Sunday, February 10, 2008

Home Grown Terrorism

The neo-nazis in Maury County burned the Islamic Center in Columbia, TN to the ground. Thank the Divine in all the forms and faces that no one was injured.

It's a hate crime, which means the FBI is involved and hopefully the good ol' boys won't be able to sweep this under the rug if they were so inclined. I hope they catch the bastards and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Those bastards are terrorists.

They intended to spread fear through the Muslim residents and citizens of Maury County, Tennessee, and the United States of America. They intended to reassert their sense of being powerful and being able to oppress others. To violently assert their mistaken sense of superiority and self-righteousness. To communicate what they would like to do to every person who doesn't share their skin color, religion, etc.

This is the result of the anti-Islamic rhetoric that has taken over the Republican party. This is the result of people who believe the lies that the television is feeding about Islam -- usually, without ever having met a single Muslim individual. That mindset allows the hatred and the misunderstanding to grow, until it does become violent. Words can and do support terrorism, and every slur against Islam, every misrepresentation of Islamic culture does just that. It supports and undergirds the mentality that leads people to do things like this.

I expect to see and hear a number of arguments that this doesn't reflect the actual attitudes of people in Maury County, and on a certain level it doesn't -- most of them wouldn't actually go out and commit a violent crime. However, the people of Maury County, the people of Tennessee, and the people of the United States as a whole, have to realize that incidents like these don't form ex nihilo in the mind of a racist redneck one night. They grow out of, and are supported and informed by, a cultural context and a cultural rhetoric, and when something like this happens, it's time to take a look at the social constructs that fostered and gave birth to it.

The rhetoric of hatred is a problem anywhere it is found.

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