Far right-wing conservatives have a propensity to believe in extremist views motivated by xenophobia and hatred. When these qualities combine it often leads to outbreaks of senseless violence and domestic terrorism. In the face of rising extremism across the country, the FBI has issued a warning which states that the likelihood of domestic terror is set to increase, specifically against Islam.
The FBI has warned that “militia extremists” are currently targeting Islamic institutions and Muslims. These groups have been monitoring targets in “Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas,” with the intent of conducting attacks on Muslims.
This information was released to authorities just days before a “freedom of speech” rally in Phoenix. As if they were flaunting the accusations against them, the group held the rally outside of a mosque, wore fatigues and carried loaded firearms.
Evidence of the terror threat posed by right-wing groups has been formally building since 2013. According to the FBI bulletin titled, “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets to Include Muslims,” one of the major motivating factors of the terror groups is an obsessive fear of losing the right to bear arms. They mistrust President Obama, who they feel not only sympathizes with Islam extremists but goes so far as to alter governmental policy to support and coincide with their goals. The militias also believes that Islam represents a threat to the US from abroad, in the same vein as illegal immigration and terrorism on a global scale.
Like their less outwardly vicious right-wing comrades, they are “seeking validation of anti-government conspiracy theories,” and are convinced that the U.S. government “allows the group Muslims of the Americas (Jamaat ul-Fuqra, hereinafter referred to as MOA) to operate “terrorist training camps” at dozens of locations across the United States.” According to the bulletin, which cites the Christian Action Network, professional hatemonger Pamela Geller and right-wing propaganda site “World Net Daily“, this sort of deluded and criminal behavior tends to surge in response to acts of terror in the Arab world.
As recently as Sept 2014, a plot was uncovered by these far-right domestic terrorists, located in Mississippi, to kidnap and behead a Muslim person and post the video on the internet. Earlier this year, a US terror leader was found attempting to organize training exercises in response to ISIS and specifically seeking out “ISIS locations.”
The FBI has warned that these types of biased and disgusting attacks will likely increase based on current anti-Muslim sentiment and the rising trend of xenophobia in general. The trend of the “militia” movement could also affect the way the right internally frames their Second Amendment debate, with a shift away from traditional concerns and towards more direct anti-government organization.
The FBI also predicts, “the addition of new types of targets.” This is an ominous reference, one that we should be particularly cognizant of. If the right-wing extremists begin to think their civic duty is to stalk out and murder people of the Muslim faith simply because they do not understand it, what does that mean for anyone of any faith, or anyone who diverges from the extremism of the right? With Donald Trump’s divisive and atrociously discriminatory pronouncements gaining popularity among the easily frightened and paranoid, one shudders to imagine how this might eventually play out. America is supposed to be a land of tolerance, a melting pot of cultures coexisting in peace. Our Muslim citizens deserve much better than to be singled out for crimes committed thousands of miles away.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.