By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
If a man swearing allegiance to the KKK planted bombs in New York and New Jersey he would be charged with a hate crime. If a man with a diary ranting against black people ran through a mall stabbing people of color, he would be charged with a hate crime. However when the same crimes are carried out by those motivated by religious hatred connected to Islamist extremism, suddenly their acts become more benign, society fears to call it a hate crime, and prefers amorphous, worn out, designations such as “terror.
Many Islamist hate criminals, such as the San Barnadino and Orlando killers, or the 9/11 hijackers, died in their acts. However the capture some, such as the arrest of the Paris terror suspect, or of the New Jersey bomber and the presence of his notebooks indicating he wanted to kill “non-believers” provides evidence for a hate crime. These hate crimes are no different than a white supremacist targeting Jews or black people. Stabbing people who are not Muslim because you consider them sub-human “kaffirs”, is just as bad as targeting Muslims. It’s time societies confronted by this hate violence accept that they must use hate-crime terminology, instead of continuing to coddle these killers as “terrorists” and “extremists.” The KKK and neo-Nazis are not just “extremists”. Yet Americans find it easy to be angry about racially motivated crimes, so why can’t they be angry about crimes carried out for religious Nazi-like motivations?
Charging the current wave of terrorists in Europe and the US with hate crimes would create a welcome catharsis and precedent. So far they have been charged either with merely being “crazy”, “workplace violence” or crimes related to the type of weapon used. It’s time to send a message to Islamists that their crimes are a form of racism and religious-motivated bigotry. It’s time to tar Islamists with the same brush that bigots and xenophobes are painted with. Every westerner feels no qualms about calling Nazi-style violence evil. But as soon as the person doing the killing is shouting “God is great” and dividing people into one religious category and another, then the media and politicians go silent. They can no longer call it what it is: A new Nazism sweeping the globe. From South Asia and Asia to Africa, Middle East, Europe and the Americas, there is an international genocidal ideology. One can call it “lone wolf attacks,” but when 5,000 of those “crazy” and “lone wolves” from Europe joined ISIS and went to Iraq and Syria and committed genocide against indigenous minorities, we need to wake up and stop mumbling. What do you call it when 5,000 Europeans go to the Middle East and commit genocide?
The unwillingness to confront the new KKK, the new Nazis, has been a leitmotif of the post-9/11 world in which every act of Islamist terror is turned into “extremism” and ever genocidal crime carried out by ISIS is said to be done by “non-Muslims.” This is as asinine as claiming the Inquisition was carried out by priests who were not “real Christians.” Perhaps in a worldview of utopian peaceful Christianity, that is true, but it only seeks to distract from the evil of the Inquisition. That hate crimes by Islamist extremists are carried out by a few people, that they don’t represent the “mainstream” is a talking point used to distract from the need to confront them. If every Nazi atrocity was met with “Nazis don’t represent white people”, that would be a way to get out of talking about what Nazis do represent, which is hatred and intolerance. If every KKK bombing of a black church and every lynching had been met with a rejoinder in the press that “the KKK is not Christian” and “lynchings are carried out by mentally unbalanced people,” that would be a way to distract from why lynchings were carried out: Due to hatred and intolerance. There is one motivating factor of the Taliban, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Gam’a Islamiya, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and a thousand other groups, and that motivating factor is hate. Hate. Period. It is hatred for numerous things. Hatred for women. Hatred for “western learning”. Hatred for minorities. Hatred for Shia. Hatred for Ahmadis. Hatred for Kurds. Hatred for Yazidis. Hatred for Jews Hatred for Assyrians. Hatred. Hatred. Hatred.
The media refuses to acknowledge and discuss the hatred aspect. They are afraid to mention “hate crime”. When women are attacked for wearing shorts in France, when a woman is stabbed in the Alps for “immoral behavior”, when people are hacked on a street in Bangladesh or Germany for being different, it is hatred. Not “mentally unbalanced,” but bigoted, hate-filled views. Ignoring the mass of hatred and intolerance in Europe led to the 5,000 Europeans who joined ISIS. One preacher in England, now in prison for just a few years, helped recruit hundreds of genocidal murderers who went to Syria and Iraq. Why is it if someone recruited 300 KKK members and genocided 3,000 African-Americans in the US, that you would know exactly what to call it, but when it is ISIS, you can’t bring yourself to apply hate-crime laws. People are more offended by the Swastika than the ISIS flag, when Nazism has been long dead, while ISIS is threatening and murdering.
Dylaan Roof, the murderer of black people at a Charleston church, is easily hated for his actions. But people don’t hate Ahmad Khan Rahami, they see him as almost benign. His journal, according to reports, has ample references to “killing the kuffar in their backyard”, admiration for “brother Bin Laden”. “I pray to the beautiful, wise, Allah to not take Jihad away from me.” This is pure hatred motivated by religious bigotry and zeal. It’s no different than those motivated by Mein Kampf, no different than the Crusaders massacring people in the 12th century, no different than the “white knights” of the KKK.
Society needs to be conditioned through the use of hate crime legislation to stop talking about “terrorism” and start talking about hatred and intolerance. Stop making excuses for San Barnadino and Orlando mass hate-crimes. Stop pretending this kind of killing is different. Stop making memes after every terror attack claiming that “if you don’t blame all white people for the KKK, why do you blame all Muslims for New Jersey attacks”. That’s a way to distract. No one is saying “blame all Muslims”, what needs to be done is focus the issue on hate crimes, on blaming hate criminals, on blaming intolerance and religious hatred. When confronting the KKK, no one blames “all white people,” but they blame the culture of bigotry and intolerance and the sewer from which the KKK emerged. But with Islamist mass-murder, people are afraid to condemn even the killers themselves, let alone talking about a culture of bigotry and sewer of intolerance where it emerged from. When you confront Nazis you need to find out what educational frameworks produced them, what networks they thrived in, and you need to despise them. Billboards saying “hey ISIS you suck” in the US, ostensibly funded by other Islamic groups against ISIS, may be a good first step, but is not a helpful long-term answer. “Hey KKK, you suck”, is not really an answer to a bombing of a black church. When the Nazis were running Auschwitz, the way ISIS trades in Yazidi women, saying “hey Nazis, you suck,” is not enough of an answer.
It’s not a question of “sucking”, it’s a question of hate. ISIS is a hate group. It is a committing genocide, ethnic-cleansing and hate crimes. Not “terrorism”, but hate crimes. Stop talking about “terrorism”. Stop making fun of the murderers or excusing them or reducing what they do. TO defeat this ideology that has tenticles all over the world, it has to evoke disgust and dislike. People don’t have enough disgust and anger about ISIS crimes. They don’t care enough about hate-crimes.
Start with legislation and prosecutions against every surviving “terror” attacker. Charge them all with hate crimes. They leave behind ample evidence, often with social media messages and even explanations of their zeal for beheading and “killing the kuffar.” You need to make the word “kuffar” as objectionable as the n-word. You know how the n-word makes people see red in the US. Well when people say “I want to kill the kuffar”, that means they want to commit genocide. Genocide like was done in Iraq. Just like Anders Brevik racist mass murder in Norway. The exact same kind of hate crime. It isn’t just “terrorism”, it is murder, murder and hatred. Learn to call terror, “murder”, and learn to always use the word “hate crime” next to it. It isn’t “terror”, it isn’t “workplace violence” or “disturbed man”, it is “a hate criminal carried out mass murder” or “attempted mass murder.”
When you change the conversation and put the burden on the perpetrators, then society will begin to empower itself to confront hate, rather than coddle and excuse it and pretend it doesn’t exist. You can ignore the bubbling Nazism all you want, and pretend, but ignoring it only produces more of it.