Opinions

  • Is FBI’s new focus on “black identity extremists” the new COINTELPRO?

    Opinions November 21, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: The Philadelphia Tribune. If you’ve been to a Black Lives Matter rally or tweeted the related hashtag recently, then the FBI might consider you a “Black Identity Extremist,” at least according to a report published by one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. These unsubstantiated conclusions are troubling, especially in the context of the FBI’s history of targeting African-American activists and leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. But what is more troubling is the FBI’s creation of the term “Black Identity Extremist” and the definition of it.

     
  • The F.B.I.’s dangerous crackdown on ‘Black Identity Extremists’

    Opinions November 15, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times. An F.B.I. report leaked in October and scrutinized during an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday warns of an emergent domestic terror threat sweeping the nation and threatening the lives of law enforcement officers: the “Black Identity Extremist” (“B.I.E.”) movement. This designation, just recently invented by the F.B.I., is as frightening and dangerous as the bureau’s infamous Cointelpro program of the 1960s and ’70s, under which J. Edgar Hoover set out to disrupt and destroy virtually any group with the word “black” in its name. Today, entirely nonviolent black activists face violations of their civil liberties and even violence if they’re deemed part of B.I.E. Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, said the “Black Identity Extremists” label simply represents an F.B.I. effort to define a movement where none exists. “Basically, it’s black people who scare them,” he said.

     
  • If the gunman is white, we’re OK with mass murder. No, really, we are.

    Opinions November 7, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Miami Herald. Why are we OK with this? Not you and me as individuals, perhaps. But America, as a corporate body? It seems ever more obvious that for all the lip service we pay to “thoughts and prayers,” for all the candles we light and tears we weep, this is a thing we accept. As opposed to Islamic terror, which we don’t. You can read the distinction starkly in Donald Trump’s tweets.

     
  • 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]