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Is it terrorism? Post NZ attack, Muslims see double standard

17 11 2
25.03.2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been hailed on social media by Muslims around the world for her response to two mosque shootings by a white nationalist who killed 50 worshippers. She wore a headscarf at the funerals in line with Islamic custom and swiftly reformed gun laws.

An image of the prime minister embracing a grieving woman was projected onto the world's tallest tower in Dubai over the weekend with the Arabic word for "peace."

Yet for many Muslims, Ardern's most consequential move was immediately labeling the attack an act of terrorism.

That stands in contrast to numerous ideologically-motivated mass shootings in North America by white non-Muslim gunmen that were not labeled acts of terrorism, say Muslim leaders and terrorism experts.

For too long, terror attacks have been depicted as a uniquely Muslim problem, with acts of violence described as "terrorist only when it applies to Muslims," said Abbas Barzegar of the Council on American Islamic Relations. He works on documenting and combating anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia.

"We've got an issue in this country where anytime a violent act is committed by a Muslim, the media starts at terrorism and then works backward from there," added Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank.

It's the opposite when the shooter is non-Muslim and white, said Clarke, who's spent his career studying terrorism, particularly Muslim extremism.

The March 15 attacks on the New Zealand mosques raised questions about whether Islamophobia and the threat of violent right-wing extremism was being taken seriously by politicians and law........

© Japan Today