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Tag: Racism

Spike In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Reflects America’s ‘Tremendous’ Bigotry Problem

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

America seems to be in the grips of an epidemic of hate and bigotry unseen since 9/11, and, once again, innocent Muslims are the target of threats and outright violence.

Mainstream media and social media have been flooded with troubling reports of Islamophobia across the country in recent weeks.

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told MintPress News, “We’ve seen a tremendous spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in our society fomented by individuals like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum and others. We’ve seen a spike in hate crimes as well.”

The Color Of Terrorism: Who Gets Charged And Why?

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

What constitutes terrorism? Recent mass shootings in the United States, including those in San Bernardino, California, and Colorado Springs, have renewed a debate about how to define these disturbing and deadly incidents.

One part of the argument hinges on how journalists refer to these crimes in the media, with some, such as Jack Jenkins, arguing that Robert Louis Dear, the shooter who killed three people and wounded nine at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in November, is clearly a terrorist. By contrast, Kevin Gosztola observes that the term terrorism is essentially meaningless due to misuse.

Beyond how the media discusses mass killings, another factor is when and how courts decide to bring terrorism charges against a suspect. On Nov. 30, a Colorado court charged Dear with first-degree murder, but it could take weeks or months longer before Dear could face additional charges, including terrorism, amid an ongoing federal investigation. At the same time, the shooting in San Bernardino is already being treated as terrorism by federal investigators.

‘Police Lives Matter’ March In Austin, Texas, Hosted By Ex-Cop Accused Of Violence

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and MintPress News

An Austin, Texas, police constable with a violent past as an officer is organizing a “Police Lives Matter” march in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, which police supporters blame for the recent death of a Houston-area sheriff’s deputy.

Shannon J. Miles was arrested on Aug. 29 and charged with fatally shooting Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth on Aug. 28. Miles allegedly shot Goforth 15 times, including in the head and back, after sneaking up on him from behind. In response to the incident, pro-police marches are planned to take place in Houston on Sept. 12 and Austin on Sept. 19.

Although Miles has no known connection to the Black Lives Matter movement and was once found mentally unfit to stand trial for a 2012 assault charge, police officials were quick to make the connection. The Associated Press quoted Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman as saying that the “dangerous national rhetoric that is out there today … has gotten out of control.”

Islamophobia Rising: FBI Warns ‘Militia Extremists’ Are Targeting Muslims

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

While the mainstream media showers attention on any crime with even the slightest hint of a connection to ISIS or other Muslim extremists, less attention is being paid to a growing number of threats against everyday Muslims in the United States despite the FBI raising the alarm.

The FBI issued an intelligence bulletin in May, warning that “militia extremists” are increasing their violent rhetoric against Muslims and even potentially making concrete plans to target them for violence. “The FBI makes these assessments with high confidence on the basis of a large body of source reporting generated mainly since 2013,” noted the bulletin. This marks a change from the militia’s usual targets, the agency notes, which typically include the government and any group perceived as a threat to Second Amendment rights.

Few mainstream media journalists seem to have reported on this bulletin or the concrete threats that it outlines, but some members of the independent media have analyzed its contents. Writing for the Electronic Intifada, Rania Khalek, a journalist whose work focuses on the underclass and oppressed populations, highlighted one incident:

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression Of Blacks Continues In US

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Genocide is a word which may bring to mind images of large-scale ethnic cleansing and mass graves like those created by German Nazis or Bosnian Serbs. Some acts of genocide, however, are slower, more subtle, and a good deal more insidious, like the acts the United States continues to carry out against its black- and brown-skinned population.

The word “genocide” was defined in the 1940s, as the world struggled to deal with the massive body count from Nazi Germany, whose supporters killed some 6 million Jews and another 5 million from other groups like Roma Gypsies, LGBTQ people, and citizens of Russia and Poland. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, ratified in 1951, defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” This includes not just killing and bodily harm, but also any deliberate acts which make survival difficult or impossible, like the removal of children from their families. While the Nazis were explicit about their policies of racial extermination, the convention admits that in most cases, genocide “must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.”

A Year After Mike Brown’s Death, Ferguson Activists Fear Little Has Changed

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

It’s been one year since Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown outside his apartment complex in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Despite superficial changes in the political landscape, people are still being shot by police and community members and activists are still struggling for justice.

Speaking with MintPress News, Joshua Saleem, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Peace Education program, said the past year has made him more cynical about the future. The AFSC is a nonprofit created by the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, who have a strong emphasis on nonviolent conflict resolution and peace.

“I was very hopeful a year ago when I saw people paying attention to something that the community of color here in St. Louis has known for a long time,” Saleem said. “But now I’m a little more skeptical, even with the Department of Justice and the work they’ve done, there’s a lot of pushback and a lot of resistance to the change that needs to happen when it comes to undoing institutional racism in the St. Louis region.”