Robert L Dear is suspected of first degree murder following a shooting at an abortion clinic in Colorado last week
Robert L Dear is suspected of first degree murder following a shooting at an abortion clinic in Colorado last week

Following two mass shootings in the US in recent weeks by white suspects, there has been increasing debate as to why the alleged perpetrators have not been labelled "terrorists".

Robert Lewis Dear, who is accused of killing three people at an abortion clinic in Colorado, and four men accused of shooting five people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis have appeared in court this week.

While Dear is suspected of first degree murder, the other four have been charged with a combination of second-degree riot and second-degree assault.

But unlike the Boston bombers, who killed three at the city's marathon in 2013, or the attackers in Paris - all of whom were Muslim - there has been a distinct lack of the word "terrorist" used by law enforcement or by the media in relation to the attacks.

This has already gained attention, and caused frustration in the US, with people pointing out the differences in media coverage:

Picture: Twitter/Deray McKesson

Speaking to i100.co.uk Abed Ayoud, the legal and policy director for Washington DC-based thinktank the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee explained that he was "surprised" and "disappointed" at the lack of the use of the word "terror" in relation to the attacks:

The only time the word terrorism or terrorist is used is when the perpetrator happens to be an Arab or a Muslim.

When the perpetrator happens to be a white American then the terminology is changed. So if it’s a white person then often we will hear that they have mental issues, they are troubled, different descriptions for their mental state.

  • Abed Ayoud
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