Of terrorists, nutcases and Islamophobes

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Zafar Bangash

Jumada' al-Akhirah 12, 1436 2015-04-01

Editorials

by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 2, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1436)

If a Muslim perpetrates a crime, it is considered “terrorism;” if a non-Muslim is involved, no matter how heinous, he/she is only a ‘nutcase’. There is a deliberate policy behind the demonization of Muslims.

If a Muslim anywhere perpetrates a violent act, he is immediately branded a terrorist; a non-Muslim is declared a nutcase. Given the number of violent terrorist acts perpetrated by non-Muslims all over the western world — North America and Europe — it seems the West has a propensity for producing far too many nutcases.

Let us consider some cases. The Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed into the French Alps was a deliberate act of terrorism by one of its pilots, 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz. All 150 people on board, the majority of them school children, were killed. We are now told that the pilot had psychiatric problems and had hidden this condition from his employer — Lufthansa Airlines. His act was not called terrorism. Had he been a Muslim, would that be the verdict?

What about Richard White, 63, a retired army serviceman and a devout Jehovah’s Witness who on March 20 attacked several federal officers at New Orleans Airport in the US? He was carrying explosives, poison spray and a machete. Nothing could better describe a terrorist act than this but the US media led by Fox News whose commentators go hoarse talking about “Islamic terrorists,” did not utter a single word about terrorism. Ditto for other media outlets. Even the police and America’s other security agencies only talked about the man’s “mental problems.” Perhaps, Jehovah’s Witnesses create nutcases too!

In Canada, there have been numerous cases of non-Muslims carrying out or attempting to perpetrate terrorist acts but in every case, the perpetrators have been declared nutcases. Here is a quick list. Last June, Justin Bourque shot and killed three RCMP officers in Moncton, New Brunswick. The man was called a nutcase. In November, a Canadian forces veteran, identified only as GG, was charged with possession of firearms and explosives in Alberta but not charged with terrorism. In January 2015, Chris Phillip, a chemist with links to the US military was caught with dangerous chemicals in a hotel room in Ottawa that he reportedly planned to use for making explosives and blowing up several buildings. Was he a terrorist? Perish the thought; another nutcase. And here is one more example. On February 14, 2015 (Valentine’s Day), four heavily armed persons planned to attack shopping malls in Halifax. One of them was killed and three arrested but both the police chief and the Canadian Justice Minister Peter McKay said they were not terrorists, only nutcases.

Contrast this with the case of the 25-year-old convert Martin Rouleau who slammed his vehicle into two army servicemen near Montreal on October 20, 2014. He was shot and killed but declared a terrorist. This was followed two days later by the attack in Ottawa by Michael Zehaf Bibeau who had been thrown out of a British Columbia masjid for his strange conduct. He was living in a homeless shelter in Ottawa and was known to be suffering from mental illness but he too was declared a terrorist because, well, he was a Muslim (or his stepfather was)!

What this has established is that Muslims cannot be nutcases. Thank God for that; only non-Muslims qualify. We are happy to leave it to them but how come acts of terrorism perpetrated by non-Muslims are not branded with the terrorist label and only anti-social acts committed by Muslims are?

Does this not give the lie to the allegation that while “all Muslims are not terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims”? If Western governments, the media and security establishments brand acts committed only by Muslims as terrorism and not by non-Muslims, then there is a deliberate policy to create hatred against Muslims. This is called Islamophobia. This means there is a deliberate policy to create hatred against Muslims as part of a well thought-out agenda. This is dishonest, dishonourable and dangerous.

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