threat in nation today

    Opinions August 28, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Times Union. Often, the defendants [in terrorism cases] were framed, or entrapped, or accused of “supporting” terrorism in some technical or minor way or had mental illnesses. Most of the defendants were not violent or dangerous in the first place, and now are far less likely to engage in crimes after being released. While Associated Press recently reported that hundreds of convicted terrorists in American prisons will soon be released, focusing only on possible recidivism in terrorism is misleading and calculated to generate unwarranted fears. Convicted terrorists have been regularly released in recent years after serving their sentences, and there have been no cases of recidivism. [By Steve Downs, former Ex. Dir. of NCPCF]

     
  • FBI paid informant + mentally ill man = another fake terror plot

    Opinions August 24, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Defending Rights & Dissent. We’ve actually seen it before — usually targeting young Muslims or idealistic activists. This time, the target was Jerry Drake Varnell, a 23 year-old who was supposedly a right-wing extremist. The cases follow a pattern: the informant befriends a vulnerable young person, plying them with drugs or money or other favors, usually badgering, cajoling, or otherwise goading the target to express extreme views, then leading them along in a plot to blow something up.

     
  • Hospitals in Trump country suffer as Muslim doctors denied visas to U.S.

    Opinions August 17, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. Since March 17, Dozens of Pakistani physicians had their J-1 applications denied in Islamabad and Karachi, said Shahzad Iqbal, a Pakistani-American physician in New York. Without foreign doctors, the U.S. healthcare system would simply collapse, with the pain felt most acutely in rural areas. U.S. medical schools don’t produce anywhere near enough graduates to meet the needs of the country, particularly in places where people are reluctant to move to.

     
  • Trump loves saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has a tough time with “white supremacy.”

    Opinions August 14, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Vox. Trump’s insistence on using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was always seen by terrorism experts as a mistake, as the phrase inaccurately implies that groups like ISIS speak for the entirety of the Muslim religion. They argued that using the phrase alienates Muslim allies in the fight against extremism. By contrast, Trump’s unwillingness to label white supremacists as such encourages those groups and their followers. They see President Trump as a tacit ally; alt-right leader Richard Spencer once said the president has a “psychic connection” with his movement.