Why Are We So Afraid Of The Word 'Terrorism?'
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Why Are We So Afraid Of The Word 'Terrorism?'

Does the color of our skin dictate whether we’re a terrorist? When is someone “mentally unstable” and a “terrorist”?

Why Are We So Afraid Of The Word 'Terrorism?'

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know the word terrorism, you’ve heard it on the news at least once a day, and it’s a constant political tactic used to get your vote. But what constitutes as terrorism? Universally, we have not yet reached a term to describe terrorism. Until the 1990s, terrorism was widely understood as organizations inciting violence for their political beliefs like the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Tamil Tigers, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigades—you get the Idea. All of these organizations have one thing in common — they wanted media’s attention using guerilla warfare tactics.

Until the Twin Tower attacks on September 11, 2001, our fear of terrorism was pretty obsolete, terrorism was prevalent, but we didn’t alter our lives in reaction to acts of terrorism, we didn’t amp up our security at airports(at one time, those security lines didn’t take 5 hours!), and we especially did not sensationalize it on the media. Personally, I grew up in a post-9/11 society, so I have no recollection of this, and I’ll continue to be “randomly selected” at TSA.

Then, September 11th, 2001 happened, and our society, as a whole, was scared. It wasn’t the first time America had faced such a horrific terrorist attack; the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, killed 168 people and planned on killing more had he not been caught first. It wasn’t as horrific as the Twin Towers, but the reaction of the American people was extremely different. On replay for days, weeks, months, all we saw was destruction and violence—we felt vulnerable. We signed away our freedom under the “Patriot Act” for security, we isolated ourselves, we didn’t want to fly in fear of another attack like this.

“Love thy neighbor” became “fear thy neighbor."

We closed our borders, and closed our hearts and minds. We created an “Other,” something to hate, target one enemy to serve justice. That became Islam.

The media sensationalized terrorism, we started a “War on Terrorism,” we entered an unnecessary war with Iraq, we spent billions of dollars on these wars, but why? Why be the gasoline to this already uncontrollable fire?

Now you can’t even turn on the TV without the word “TERRORISM” blaring on the TV, and our local, state, and executive politicians profiting on our fear. The media scapegoats Islam as the main perpetrator of terrorism, but what is terrorism? Who decides what an act of terror and a mere attack of violence?

Does the color of our skin dictate whether we’re a terrorist? When is someone “mentally unstable” and a “terrorist?"

Dylan Roof, who murdered nine African Americans in church, who was an outspoken white supremacist, was labeled as “mentally deranged.” Just recently, in London, Darren Osborne targeted a group of Muslims outside of a mosque and plowed them down, but his mother vows he was “mentally deranged”. Darwin Martinez Torres, who kidnapped, beat and murder Nabra Hussein, did this because of “road rage”, and there are no indications that her religion or the color of her skin played a part. In 2015, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, were brutally murdered by a man over “a parking spot”.

Why are we so hesitant to call non-Muslims terrorists, but automatically assume every attack carried out by a Muslim is a terrorist? (That’s not to say that yes, there is an issue that needs to be addressed with the rise of extremism, but this vicious cycle of Islamophobia, hatred, fear, and anger is only creating a hostile environment for these anti-American ideas to fester.)

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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