By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today
At least twenty people have been killed and more than 30 injured in a mass shooting in a supermarket of the Texas city of El Paso on August 3, this year. The El Paso gunman-a 21-year-old man namely Patrick Crusius was arrested near the US-Mexico border.
Within 24 hours, in another terror incident in Dayton, Ohio, nine people were dead and many injured, and nearby police officers engaged Connor Betts, 24-year-old male, shortly after hearing gunfire. The gunman behind the mass shooting in Ohio also killed his sister.
BBC reported: “Just minutes before the Saturday-morning massacre at a Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso…a seething, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared on the website 4chan, and by evening investigators were probing if it had been posted by shooting suspect Patrick Crucius…El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters…Right now we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime…The manifesto, titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” starts out proclaiming the author’s support for the March shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. This attack…is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas…I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion…Then the author writes about his weaponry, griping that he’d rather have used something far more powerful….Governments kill millions through imperialistic wars, he reasons—so why shouldn’t he?”
According the Veterans today, “A Twitter account that appeared to belong to Crusius was shut down Saturday evening. Tweets on the account had praised President Trump and, in particular, his effort to build a wall along the U.S- Mexico border.”
In this regard, The Daily Beast wrote: “White supremacist shooters sometimes post manifestos or links to other literature, in the hopes that a terror attack will draw attention to the writings. These manifestos are sometimes intended to inspire other acts of violence. The author of the apparent El Paso manifesto claimed to have been inspired by a manifesto written by the white supremacist who allegedly murdered 51 worshippers at a mosque in New Zealand this year. The alleged attacker of a synagogue in Poway, California, earlier this year also cited that manifesto”.
Next day, President Trump told reporters, “perhaps more has to be done” to prevent mass shootings following the El Paso attack and another in Ohio…Hate has no place in our country, and we are going to take care of it..This has been going on for years, for years and years in our country and we have to get it stopped.”
The president linked both attacks to a “mental illness problem” by saying: “These are people who are very, very seriously mentally ill”.
Rejecting Trump’s claim, critics argue that the roots of the two massacres lie in the president’s language about immigrants and Mexicans in particular, and his opposition to gun control.
According to the CNN, “Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native, told CNN that Mr Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric had stoked divisions…He’s an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country…Also on CNN, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, another Democratic presidential hopeful, said: “Donald Trump is responsible for this… because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry…White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney rejected the Democrats’ allegations and attributed the attacks to “sick” individuals…Mr Trump, who has made curbing illegal immigration one of the key points of his presidency, has previously made derogatory comments about Mexican migrants and has called large groups of migrants trying to reach the US an “invasion”. In recent weeks, Mr Trump has been accused of racism after his attacks on members of Congress who are members of racial or ethnic minorities.”
Nevertheless, these attacks are not the result of mental illness of the shooters and cannot be ignored as domestic terrorism.
Although American President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama played their roles in encouraging the ‘Christian Taliban’ in the aftermath of the orchestrated drama of the September 11 tragedy, yet the US fanatic President Trump has broken their records by creating, promoting and leading the ‘Christian Taliban’.
Like the Christianity, Islam is a religion of peace and does not permit acts of terrorism such as bomb blasts suicide attacks etc. But, the Holocaust warriors-American Zionist Jews and American typical Christians who created Jihadist outfits are misguiding the international community by equating the ideology of Islam with terrorism. Control of these Jews on the mainstream media houses of the world is so strong that terms such as Islamic militants, Jihadist groups and holy warriors (Mujahideen) have become popular. While reporting regarding global and regional events of terrorism, they do not use the terms like ‘Christian Taliban’ or Christian militants.
Everyone knows that Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban were created by the American CIA to fight against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
In this respect, former British Foreign secretary, Robin Cook stated, “Throughout the 1980s, he [Bin Laden] was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.”
The then US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski met Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and said about the militants (Mujahideen), “We know of their deep belief in God, and we are confident their struggle will succeed…because, you are fighting against the infidel Russians.”
After obtaining the political and economic interests of the US-led Israel, Washington had left Afghanistan in particular and Pakistan in general to face the fallout of a prolonged conflict—terrorism and instability. These Mujahideen who pulled the Russians out of Afghanistan, later become the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and now, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL). They got the label of terrorists. Especially, in case of Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are called as Taliban.
On the other side, the US authorities remain reluctant to call the extremists’ terrorism-related assaults in America as terrorist incidences and have been labeling them as just ‘hate crime’ or ‘act of evil’, as these extremists have operated on different beliefs even leading them to commit crimes/acts of violence, including murder of a number of Americans.
Domestic extremism in the US mainly has two origins, i.e. “homegrown” and “external” (Mainly Islamic extremism), however, statistics of US Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicate that during the last 16 years (2001-2017), 74% of attacks have been undertaken by the homegrown extremist elements. These 16 years are those which have allegedly been termed as the rise of Islamic extremism in the US, which is not supported by the statistics. These dual standards of Washington should be questioned by countries, including Pakistan, which have remained target of the American false allegations of supporting Taliban or terrorism.
A report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism pointed out: “There were at least 50 extremist-related killings in the US in 2018, making it the fourth-deadliest year on…The extremist-related murders were overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists…Every one of the perpetrators had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement…White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings.”
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told lawmakers on July 23, 2019 that the bureau has recorded about 100 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects in the past nine months and that most investigations of that kind involve some form of white supremacy.
Adopting extremist views and committing horrendous acts of violence in the name of some ‘righteous’ cause in the US, be it religion or politics or just plain old hatred, is not something that only Muslims, or Arabs, or immigrants, or any other group of people commit. It is something beyond that as demonstrated politically. These violent acts amount to terrorist events backed extremist ‘Christian Taliban’ whom President Trump is promoting.
In order to win the US presidential election, President Donald Trump manipulated various terror assaults of Europe and America, shifting the blame game towards the Muslims. Trump used each terror assault of Europe and the shooting at San Bernardino, California in fueling anti-Muslim racialism in America and to get the sympathies of a majority of the ordinary Americans. More he exploited the threat of Islamic militants and so-called threat of Islamophobia, the more popularity he got among general masses of America, who have been impressed by his stereotypes. Particularly, after the incident at San Bernardino, Donald Trump had called for a ban on Muslims, entering the United States.
Regarding the shooting at the gay night club in Orlando (Florida) which killed at least 49 individuals on June 12, 2016, The Washington Post in an article, under the caption, “Trump’s reckless, dangerous Islamophobia helps the Islamic State”, wrote on June 13, 2016: “Trump’s standards, his comments about the Orlando shooting have been reckless and self-serving. They are also dangerous for the country…the strongest remaining force that propels the Islamic State is the Islamophobia of Trump and his European counterparts, argue senior intelligence strategists for the U.S.-led coalition. Inflammatory, xenophobic statements about Muslims reinforce the jihadists’ claims that they are Muslim knights fighting against an intolerant West. Trump unwittingly gives them precisely the role they dream about.”
In this regard, Khaled A. Beydoun opined on the Aljazeera multimedia network on March 13, 2016, “The world brand Trump is becoming synonymous with expansion of racism and incitement of Islamophobia…I think Islam hate us, said Donald Trump, 24 hours before the Republican presidential debate in Miami…is a call to his voting base, to further galvanise them around a disdain for Islam that not only heightens hateful fervour at his rallies, but incites violence on American blocks and pushes bigots to the ballot box…the statement is rooted in the very ignorance and hate which made him the darling of bigots and surged him up the polls…Islamophobia…the suspicion and fear of Islam and its 1.7 billion adherent-is political ideology for Trump.”
After the shooting in Orlando, he also criticized the US President Obama to resign, slamming him for having “disgracefully refused to even say the words “Radical Islam.” Calling on his opponent-candidate Clinton to get out of the general election race for the same reason, Trump said, “Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen…we cannot afford.” Trump again remarked that he would decrease immigration from the Middle East because “since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States.” He, once again, asked for the ban of any Muslims, entering the US. On June 19, 2016, during his interview with the CBC News, he called for racial “profiling of Muslims inside the United States to combat terrorism.” He reiterated his call for more surveillance of mosques and warned that radical Muslims were trying to take over our children.
After becoming American president, Trump had left no stone unturned in implementing anti-Muslim policies, while speaking openly against the Muslims and Syrian immigrants. Trump had accelerated exaggerating the so-called threat of Islamophobia, while, some incidents were not linked to the ISIS, but were the result of self-radicalization of the individuals, particularly of Christians.
President Trump introduced a broader policy aimed at implementing “extreme vetting” for immigrants from certain countries. As president, he introduced a ban on arrivals to the US from a number of mainly-Muslim countries.
To what extent the President Trump created the ‘Christian Taliban’ at the cost of the Muslims could be judged from the terrorism-related assaults which occurred in the Spanish city of Barcelona on August 17, 2017 and in her town of Cambrils on August 18, 2017. After condemning the terror attacks and offering US assistance to Spain, the President Trump suggested “fighting terrorism by executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood.”
Besides, without bothering about criticism of the US-led Western countries and the Islamic World, including some law-makers and politicians at home, on May 24, 2018, President Trump implemented his decision of December 6, 2018 by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and reversed nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and set in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City.
As regards the ‘Christian Taliban’, under the caption “Trump is creating his American caliphate, and democracy has no defence”, Newrine Malik wrote in The Guardian on June 18, 2018: “If there was a dictator’s playbook, the Donald Trump administration would now be on the “Instrumentalise Religion” chapter. Last week, in what sounded like the launch of a US caliphate, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, reached for a biblical verse to defend his department’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children at the Mexican border, suggesting that God supports the government. “I would cite you to the apostle Paul, and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes…When the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked about Sessions’ statement and challenged to produce the passage in the Bible that says it is moral to separate families, she said: “I’m not aware of the attorney general’s comments or what he would be referencing, [but] I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is repeated throughout the Bible”….After Charlottesville, where a woman lost her life after being run over by a man who held racist, pro-Nazi views, Trump said that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. It was a normalisation of white supremacy…Now his administration’s use of religion to justify its laws is another step in an alarming direction. The government is not only unaccountable: it is doing God’s will. There should be no focus on the brutality of law, only on obedience to the sovereign. Sessions, the grand mufti, had pronounced his fatwa…It is chilling to see religion used this way in a supposedly sophisticated, liberal democracy, and in particular this element of it, which reduces politics to mere compliance. But it is comforting, in a macabre way, to have it proved that nowhere in the world have humans evolved beyond instrumentalising religion to justify tyranny. The most bewildering thing about US dictator creep isn’t that it’s happening: it’s that it is happening with such predictability…Americans shocked that ancient biblical texts preaching obedience to the law are being uttered by senior White House officials, those of us who have gone through the anguish of holy texts being used to justify crimes against humanity.”
In this respect, under the title, “Caliph Donald Trump And The Rise Of The Christian Taliban” in a blog published on the Malaysia Today Website,Mehdi Hasan warned about “a growing threat to the laws and values of the United States from a group of religious extremists and fanatics. No, he’s not talking about so-called jihadists or Islamists, or to “creeping Sharia.” Mehdi is referring to what he like to call the “Christian Taliban”—those Bible-thumping fundamentalists who are bent on theocratising the U.S. government.”
In this connection, under the caption, “It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban”, Multi Media Creator WebsiteMedium.Com pointed out on February 23, 2017: “The Council For National Policy is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a who’s who of prominent conservatives; Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain…the list goes on…This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America,” by bringing god into classrooms. I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim”…Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison millions of African Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas. In doing these things, evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from Muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence,” including; “deviant sexuality,” science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things. Evangelical Christians in the United States condemn Muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism…And it’s used repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights — particularly their freedom to choose and even their right to exist…in the south religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks…Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith”…evangelicals will never see themselves as tyrants…This mandate engages them in a zero-sum game to convert the country, indeed the whole world, to their faith. And over the decades they have increasingly reached for more and more political power to achieve this goal. This is exactly what ISIS proposes, by trying to establish a global Muslim caliphate. The goal of religious extremists, regardless of faith, is always the same: Dominion….And God blessed them, and God said unto them…Evangelicals are The American Taliban…The entire purpose of this article is to point out that religious extremism also exists in America as it does in other parts of the world, and that it is not just radical Muslims who are extreme, it’s also radical Christians…and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you.”
In this context, under the caption, “Donald Trump’s administration acts like the Taliban. The only difference? We voted for our leaders,” on July 7, 2018,Siddique Malik wrote in the USA Today: “There is no difference between a clean-shaven white man in a suit justifying cruelties in the name of a religion and a bearded brown man in a tunic and headgear doing the same…So why is America behaving like Afghanistan?….America, as a nation, must accept responsibility for the emergence of the racist, xenophobic, bigoted and misogynist cult of power also known as the Trump presidency.”
It is mentionable that addressing the joint session of the US Congress, Pope Francis said on September 24, 2015, “No religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism…We must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetual in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system…Every life is sacred.”
Taking note of America’s non-acceptance of the Syrian refugees, Francis reminded the law-makers by remarking that the United States “is part of a larger whole on America in the Americas, where immigration is a deeply rooted part of history…We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
Nonetheless, the US should be questioned by peace-loving, liberal and moderate people of America and those of other Western countries, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan which have remained target of the criticism in relation to the Taliban, militant outfits like ISIS or Al-Qaeda-supported terrorism that President Donald Trump, himself, is promoting the ‘Christian Taliban’, which have been resulted into the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
Note: I have also taken points from my related articles.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Email: [email protected]