If the Oregon militiamen were Muslim or black, they’d likely be dead by now | Wajahat Ali


Extremism comes in different colorings, ethnicities, beards and head coverings which is why racial profiling cannot protect us from all radical violence

If, in a vacuum, I told you that a bearded man with his head covered had posted a video on social media calling on his followers to leave their homes with weapons, migrate to a new region, take over government property as long as necessary and use violence if confronted by law enforcement, youd likely assume that I was talking about the latest propaganda video released by Isis, filmed in Iraq or Syria and intended to recruit violent Muslim extremists.

But that exact call was recently issued on Facebook by white rancher Ammon Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy who also engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement in 2014 and who currently owes the governmental forces more than$ 1m in fees. The younger Bundys goal this time was to encourage his fellow American patriots to take up limbs against the American government in protest of the arson convictions of ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr and his son, Steven.

Militia leaders claim approximately 150 followers accepted Ammon Bundys call, although reporters on the ground are saying its far fewer. The armed men are currently occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon to, in their words, assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources. Ammon Bundy has said that his people wont rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them .~ ATAGEND

But, dont worry America: he promised everyone that we are not terrorists. What a relief.

Of course theyre not terrorists: Bundy and his followers are just your median angry white freedom fighter, who use weapons and ammunition to protect the US constitution and American values from the government and other Americans who want them to abide by federal statutes like everyone else.

But if Bundy and his followers were like the 38% of Americans who arent white, people across America wouldnt be watching this surreal, dangerous episode unfold and wondering what they could do to be labeled a militia when occupying a federal region with firearms instead of terrorists, thugs, extremists or gangs.

If one black man holding a plastic toy gun even walked in the direction of a federal building, let alone with 150 other black men all holding loaded rifles, hed be shot dead by law enforcement , no questions asked. If 15 Muslims occupied a 7-Eleven with BB guns and masala Slurpees, federal law enforcement would probably roll up with six MRAPs and immediately take everyone out Waco-style( but without a congressional investigation ).

Armed militia to occupy Oregon wildlife refuge as long as necessary

We dont need to racially profile individuals who look like these armed militiamen( white men with bushy beards and beer bellies ), but its time for mainstream politicians to at least acknowledge and confront this dangerous menace within our borders.

Since 9/11, more people in America have been killed by rightwing terror attacks than violent jihadists( 48 demises to 45 demises ). America witnessed an unprecedented rise in radical rightwing, anti-government groups after the election of President Barack Hussein Obama. Yet, the Department of Homeland Security buried an analysts early 2009 alerting about the growing threat of rightwing terror groups to focus solely on Muslim extremists, caving to conservative pundits who complained the DHS was demonizing rightwing speech by targeting these groups.

And although the number of people involved has reduced in the past two years, it has not stifled the different levels of criminal extremism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center .~ ATAGEND

Such groups, some of whom have been involved in armed hostilities since research reports was withdrawn, are also often openly white supremacist, hostile to immigrants, Islamophobic and prone to anti-government conspiracies.

In other words, they are not unlike Donald Trumps base. And while this is the time that we would normally expect calls for all moderate militiamen to stand up and condemn the violent extremism within their midst, dont hold your breath. Republican Senator and presidential nominee Ted Cruzwill probably not ignore political correctness and ask, How can we defeat revolutionary white terrorism with presidential candidates who refuse to utter the words revolutionary white terrorists? Trump, who recently said that hes in favor of killing the families of terrorists to defeat extremists, will assuredly not apply the same standard to white American militia members, even if they do apply the violence theyve promised.

The sad truth is that extremists both at home and abroad are often disaffected, frightened and angry people desperately searching for purpose, validation and meaning in a world they feel has left them behind. Its a sickness that can infect almost anyone, irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion or gender.

Its certainly taken hold of Jon Ritzheimer, a US marine veteran involved in the Oregon stand-off. Hes a member of the Three Percenter club, which alleges that their armed and trained members are defenders of the constitution willing to protect our rights against a tyrannical government and foreign invaders.( Like Bundy, they do not condone any threats or intimidation tactics unless an action is warranted .) Ritzheimer also resulted the armed, anti-Muslim mosque protests earlier this year in Arizona.

Before taking over the wildlife refuge, Ritzheimer like other extremists before him posted a goodbye videofor his family rationalizing his actions as defending freedom against a tyrannical government. I didnt come here to shoot, I came here to die, echoed another militia member, who identified himself merely as Captain Moroni.

Extremism comes in different colorings, ethnicities, beards and head coverings which is why racial profiling cannot protect us from all radical violence. Maybe its time for political leaders and law enforcement to acknowledge inconvenient truths and confront the extremists with American names and grievances as they would any other. The security of our homeland or at least our national wildlife refuges might depend on it.

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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