Opinions

  • Sure, Idaho, child support bill will lead to Sharia Law. What? No, you’re not crazy at all

    Opinions April 15, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Wonkette. The Idaho Legislature’s 2015 session came to an exciting end Friday with a small group of nutjob Republicans killing off a bill to enforce child support judgments so Idaho wouldn’t have to fear living under the yoke of radical Islamic law. The decision to kill the bill endangers the state’s access to about $46 million in federal funding and to programs that help with processing child support payments and tracking down delinquent parents. But isn’t that a small price to pay to remain free of the taint of Sharia?

     
  • Anti-Islam rhetoric poses a threat to all people of color

    Source: Seattle Globalist. Overzealous scrutiny of a perceived fault or weakness of a disadvantaged group not only undermines their quality of life, but also puts them under a threat. This age-old tactic, used in the past to spread myths like the one about minority groups benefiting from food stamps, is now being used against Muslims under the guise of intellectual criticism of religion. . . .Anti-Islam rhetoric doesn’t only feed hate crimes. It’s also dangerously simplistic and parochial. It almost always has racist undertones, placing targets on less powerful ethnic groups, including my own. So as much as I value a healthy intellectual debate, I no longer partake in what criticism of Islam has become: a malicious campaign with dangerous consequences.

     
  • Tsarnaev prosecution employed flawed theory of radicalization

    Opinions April 10, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: AlJazeera America. Two years after planting bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people, a federal jury found Dzokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts against him. Now the trial goes to the sentencing phase, in which jurors will decide whether to impose the death penalty. To bolster their case against Tsarnaev, 21, prosecutors portrayed him as a textbook case of religious radicalization. The strategy was clear: Link Tsarnaev to global jihad to sway the jury to find him guilty. Jurors trying to understand his unthinkable crime could easily latch onto this explanation. The only problem is that the government narrative rests on the flawed premise that religion is the key force that drives people to violence. Friends of Dzokhar Tsarnaev’s say he smoked (and sold) a lot of weed, chased girls and otherwise showed no signs of deeply held religious belief. The case against Dzokhar Tsarnaev reflects a much bigger problem: the prevalence of theories of radicalization that have facilitated surveillance, criminalized religious belief and free speech and stigmatized Muslim communities.

     
  • The Expatriate Terrorist Act: An American culture of fear

    Opinions April 6, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Fusion. The Expatriate Terrorist Act was sponsored into the Senate last September by Cruz and introduced into the House in early 2015 by Representative Steve King. The Act, which would allow decisions about citizenship to be made without a jury trial, on the basis of secret evidence, was introduced just as Americans and Europeans realized the full extent of the humanitarian crisis produced by the reign of the Islamic State. And it was those images – the murders of civilians and the beheadings of aid workers and journalists – which Senator Cruz exploited when he introduced the Act last fall. An existing federal statute enables citizen-stripping for Americans who affirmatively renounce their citizenship – for example, by taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign government – as well as for those who are convicted of crimes such as treason or conspiracy to overthrow the US government. But the Expatriate Terrorist Act would broadly expand citizenship powers without requiring any oversight from the judicial branch. It also utilizes the notoriously vague “material assistance” provision, meaning that even those suspected of providing peace training to terrorist groups could have their citizenship status removed.

     
  • The terrorism of Andreas Lubitz: Muslim vs. White mass murderers

    Opinions April 1, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Mint Press News. In the early months of 2015, two separate mass murders in France generated headlines worldwide for their brutality and disregard for human life. In early January, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi entered the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and gunned down 11 employees, then shot dead one police officer on their way out. Last week, in an act of mass murder with more than 12 times the number of victims, 27-year-old pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally guided the plane he was flying straight into the French Alps and killed all 150 people on board. Yet it is only the former murderous act that has been described by politicians and portrayed in the media as an existential threat and an example of terrorism. The coverage of the Kouachi brothers downplayed their humanity by describing them as calculating, rational, indifferent killing machines. A New York Times article, titled “From Amateur to Ruthless Jihadist in France,” describes “two jihadists in black, sheathed in body armor” who “gave a global audience a ruthless demonstration in terrorism.” The murderous Germanwings pilot received a very different portrait in The New York Times. The title of a profile on Lubitz reads like a eulogy: “Andreas Lubitz, Who Loved to Fly, Ended Up on a Mysterious and Deadly Course.”

     
  • How dangerous were the Edmonds cousins?

    Opinions March 31, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The New Yorker. There have been more than twenty ISIS-related arrests in the U.S. Most allegations of plotting domestic terrorism include the significant involvement of undercover government agents. . . .In February, the White House held a three-day summit on “Countering Violent Extremism,” which was described as a discussion of “concrete steps the United States and its partners can take to develop community-oriented approaches to counter hateful extremist ideologies that radicalize, recruit or incite to violence.” It’s unclear, however, whether authorities envision any approach toISIS wannabes like the Edmonds cousins other than criminal prosecution. F.B.I. director James Comey has said that the bureau has active investigations of homegrown ISIS supporters in all fifty states. It would be interesting to know how many suspected nodes of this “chaotic spiderweb,” as Comey has called it, are in contact with ISIS or have specific plans to carry out an attack. The government has an extensive apparatus in place to find online supporters of ISIS who might be willing to commit a crime. How about trying to talk them out of it?

     
  • The mark of terror

    Opinions March 27, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Register-Guard. We don’t need to know the political or religious views of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Gunter Lubitz to call his crashing of a crowded airliner into a mountainside an act of terrorism. And we don’t need any further evidence to recognize a cruel irony: Legitimate fear of potential terrorist attacks apparently made this tragedy possible. . . . It looks as if Lubitz wasn’t just trying to end his life because he was depressed. He apparently decided to end 149 other lives as well because he wanted to tell us something. Tragically, this is precisely the kind of thing that terrorists do.

     
  • Everyone’s trying really hard not to call the Germanwings co-pilot a terrorist

    Opinions March 27, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Mic. White people can’t be terrorists. We’ve been told this for years. Not directly, perhaps, but when a white person bombs a church or massacres a school or flies a plane carrying 150 people into a mountainside, killing everyone on board, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion. Disturbed? Yes. Mentally ill? Probably. A troubled outcast? Of course. But “terrorist”? That term is reserved for a special type of person, someone with brown skin, a foreign-sounding name, roots in the Middle East or North Africa and a progressively anti-Western Internet history — probably typed in Arabic. Terrorists, we’re told, are Muslim. And if anything happens to disrupt that notion, we have a really hard time explaining it.

     
  • The FBI keeps arresting hapless Jihadi fanboys and calling them ISIS recruits

    Opinions March 24, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: New Republic. Since 9/11 the FBI has repeatedly used informants to manufacture plots for targets who would never have been capable of carrying them out on their own. “Of 508 defendants prosecuted in federal terrorism-related cases in the decade after 9/11, 243 were involved with an FBI informant, while 158 were the targets of sting operations,” writes Trevor Aaronson, a journalist who has studied the FBI’s use of informants. As the enemy du jour has shifted from Al Qaeda to ISIS, the practice still appears to be common in FBI terrorism arrests. . . . Beyond questionable investigative tactics, the drumbeat over homegrown extremists obscures, rather than clarifies, the threat they pose. The likelihood of Al Qaeda or ISIS launching a massive attack inside the United States is “infinitesimal,” according to the Washington Post, yet a recent poll found 86 percent of Americans now see ISIS as a threat to U.S. security. That perception, however, is based largely on a myth. The Triangle Center’s report states that publicly available information does “not indicate widespread recruitment of Muslim-Americans by transnational terrorist organizations to engage in attacks in the United States, or sophisticated planning by the handful of individuals who have self-radicalized.”

     
  • Surprise! Another Christian terrorist

    Opinions March 24, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Beast. Did you hear about the man who entered New Orleans’ airport with explosives and a machete? No? Well, you would have if he’d been Muslim.