An Arab civil rights activist was attacked in Brooklyn Wednesday by a man who hurled slurs and threatened to behead her to “see how your people feel about it,” authorities and the victim said.
Linda Sarsour, 34, director of the Arab American Association of New York, was leaving the group’s headquarters…when Brian Boshell, 45, allegedly threatened her, called her an “Arab bitch” and insulted her in Arabic. Boshell, who is white, then allegedly chucked a trash can at her…
Here’s an example of what can happen when politicians and media figures rile up the public with rhetoric like “we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice,” which is a thinly veiled way of promising to kill people. An instinctive feeling of rage towards ISIS after hearing news of another American’s beheading is certainly understandable but being an adult, not to mention a public figure, means you might have to weigh the consequences of your response before giving it. When the Vice President reacts to a tragic death by saying something essentially along the lines of “let’s exterminate those barbarians,” bigots might respond by directing their rage at innocent people. Obviously it’s not Joe Biden’s fault this attack occurred, but he, other elected officials, and the media should give measured, contextualized responses to events that could incite violence. After 9/11, there was an enormous increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Everyone should be wary of what sort of ugliness their words might inspire.
A study published last year by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition documented the effects of…mass surveillance. In targeted communities, a culture of enforced self-censorship takes hold and relationships of trust start to break down. As one interviewee said: “You look at your closest friends and ask: are they informants?”
This is what real fear of surveillance looks like: not knowing whom to trust, choosing your words with care when talking politics in public, the unpredictability of state power.
In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.
Of the 13,288 people killed by terrorist attacks last year, seventeen were private U.S. citizens, or .001 percent.