AOC calls out the FBI’s double standards on white supremacist and Islamist terrorism

Andy Gregory
Thursday 06 June 2019 13:00
news

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken the FBI to task over double standards in its treatment of white supremacist and Muslim extremism.

In 2018, domestic extremism took the lives of 50 people in the US, joining 2015 and 2016 as the deadliest years since 1970.

Every single one of the 2018 perpetrators were linked to at least one far-right movement, with the exception of one who had recently moved to supporting Islamist extremism, analysis by the Anti-Defamation League shows.

Yet as Ms Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the FBI defines extremist violence carried out by Muslims as terrorism, whereas white extremists are accused of hate crimes - a less serious offence.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez questioned Michael McGarrity, FBI’s assistant director for counter-terrorism, at a committee hearing on Tuesday. She said:

It seems as though white men invoking white supremacy and engaging in mass shootings are almost immune from being labelled domestic terrorists in their violence.

She highlighted similar atrocities where white supremacist perpetrators had been charged with hate crimes and Islamists had been charged with domestic terrorism.

“We’ve seen white supremacist attacks that were clearly domestic terrorism. Experts, in fact the acting [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions even called some of these incidents ‘domestic terrorism incidents’."

But, she said, the black church shooting in Charleston and synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh "were only designated and charged as hate crimes, not domestic terrorist incidents”.

Mr McGarrity continued to deny that religion played any role in the designated charges.

He said: “You’re not gonna find an actual charge of domestic terrorism out there.”

“Well it says here that the San Bernardino shooting or the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, they were designated and charged as domestic terrorist incidents," AOC replied

Mr McGarrity explained this by saying that because Muslim perpetrators tended to be involved with international organisations they were charged with terrorism.

To which AOC asked: “Is white supremacy not a global issue?”

She later took to Twitter to share a clip of the hearing.

She wrote:

"This hearing was wild.

First the FBI witness tried to say I was wrong. I tried to be generous + give benefit of doubt, but then we checked. I wasn’t.

Violence by Muslims is routinely treated as “terrorism,” White Supremacist violence isn’t.

Neo-Nazis are getting off the hook."

People were quick to back Ms Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.

And to point out how easy it can be to give extremist acts motivated by white supremacy the definition they deserve.

Some argue that white supremacists have been emboldened under Donald Trump's presidency.

In a telling display of the heightened paranoia levelled at Muslims in the United States, president Donald Trump has continued to implement his “Muslim travel ban”, which at one point even seemed threatened in the Supreme Court after his re-tweets of content by Britain First’s Jayda Fransen highlighted his anti-Muslim bias.

Ms Fransen was later sentenced to 36 weeks in jail for several counts of religiously-aggravated harassment.

While Mr Trump apologised for sharing the inaccurate clips on Twitter, he has failed to denounce far-right protestors at Charlottesville and recently engaged in false attacks over Muslim politician Ilhan Omar's stance on 9/11.

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'It took New Zealand six days to ban automatic weapons. Sandy Hook was six years ago'

Read more: Trump mocks AOC's Green New Deal and claims wind energy doesn't work when it's not windy

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