Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo from the Twitter page of the Nashville Fire Department, damage is seen on a street after an explosion in Nashville, Tennessee on December 25, 2020.

by Ramin Mazaheri  and crossposted with The Saker

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV’s.)

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The entire world breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out that the alleged Nashville, Tennessee, bomber was not a Muslim – now nobody can get dragooned into supporting yet another war on a Muslim-majority country.

Isn’t it spectacular how after 9/11 the US impressed almost the entire West into never-ending military service? Western piracy in Afghanistan continues today; Iraq was reduced to shambles; France used the ruse to invade Mali, the Central African Republic and to create a roving “anti-terrorist” force across the entire Sahel; Libya is no longer really a nation; Syria stands despite all the money, guns, terrorists and concrete fortifications the West could muster. I am probably missing some others.

It was true that in the years after 9/11 Muslims silently held their breath when they heard about a terrorist attack, but after 20 years and so many bombs, drones and assassinations it’s abundantly clear that Muslims are not the aggressor nor the transgressor: The pointed finger alleging cultural failure was clearly a false accusation.

The question Muslims now often feel confident enough to ask non-Muslims in public is, “What did Islam ever have to do with terrorism, anyway?” The answer is the same as it was on 9/12/01: “Nothing”.

The Nashville bombing occurred on Christmas day – maybe this was an act of “Christian terrorism”?

The sad irony is that many Christians will flinch at such a term because they view “Christianity” and “terrorism” as being total opposites. Do such persons realise that Muslims view joining “Islam” to “terrorism” also creates an oxymoron? Muslims and Christians should permanently unite around this concept: the sadness of feeling totally misunderstood when the word “terrorism” is affixed to either religion. The only barrier to this is the Islamophobic nonsense which pours out of the West’s chattering classes.

Terrorism is always defined as violence which has a political motive. Was the Nashville bombing, allegedly caused by Anthony Warner, terrorism? We don’t know at this point, so it’s wrong to call it terrorism.

Some report that Warner was paranoid about the effects of the new 5G technology – that seems rather more social than political.

There are unproven accusations that Warner was bombing storage facilities used by the voting machine company Dominion, which is being sued for allegations of vote tampering – if proven to be true then it’s possible this was a political act. It’s looking like Joe Biden will prevail in the still-disputed US presidential election, but is Warner the advance scout of a battalion of right-wing, pro-Trump terrorists which the US media warned about so hysterically in 2020? Considering how insistently they promoted anti-Trumpism and the fear of right-wing violence, it’s surprising that US media hasn’t immediately called Warner a “post-Trumpian terrorist”?

Maybe they will get there, but what this unfortunate episode can teach us is that the West rushes to demonise Muslim citizens and the teachings of Islam whenever they think they have an opportunity to do so. If Warner had been a Muslim there would have been an unjournalistic rush to judgment by Western media that Nashville was undoubtedly an act of – ugh – “Islamic terrorism”.

It’s unfortunate that Islam is so easily slandered in the West, but the problem to discuss here is not religious misunderstanding but reactionary political thought: Islam is slandered so easily precisely in order to create false justifications for the West’s endless imperialist wars in the oil-rich, Israel-surrounding Muslim World.

In the Western world talking of “imperialism” is (incredibly, to me) denigrated as anachronistic, eccentric and unrealistic. It’s not even taken seriously – if I was writing about transgender bathrooms I would be taken infinitely more seriously, and that is no exaggeration. And yet, doesn’t using the lens of imperialism explain the very different US media treatment for Anthony Warner as opposed to “Omar” Warner?

After all, who can the US media suggest we invade as a result of Warner’s alleged act? Which culture can be insulted and ordered to change at the point of a spear? How can Americans feel a misguided sense of superiority – which helps deflect from their ever-increasing inequality, poverty and socioeconomic instability – when Warner’s culture is their own?

And thus Warner is getting treated far more sympathetically than any Muslim menace to society, even though Warner is no more human.

I do not begrudge sympathy for Warner: The unpredictable actions of severely mentally ill people often have devastating consequences on people, and this is an unfortunate part of life and must be discussed.

What I do point out is that, for example, in the majority of France’s terror attacks following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad the attacker was also just another mentally-ill person, and not some political mastermind and zealot. I covered these attacks year after year and the perpetrators always fell into one of two categories: the largest was mental illness, while the smaller grouping were political (not religious) terrorists who – without fail – expressly said their attacks were retribution for France’s many imperialist attacks on Muslim countries.

The problem in the world today is not religious – as the West and Israel asserts – but political, as the developing world asserts.

But – as the four-year “daily cultural insanity” of the Trump era proves – the US is incapable of discussing political nuance intelligently and without resorting to hyperbolic slander or wild-eyed absurdities. This explains why if Anthony Warner had been a Muslim the violence would have undoubtedly been declared “terrorism”, immediately – I am referring to endemic American political hysteria of the “other”.  

I am not here to complain – as a professional wordsmith often pedantically does – about the misuse of words and the confusion caused by refusing to abide by established definitions. Instead, I am suggesting that non-Muslims in the West should wake up to just how easily they are intellectually manipulated when it comes to any violence which employs something more brutal than a handgun: Had Warner been a Muslim Americans and Westerners would have shouted at to maintain their awful, destructive and immoral two-decade long war posture towards Muslims and Islam.

When there are acts of political terrorism, the West needs to examine the politics behind it and make sure their politics are just. When there are acts of violence, just because a Muslim was the perpetrator doesn’t make it political. However, in the identity politics-obsessed West, it seems one is always defined solely by his or her tribe and is never just another son or daughter of Adam.

“Anthony” or “Omar” shouldn’t make a difference to you but it certainly does, depending on where you live: manipulative Islamophobia may have sent your children off to die in hopeless wars, gutted your individual political rights and caused you to see anyone with a different political view as your lifelong enemy.


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Crimes against Humanity: US Sanctions Harm One Third of World’s People

Global Research, December 05, 2019
Workers World 3 December 2019

The most insidious and pervasive form of modern warfare by Wall Street and the Pentagon, acting in coordination, is passing largely unnoticed and unchallenged. This calculated attack is rolling back decades of progress in health care, sanitation, housing, essential infrastructure and industrial development all around the world.

Almost every developing country attempting any level of social programs for its population is being targeted.

U.S. imperialism and its junior partners have refined economic strangulation into a devastating weapon. Sanctions in the hands of the dominant military and economic powers now cause more deaths than bombs or guns. This weapon is stunting the growth of millions of youth and driving desperate migrations, dislocating tens of millions.

‘A crime against humanity’

Sanctions and economic blockades against Venezuela, Cuba and Iran are well known. But the devastating impacts of U.S. sanctions on occupied Palestine — or on already impoverished countries such as Mali, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Fiji, Nicaragua and Laos — are not even on the radar screen of human rights groups.

Most sanctions are intentionally hidden; they don’t generate even a line of news. Some sanctions are quickly passed after a sudden news article about an alleged atrocity. The civilians who will suffer have nothing to do with whatever crime the corporate media use as an excuse. What are never mentioned are the economic or political concessions the U.S. government or corporations are seeking.

Sanctions cannot be posed as an alternative to war. They are in fact the most brutal form of warfare, deliberately targeting the most defenseless civilians — youth, the elderly, sick and disabled people. In a period of human history when hunger and disease are scientifically solvable, depriving hundreds of millions from getting basic necessities is a crime against humanity.

International law and conventions, including the Geneva and Nuremberg Conventions, United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly prohibit the targeting of defenseless civilians, especially in times of war.

Sanctions draw condemnation

Modern industrial society is built on a fragile web of essential technology. If pumps and sewage lines, elevators and generators can’t function due to lack of simple spare parts, entire cities can be overwhelmed by swamps. If farmers are denied seed, fertilizer, field equipment and storage facilities, and if food, medicine and essential equipment are deliberately denied, an entire country is at risk.

The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, spoke to the XVIII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 26. Addressing the 120 countries represented, he denounced the imposition of arbitrary measures, called “sanctions” by the U.S., as “economic terrorism which affects a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures in 39 countries.”

This terrorism, he said, constitutes a “threat to the entire system of international relations and is the greatest violation of human rights in the world.” (tinyurl.com/uwlm99r)

The Group of 77 and China, an international body based at the U.N. and representing 134 developing countries, called upon “the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries.”

The Group explained:

“The criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority of their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in.”

The power of banks

The mechanism and the ability of one country or one vote to destroy a country on the other side of the world are not well understood.

International capital uses the dollar system. All international transactions go through U.S. banks. These banks are in a position to block money transfers for the smallest transaction and to confiscate billions of dollars held by targeted governments and individuals. They are also in a position to demand that every other bank accept sudden restrictions imposed from Washington or face sanctions themselves.

This is similar to how the U.S. Navy can claim the authority to intercept ships and interrupt trade anywhere, or the U.S. Army can target people with drones and invade countries without even asking for a declaration of war.

Sometimes a corporate media outlet, a U.S.-funded “human rights” group or a financial institution issues charges, often unsubstantiated, of human rights violations, or political repression, drug trafficking, terrorist funding, money laundering, cyber-security infractions, corruption or non-compliance with an international financial institution. These charges become the opening wedge for a demand for sanctions as punishment.

Sanctions can be imposed through a U.S. Congressional resolution or Presidential declaration or be authorized by a U.S. government agency, such as the departments of the Treasury, Commerce, State or Defense. The U.S. might apply pressure to get support from the European Union, the U.N. Security Council or one of countless U.S.-established regional security organizations, such as the Organization of American States.

A U.S. corporate body that wants a more favorable trade deal is able to influence numerous agencies or politicians to act on its behalf. Deep-state secret agencies, military contractors, nongovernmental organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, and numerous corporate-funded foundations maneuver to create economic dislocation and pressure resource-rich countries.

Even sanctions that appear mild and limited can have a devastating impact. U.S. officials will claim that some sanctions are only military sanctions, needed to block weapons sales. But under the category of possible “dual use,” the bans include chlorine needed to purify water, pesticides, fertilizers, medical equipment, simple batteries and spare parts of any kind.

Another subterfuge is sanctions that supposedly apply only to government officials or specific agencies. But in fact any and every transaction they carry out can be blocked while endless inquiries are held. Anonymous bank officials can freeze all transactions in progress and scrutinize all accounts a country holds. Any form of sanctions, even against individuals, raises the cost and risk level for credit and loans.

There are more than 6,300 names on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List of individuals sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The OFAC describes its role this way:

“OFAC administers a number of different sanctions programs. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.”

There is also a Financial Action Task Force list and an International Traffic in Arms Regulations list.

The sanctions weapon has become so extensive that there is now a whole body of law to guide U.S. corporations and banks in navigating sales, credit and loans. It is intended to be opaque, murky and open to interpretation, payoffs and subterfuge. There seems to be no single online site that lists all the different countries and individuals under U.S. sanctions.

Once a country is sanctioned, it must then “negotiate” with various U.S. agencies that demand austerity measures, elections that meet Western approval, cuts in social programs, and other political and economic concessions to get sanctions lifted.

Sanctions are an essential part of U.S. regime change operations, designed in the most cynical way to exact maximum human cost. Sudden hyperinflation, economic disruption and unexpected shortages are then hypocritically blamed on the government in office in the sanctioned country. Officials are labeled inept or corrupt.

Agencies carefully monitor the internal crisis they are creating to determine the optimum time to impose regime change or manufacture a color revolution. The State Department and U.S. covert agencies fund numerous NGOs and social organizations that instigate dissent. These tactics have been used in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan and many other countries.

A weapon of imperialism in decline

Gone are the days of Marshall Plan-type promises of rebuilding, trade, loans and infrastructure development. They are not even offered in this period of capitalist decay. The sanctions weapon is now such a pervasive instrument that hardly a week goes by without new sanctions, even on past allies.

In October the U.S. threatened harsh sanctions on Turkey, a 70-year member of the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance.

On Nov. 27, Trump suddenly announced, by presidential decree, harsher sanctions on Nicaragua, calling it a “National Security Threat.” He also declared Mexico a “terrorist” threat and refused to rule out military intervention. Both countries have democratically elected governments.

Other sanctions sail through the U.S. Congress without a roll call vote — just a cheer and a unanimous voice vote, such as the sanctions on Hong Kong in support of U.S.-funded protests.

Why Wall Street can’t be sanctioned 

Is there any possibility that the U.S. could be sanctioned for its endless wars under the same provisions by which it has asserted the right to wreak havoc on other countries?

The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, in November 2017 asked the Hague-based ICC to open formal investigations of war crimes committed by the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Afghan forces, and the U.S. military and the CIA.

The very idea of the U.S. being charged with war crimes led then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton to threaten judges and other ICC officials with arrest and sanction if they even considered any charge against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said. He noted that the U.S. “is prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any U.S. personnel. … We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. … We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.” (The Guardian, Sept. 10, 2018)

Bolton also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations. The ICC judges got the message. They ruled that despite “a reasonable basis” to consider war crimes committed in Afghanistan, there was little chance of a successful prosecution. An investigation “would not serve the interests of justice.”

Chief Prosecutor Bensouda, for proposing an even-handed inquiry, had her U.S. visa revoked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sanctions are a weapon in the capitalist world order used by the most powerful countries against those that are weaker and developing. One hundred years ago, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson advocated sanctions as a quiet but lethal weapon that exerts pressure no nation in the modernworld can withstand.

Sanctions demonstrate how capitalist laws protect the right of eight multibillionaires to own more than the population of half the world.

U.N. sanctions demanded by Washington

The U.S., with the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet and 800 military bases, claims — while engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya — that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the greatest threats to world peace.

In the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. succeeded in winning harsh new sanctions against Iran and the DPRK by threatening, on the eve of “war games,” that the U.S. would escalate hostilities to an open military attack.

This threat proved sufficient to get other Security Council members to fall in line and either vote for sanctions or abstain.

These strong-arm tactics have succeeded again and again. During the Korean War, when the U.S. military was saturation-bombing Korea, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Warren Austin held up a submachine gun in the Security Council to demand expanded authority in the war from that body.

Throughout the 1990s the U.S. government used sanctions on Iraq as a horrendous social experiment to calculate how to drastically lower caloric intake, destroy crop output and ruin water purification. The impact of these sanctions were widely publicized — as a threat to other countries.

Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children who died as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iraq, replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Iran are book-length, spanning 40 years since the Iranian Revolution. The blockade and sanctions on Cuba have continued for 60 years.

Sanctions Kill campaign

It is an enormous political challenge to break the media silence and expose this crime. We need to put a human face on the suffering.

Targeted countries cannot be left to struggle by themselves in isolation  — there must be full solidarity with their efforts. The sheer number of countries being starved into compliance via U.S.-imposed sanctions must be dragged into the light of day. And one step in challenging the injustice of capitalist property relations is to attack the criminal role of the banks.

The effort to rally world opinion against sanctions as a war crime is beginning with a call for International Days of Action Against Sanctions & Economic War on March 13-15, 2020. Its slogans are “Sanctions Kill! Sanctions Are War! End Sanctions Now!”

These coordinated international demonstrations are a crucial first step. Research and testimony; resolutions by unions, student groups, cultural workers and community organizations; social media campaigns; and bringing medical supplies and international relief to sanctioned countries can all play a role. Every kind of political campaign to expose the international crime of sanctions is a crucial contribution.

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The End of Terror

May 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Three hate crimes: a slaughter in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, a massacre in Sri Lanka and a shooting in a synagogue in San Diego; what do they have in common? The three attacks fit neatly within the Neocon vision of our emerging dystopia. We are set to hate each other. Conflict, hostility, terror – rivers of blood- keep the immoral interventionist agenda afloat.

But there is a deeper meaning in these recent events and the many others that preceded them. Terror, as we should know by now, is a message. Terror has a lethal rationale which is delivered by means of fear and destruction. Perhaps if we start to be attentive to the message of terror we may find this to be the best strategy to dilute its venom.

Many are convinced that terror must be met with fierce retaliation, an ‘eye for an eye’ is what the Israelites called it in their Old Testament. Thousands of eyes for an eye is how their Israeli ‘offspring’ interpret their religious text. This brutal genocidal approach has now been adopted by Israel’s most subservient English speaking colonies (The USA and Britain). I assume that being vengeful and merciless on a mass scale must be a satisfying experience for some, and exciting for others, but it hardly offers a prospect of a better future let alone the possibility of harmony and reconciliation.

Vindictiveness reduces the victim into the perpetrator of another crime.  That which presents itself as defiance is, in practice, a total surrender to terror. If we really want to eliminate terror we had better learn to listen and even find forgiveness. We better invest our energy in understanding our enemies and attempting to decipher their plight. We must dig into the logus that drives hostility, intolerance, hatred, racism and even genocidal inclinations.  We must ask what is it that which brings about blood thirstiness towards Muslims (Christchurch), What is it that some Muslims hate about us the so called ‘West’ (Sri Lanka)?  The above  also apply to Jews. The people who claim to be subject to suffering, discrimination and hatred throughout their history should be able to wonder why. Unlike the so called progressives who attribute reactionary  ‘phobia’ (homophobia, Islamophobia, Judeophobia etc.) to that which they oppose, I contend that the path towards progress is to search for the rationale.

 To eliminate terror and defuse its poison, we have to reinstate our true Western philosophical ethos. We should seek truth and apply the rule of reason. In the hopeful world I grew up in, hostile debate and crude controversy were a source of inspiration. In the world in which we are living, intellectual polarity has been squashed by a tyranny of correctness. When people are silenced and suppressed  they revert to violence. When people realise they are losing their elementary freedoms they become dangerous to themselves and their surroundings.   If anyone out there is nostalgic about the hope for a better world, act to reinstate Athens in our midst.  Listen to your enemy, love your foe, almost as much as you hate yourself.

If the above sounds familiar or even spiritual it is only because the political is dead in the water. What used to be known as a battle between socialism and capitalism, Left and Right, has reemerged as clash between greed and grace…

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

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On My Visit to New Zealand: Can Christchurch Heal Our Collective Wounds?

By Ramzy Baroud
Source

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I visited the city of Christchurch on May 23, 2018, as part of a larger speaking tour in New Zealand that also took me to Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin.

New Zealand is an exceptional country, different from other countries that are often lumped under the generalized designation of the ‘western world.’ Almost immediately after my arrival to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most populous city, I was struck by the overt friendliness, hospitality and diversity.

This is not to downgrade the ongoing struggles in the country, lead among them being the campaign for land rights as championed by the Maori people, the original inhabitants of New Zealand; but, indeed, there was something refreshingly different about New Zealanders.

Just the fact that the Maori language, “Te Reo”, is one of the three official languages in the country, the others being English and Sign Language, immediately sets New Zealand apart from other colonized spaces, where indigenous peoples, cultures, languages and rights are, to various extents, inconsequential.

It is due to the empowered position of the indigenous Maori culture, that New Zealand is, compared to other countries, more inclusive and more accepting of refugees and immigrants. And that is likely why New Zealand – and Christchurch, in particular – was chosen as a target for the terrorist attacks carried out by an Australian national on March 15.

The Australian terrorist – whose name will not be mentioned here in honor of a call made by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, as not to celebrate the infamy of the senseless murderer – wanted to send a message that immigrants, particularly Muslims, are not safe, not even in New Zealand.

But his attempt backfired. Not only will he live “the rest of his life in isolation in prison”, as promised by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, who was speaking at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) emergency conference in Turkey on March 22, but the horrific crime has brought New Zealanders even closer together.

There is something sorrowful, yet beautiful, about Christchurch. This small, welcoming city, located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, was devastated on February 22, 2011 by a massive earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed much of the town.

Last May, I spoke at Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral, an innovative structure that was built as a temporary replacement to the Anglican Cathedral that was destroyed in the earthquake.

In my talk, I commended the people for their beautiful church, and for their own resilience in the face of hardship. The diversity, openness and solidarity of the audience reflected the larger reality throughout the city, in fact, throughout the country. For me, Christchurch was not a place of tragedy, but a source of hope.

My audience, which also included members of the Muslim community, some coming from Al Noor Mosque – the main target of the recent attack – listened and engaged me as I argued that the genuine authentic voices of ordinary people should be placed at the core of our understanding of the past, and our hope for a better future. While the focus of my talk was the history of the Palestinian people, the message exceeded the struggle for freedom in Palestine into the struggle and rights of all indigenous groups, guided by such uplifting experiences as that of the Maori people of New Zealand itself.

I also had the chance to meet with Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party, among other MPs. It was strange to be in a position where solidarity from politicians came across as genuine as that of the unconditional solidarity of ordinary activists – once again, highlighting the uniqueness of New Zealand’s progressive politics and leadership.

Experiencing that myself, it was no surprise to see the outpouring of genuine love and support by Prime Minister Ardern and many members of her cabinet and parliament following the mosque attack. The fact that she, along with numerous women throughout the country, wore symbolic head-scarves in order to send a message to Muslims that they are not alone, while countless thousands of New Zealanders mourned the victims who perished in Al Noor and Linwood mosques, was unprecedented in the recent history of Western-Muslim relationship.

In fact, on Friday March 22, when all of New Zealand’s TV and radio stations transmitted the call for Muslim prayer, and as Muslims and non-Muslims rallied together in a massive display of human solidarity while mourning their dead, for a moment, all Muslims became New Zealanders and all New Zealanders became Muslims.

At the end of my talk, a group of Muslims from the mosque approached me with a gift, a box of dates to break my fast, as it was the month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and repentance for Muslims worldwide. With much gratitude I took the box of dates and promised to visit Al Noor when I return to the country in the future.

A few months later, as I watched the horrific images on television of the terrorist attack that struck this peaceful city, I immediately thought of the Cardboard Cathedral, of the beautiful solidarity of the Maori, of the numerous embraces of so many New Zealanders, and, of the kindly Muslims and the box of dates.

I also understood why the undeserving-to-be named terrorist chose to strike Christchurch, and the underlying message he wanted to send to Muslims, immigrants, New Zealanders and all of those who champion peaceful co-existence and tolerance worldwide.

But he failed. In fact, all other foot soldiers of racism and hate will continue to fail because tragedy often unites us. Collective pain helps us see each other as human beings first, where our differences, however great, can never be enough to justify or even explain why 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim had to die, along with 49 other, beautiful and innocent people.

However, one can be comforted by the Maori saying, “Ka mate te kāinga tahi, ka ora te kāinga rua” – “when one house dies, the second lives”. It means that good things can always emerge from misfortune.

It will take much time for Christchurch, and the whole of New Zealand, to heal from this terrible misfortune. But the strength, will and courage of so many communities should be enough to turn a horrific terrorist act into an opportunity to heal our collective wounds, not just in New Zealand, but the world over.

Calling The Christchurch Terrorist a “Troll” is Unconscious Islamophobia

By Adam Garrie
Source

If people think that terrorists like Daesh and al-Qaeda do not have various internal code words and even unique dialects understood only by fellow extremists – think again. If people think that terrorist groups operating in Iraq and Syria do not use internet memes, videos and online discussion threads to promote their brand of hatred among the young – think again. If people furthermore do not think that Daesh and al-Qaeda thrive by manipulating a perverse shadow pop culture – think again.

Of course, most people realise that Daesh and al-Qaeda are as much about black web based propaganda as they are about committing acts of mass terrorism and as such, Daesh and al-Qaeda supporters are never called “trolls”, “shitposters” or purveyors of “irony”.

And yet, the white supremacist, anti-Muslim terrorist of Christchurch infamy has been described in  mainstream liberal western media as someone being “ironic”, being a “troll” and being a “shitposter”. All of these terms tend to refer to those who use an online presence to either exaggerate their own beliefs or parody the extreme beliefs of others in order to get an emotional reaction from those who do not realise that crude satire, morose hyperbole and elementary pranksterism are at play.

But no actual comedians (however crude) can be considered terrorists, even if they push the boundaries of free speech in order to make provocative points. And yet, the terrorist in Christchurch was no “troll” or  comical figure – he was a died in the wool terrorist, a cold blooded killer of the variety that in a different ideological context would have been a killer in the ranks of terror groups like Daesh, FETO and al-Qaeda.

Even if the Christchurch terrorist was being sarcastic during parts of his manifesto, this only goes to prove his a priori shamelessness which itself is substantiated by his ex post facto lack of remorse as has been documented by lawyers in New Zealand. This does not make him a social media troll but places him among the ranks of serial killers and Daesh terrorists who believe that their acts of violence elevate them to the level of holy figures when in reality they are nothing but wicked mass murderers.

While it could have been expected that those on the neo-fascist right would try and whitewash the Christchurch terrorist as a “troll” or a “shitposter”, the fact that so-called respectable media personalities have also done so, demonstrates that even among people who would publicly reject Islamophobia if given the chance, an unconscious Islamophobia is so pervasive in western societies that seemingly “mainstream” figures are de facto minimising the terrorist’s crime. They are doing so by relating the terrorist to crude online comedy. By contrast, the ridiculous things that Daesh supporters say online are uniformly labelled terrorist propaganda rather than “shitposting” or “trolling”.

While the western far-right have reacted predictably to the atrocity in Christchurch, liberals continue to get away with closet Islamophobia by providing a pseudo-intellectual explanation for terrorism that is nothing more than a verbose version of the extremism vocalised by the likes of self-described right wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who wasted no time in trying to minimise the terrorist atrocity. The difference between mainstream liberals and self-identified trolls of the far-right is merely in the subtlety of the language that is deployed. The overall message from both the western far-right and from liberals is that white anti-Islamic terrorists deserve being copiously analysed and therefore justified through either conscious or unconscious subterfuge, whilst those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam (Daesh for example) deserve unqualified condemnation.

The reality is that all terrorism deserves only condemnation. The ideologies behind terror attacks might be useful at galvanising and recruiting useful idiots to commit horrific acts, but any decent member of any society ought to realise that terrorism has no religion, no race, no ethnicity and no singular ideology other than a generic ideology which permits and validates violence against innocent people.

Liberals in the west continue to expose themselves as unconsciously sympathetic to the same factions that are openly praised by the western fascist fringe. In the same way that a hyena is to be less feared than a snake, liberals have once again demonstrated that when it comes to normalising Islamophobia, they are the undisputed champions of hatred.

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