Contradictions in the American “war on terrorism”

Ray Hanania’s Column

If you listened to President George W. Bush carefully, you would think that his war on terrorism is a “American jihad” that is founded on a single standard of justice for all.

But, it’s not.

The Republican President heads a political party that has in fact labeled things it dislikes as terrorism, and obfuscated those that it doesn’t want to deal with.

While international terrorism is a real threat, a greater threat is right here in the United States. Urban terrorism is a plague that continues to take more American lives than any time-span of international terrorism.

In cities like Chicago and New York, the murder rates have exceeded more than 600 people each in the past year.

No one has stood up and demanded that New York’s tough-talking Mayor Rudolph Guilliani or Chicago’s chortling Mayor Richard M. Daley stop the killing on the streets of their cities.

I have been called “unpatriotic” even though I served during the Vietnam War and a decade in the National Guard. My father, George, served in the U.S. 5th Army, and his brother, Moussa, served in the United States Navy, both battling to free Europe from Nazi slavery.

Yet Americans have no problem demanding that other countries “stop the terrorism.” Pakistan. Palestine. All the countries the United States has a history of disliking.

But not Chicago or New York City.

Nearly 70 percent of the murders in the two cities are the result of drug related urban terrorism by identifiable street gangs and street gang members who are known to police but who continue their terrorism with impunity.

The brave law enforcement officials love to hunt down international terrorism, but they seem hapless in the face of the terrorism in their own back yards. In fact, Chicago police would rather beat up on Arab grandmas at airports, like the Chicago woman who was arrested at O’Hare Airport on Dec. 28 while traveling to attend the funeral of her father in the Israeli military occupied West Bank.

Police claimed publicly that the woman, 53 year old mother of seven and grandmother of eight, Anna Mustafa, was arrested because she said she had a bomb in her purse three times and called police “fascist pigs” when she was singled out for a security check.

The truth is that the exchange of words only took place after she was arrested. She was arrested when a loud-mouth Chicago cop — Chicago cops are notorious for trampling on the civil rights of minority Chicagoans — refused to allow Mustafa to give her side of the story.

“If you open your mouth one more time, I am going to arrest you, ” the Chicago police officer threatened when Mustafa said she never said she had a bomb in her purse.

Mustafa was singled out when an airline official asked her if she wanted “Muslim food” before boarding her flight — a transparent move to identify passengers as Muslim.

Picking on grandmas is easy for American law enforcement, especially if they are Arab or Muslim Americans. The more Politically Correct, the easier to enforce laws, too; which explains why they are targeting 6,000 Arabs and Muslims in a crackdown on immigration violations and ignoring 300,000 others including many from Europe whose violations have gone un-enforced for years.

But picking on drug dealers, who account for most of the victims of the record-setting murder rates of many American urban cities, is too difficult. And it also has to do with racism. You see, most Americans do not like people of color, such as African Americans, Arab Americans or Hispanic Americans.

As long as the murders take place in minority communities, why launch a $6 billion war against urban terrorism? Efforts to persuade African Americans to leave American with a free ticket back to Africa sound like jokes today, but were serious efforts during the decades-long racism of White European society.

It is one reason why so many African Americans have expressed sympathy for the unconstitutional mistreatment of Arab and Muslim Americans, and why they, more than White European Americans, oppose the Patriotism laws that have stripped Arabs and Muslims in America of their constitutional rights.

American is a Democracy, as long as you are White, have ancestors from Europe and agree to policies of discrimination.

But, if you happen to be a person of color who believes that the Government of Israel is a racist government that discriminates against Arabs, you’re a terrorist.

For every American interest protected by the so-called “war on terrorism” in foreign lands, an American person of color is the victim of drug-related, urban terrorism on the streets of America.

It is hypocrisy and it should change.

Will it though, is another question.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at

Back to Top 

Like this ? Vote for it to win in MMN Contest