Radical Religious Terrorism Is Terrorism No Matter Which Religion Is Being Perverted To Justify It
As engaged Americans predictably retreat to their respective corners in the wake of an all-too-familiar scene of chaos and violence in America, it’s becoming clear that senseless preventable mass murder at an Orlando LGBT night club can’t be fit into the neat little “terrorism” box that conservatives and their standard-bearers have been attempting to pack it into since the news broke Sunday morning. When authorities confirmed that the murderer was Omar Mateen — an American-born Muslim of Afghan descent — they had all the information they needed (or more accurately, wanted) to push their “Muslim Extremism” narrative all across social media and the Sunday talk shows. And some of them even wanted to take victory laps for their racist assumptions:
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
Yet, as Salon so valiantly points out, conservative ideology and practices have done more to expand the intolerance and terrorism that manifested in the Pulse nightclub this weekend:
After all, even though President Obama and Hillary Clinton have had far more success fighting Islamic terrorism than George W. Bush — the former two presided over the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the latter started the adventure war in Iraq that led to the formation of ISIS in the first place — right-wing propaganda efforts have been disturbingly effective at blaming liberals and Democrats for being “soft” on Islamic terrorism and hinting that there’s some kind of affection for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. This, even though it should be blatantly obvious that liberalism, with its insistence on equal rights for women and sexual freedom, is the antithesis of the right wing ideology that motivates Islamic terrorists.
Already, the propaganda machine is firing up again.
‘It’s not a hate crime,’ Sebastian Gorka of Fox News said. ‘It is part of an ideological military assault on the United States of America.’
Bullshit. Terrorism of this nature and hate crimes are exactly the same thing: Acts of violence performed to send a political message in support of bigotry and in opposition towards the liberal goal of an accepting, open society.”
The author of the piece, Amanda Marcotte, points out that the attack on an LGBT club strikes straight at the heart of modern day liberalism, and the values shared by the clubgoers are the ones so often mocked as “political correctness”:
Liberals do not deny that the Islamic fundamentalism preached by groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda regards homosexuality as an abomination and opposes the rights of gay people to live freely and to marry. But guess what! So do the Christian fundamentalists in our own country, the very same ones who are always telling us how oppressed they are by “political correctness” and how they are being denied their “religious freedom” when they are expected to treat LGBT Americans equally.
The common thread here, again and again, is religious fundamentalism, whether your call it “Christian” or “Muslim.” LGBT people have been the favorite punching bag of the Christian right in this country for years.
Terrorism And Hatred Go Hand In Hand
Despite the expected increase in the childish demands from right wingers that the President say “radical Islamic terrorism”, the fact remains that no religion has a monopoly on terrorism. Nor does any culture. As my colleague Megan Hamilton noted yesterday, just hours after the tragic news broke, a Chrisitan pastor took to YouTube to celebrate the fact that there were:
“50 less pedophiles in this world.”
Hatred breeds terrorism as much as terrorism breeds hatred. As long as a society refuses to accept — or worse, mocks — our cultural differences, violent outliers from every culture will continue to be encouraged to achieve a twisted martyrdom for their inhumane and unconscionable belief systems. It doesn’t matter of their name is Omar Mateen, Dylan Roof or Timothy McVeigh. Terrorism will continue to thrive as long as there’s enough hatred to fuel it.
Featured image by Monika Graf/Getty Images News