The right-wing response to the Paris terror attacks is predictably hysterical, racist and xenophobic. It’s everything the terrorists could possibly want, and a distraction from a very real threat.
The world is still reeling from the terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people on Friday. While the rest of the world mourns, the American right-wing is engaging in the usual orgy of racism, xenophobia, jingoism, fear-mongering and saber-rattling.
● GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said that he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques with suspected terrorist ties.
● Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush called for the revival of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance.
● Bush also told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the Paris attacks should bring about a more rigorous screening process for refugees; one that only allows Christian refugees into the US.
● New Jersey governor Chris Christie told radio host Hugh Hewitt that not even “three-year-old orphans” should be welcome.
● GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee demanded that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stop refugees from unrest in the Middle East. “If @SpeakerRyan will not lead & reject the importation of those fleeing the Middle East he needs to step down today & let someone else lead,” Huckabee tweeted. (Despite being a minister, Huckabee’s obviously forgotten Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”
● Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) will introduce a bill to halt visas for refugees from about 30 countries who are fleeing extremist violence.
● Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned that “there’s a 9/11 coming” after the Paris attacks.
● Twenty-six Republican governors are using the Paris attacks as an excuse to reject Syrian refugees. According to legal experts, the governors probably have no legal standing to block the federal government from settling refugees admitted to the country.
● Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter tweeted: “Can we all agree now? No more Muslim immigration. How is this making life better for us? But the mass immigration machine churns on … What’s the upside of letting millions of Muslims migrate to western countries?”
● WorldNetDaily columnist Lord Christopher Moncton said that in response to the Paris terrorist attacks the U.S. should consider banning Muslims from holding public office, “on grounds of a grievous and life threatening conflict of interest.”
● Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle called refugee resettlement in the U.S. “forced infiltration.”
● Right-wing pundit and Iraq war cheerleader Bill Kristol called for 50,000 troops to fight ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.
● Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney used the Paris attacks to shill for U.S. gun manufacturers’ stocks.
● Two mosques in Florida have received threats of violence. The Department of Justice is investigating several threats as potential hate crimes.
● A Muslim family in Orange County, Florida reported that their home was targeted with gunfire following the Paris attacks.
● A mosque in Ontario, known as the Mosque of Peace, was set ablaze on Saturday night, in what investigators are calling an act of arson.
● In Oregon, protestors rallied outside the Portland Rizwan Mosque, one wearing t-shirt reading “Proud to be an infidel. Islam is a LIE.”
● Vandals hurled dog feces and ripped a Koran at the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, Texas.
The right-wing rhetoric and threats of violence against Muslims after the Paris attacks is a reminder of what we know about terrorist violence in the U.S.: the main terrorist threat in the U.S. is not from Muslims, but from home-grown right-wing extremists. A 2014 survey of law enforcement agencies showed that 74 percent rated anti-government extremism as one of the top three threats of terrorist violence in their jurisdictions; 39 percent listed Islamic extremists as top threats.
Domestic right-wing terrorists are responsible for far more violence than American Muslims. In the decade after 9/11, an average of nine American Muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots in the U.S. Most were disrupted, and the 20 that were carried out accounted for 40 fatalities over 13.5 years. By comparison, right-wing extremists racked up 337 attacks per year, and 264 fatalities.
Loosely defined, right-wing terrorism encompasses actions carried out by groups or individuals associated with white supremacist, anti-government, sovereign citizen, patriot, militia or other ideologies targeting specific religious, ethnic, or other minority groups. Since 2009, such movements have grown in a backlash against the cultural shift represented by the election of the nation’s first African-American president. In 2009, a Department of Homeland Security report predicted such a backlash, but the report was withdrawn and the analytical team behind it “eviscerated,” after conservative media and politicians lashed out, calling it a “political attack.”
Conservative rhetoric in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, serves to draw attention away from the connection between right-wing rhetoric and right-wing terrorism, and obscure the right’s fingerprints on incidents of extremist violence.
- ● Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine African-American congregants at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C., was heavily influenced by a neoconfederate group with ties to Republican officeholders and candidates.
- ● Before Jarad and Amanda Miller shot and killed two police officers in Las Vegas, Nevada, they were among the armed militia members and other supporters who camped on rancher Cliven Bundy’s ranch, during a standoff with Federal Bureau of Land Management agents over Bundy’s illegal use of public lands.
- ● In 2010, Joseph Stack flew a small plane into the IRS office in Austin, Texas, killing himself and one IRS Official. Stack, who left behind a manifesto complaining about the agency, was praised by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
Unfortunately, the GOP’s rhetoric following the Paris attacks is everything that ISIS/Daesh could hope for, as Walled Aly — host of the Australian talk show “The Project” explained in a segment that has since gone viral. Aly explains that ISIS/Daesh wants to increase Western hostility towards Muslims, our of a belief that Muslims will have nowhere left to turn but to ISIS/Daesh.
In that sense, conservative media, governors, members of Congress, and presidential candidates are volunteering to be the best recruitment device that the terrorists who caused so much death and destruction in Paris could ask for. It’s a somewhat mutually beneficial arrangement, as whipping up the Islamophobia of the party’s base has been a winning strategy for the GOP before, and may prove so again in the presidential primaries.
Despite their penchant for accusing President Obama and the Democrats of giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy, the words and actions of conservatives only strengthen the terrorists. How many innocents will pay the price the next time?