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Masood Akhtar: 9/11 (Version 2.0) — New domestic terrorism laws needed to combat most significant threat posed by “white supremacists”

Masood Akhtar

Today, it is a reminder of a horrific terrorist attack on U.S. soil, simply remembered as 9/11. This attack had a profound and lasting impact on our country which we all call our home. President George W. Bush declared a global war on “terrorism,” an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq took place, tightened security measures were placed, the controversial USA Patriotic Act passed, and a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security was created.

Of the 19 9/11 hijackers, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, 2 came from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one came from Lebanon, and one came from Egypt. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed his first Muslim ban executive order banning entry into the U.S. of nationals from 7 Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syrian, Sudan, and Yemen). Yet Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon, and Egypt were not on the list of banned countries. The executive order also placed a ban on refugees coming to the U.S. despite the fact that no person accepted to the U.S. as a refugee, Syrian or otherwise, has been implicated in a terrorist attack since the Refugee Act of 1980.

Therefore, in my opinion, the Muslim and refugee ban was simply a political decision and had nothing to do with homeland security.

In 2019, there were more mass shootings (417) across the U.S than there were days in the year. It has also surpassed the prior record of 337 mass shootings in 2018, 346 mass shootings in 2017 and 382 mass shootings in 2016. By July 2020, the U.S has already suffered 305 such shootings, including 60 in May and 95 in June.

These numbers are very alarming. So let’s ask a few questions:

• Were these shootings carried out by ISIS and or al-Qaida operatives?
• Were these shootings carried out by Muslims from banned Muslim countries?
• Were these shootings carried out by any refugees?
• Were these shootings carried out by any immigrants?

The answer to these questions is a resounding “NO”

According to a new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, two-thirds of those attacks in 2019 and over 90 percent of those attacks in 2020 were carried out by white supremacists – the most significant threat. In other words, “White supremacy is becoming an American ISIS.”

Therefore, I applaud the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s recent decision to label white supremacists as the most serious threat facing our country. DHS also stated that this threat is even more significant than the immediate danger from foreign terrorists. Earlier, the FBI’s Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security that the FBI is currently investigating 850 cases of potential domestic terrorism and considers it a serious and persistent threat but can’t prosecute them because laws
don’t exist.

That is why today I am asking Honorable Chad F. Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, to please take the following critical next steps before it’s too late:

  •  Ask Congress to revisit the definition of terrorism to make sure that any individual who terrorizes and kills innocent people and poses a substantial and persistent threat to the security of this great nation is called a terrorist, regardless of his/her religion, color or ethnicity. This will allow you to immediately label white supremacists as “Domestic Terrorists”
  • Ask Congress to add white supremacists and any other groups that immediately pose any national security threat to the list of terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaida as Canada did recently, and allow you to prosecute them the way you prosecute any foreign terrorist organization, and
  • We, as a community, will also be willing to testify before the Congress in support of these steps in an effort to keep this country safe.

I, personally, promise you that I will do my part because of my love for this country. I always remind myself of what President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This was his call to action for the public to do what is right for the greater good. The time has come to fulfill his dream.

May God protect the United States of America from becoming White America or Black America or Brown America … Amen.