There is systematic bias in the way terrorism is treated by authorities and the media in the United States, and the label is often only applied to cases where the perpetrator is Muslim, says a political analyst.
“When you look at the kinds of atrocities that have occurred in the United States over and over again they constantly focus on ‘Islamic terrorism’ when at any time it has to do with anyone who is Arab,” Scott Richard, former American intelligence linguist, told Press TV.
“Unfortunately there are fanatics and crazy individuals on every side of every religion and sadly the United States has used this as a tool,” he added.
Richard also noted that such attacks do not receive as much media coverage in poor and minority neighborhoods as they do in affluent neighborhoods.
“Certainly when it happens in neighborhoods that are of color, whether it would be African Americans or Mexicans, they don’t get the same type of coverage if something happens in a white rich neighborhood,” the analyst said. “I think this is absolute hypocrisy.”
On Tuesday, a 29-year-old man rammed a truck into cyclists and pedestrians in New York City, killing at least eight people and injuring 12 others. Authorities swiftly branded the attack an “act of terrorism.”
The suspect was identified as Sayfullo Saipov. He is from Uzbekistan in Central Asia but has been living in the US since 2010. Law enforcement authorities said Saipov had been inspired by the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri ideology. He was never the subject of an FBI or NYPD investigation but he was reportedly on the radar.
The president said Wednesday he would end a particular immigration program known as the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
On Wednesday night, Trump even suggested in a tweet that the suspect should be executed.
Trump had earlier said that he might send Saipov, who he called an “animal,” to the US military prison at Guantanamo.
Trump’s response to the attack in New York City stands in stark contrast to his reaction to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last month.
On October 1, a man shot and killed 58 people at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, the largest mass murder in modern US history. Police have named Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white American from Nevada, as the suspect.
When President Trump was asked about possible gun-control legislation in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, he said, “That’s not for now.” The White House also said it was not the time to have political conversations. In addition, Trump declined to call the massacre an act of domestic terrorism.
Observers say such different responses are the product of a political calculation. The suspect in New York City was an immigrant who came to the US through the Visa Lottery program, a program Trump has criticized in the past. In the aftermath of the attack, the president seized the opportunity to further his agenda.
Whereas in Las Vegas, Trump insisted the event should not be politicized as there was no political will within the Republican Party and the president’s base for a debate about gun control.