Contributed by Frieze

With the increasing amount of terrorist attacks in the United States, people of the community display the need for action against it.

Ritika Vonguru and Anusha Sikand

Terrorism, Defined  

As terrorism surges worldwide, so does the rise of fear and racism. The term “international terrorism” has many definitions, however, the Global Terrorism Database defines it as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through the use of fear, coercion, or intimidation.” Notorious groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Al-Qaeda, the far left, and far right regimes all lay with similar roots: persecution and intimidation. Tactics of fear and blackmail are often displayed with religious, political, and personal motivations in mind. The KKK, the infamous white supremacist regime, is a group that instilled fear in black individuals during succession and eventually re surged during the 1920s against Jews and Catholics. The organization still continues today, promoting the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. Moreover, Al-Qaeda is a radical group most notorious from their involvement in 9/11. They were responsible for over 3,000 deaths and over 6,000 casualties. Terrorism has significantly risen globally in recent years, with over 100,000 attacks worldwide. In the past four decades, the US alone has experienced over 2,500 terrorist related attacks.


Germany’s Recent Shooting, 9/11, Xenophobia

As of now, mass shootings have been associated with gun violence, conflicts with other countries, and terrorist attacks. Racism is often the underlying factor of terrorist attacks worldwide. Such evidence is noted with devastating incidents such as the September 11th attacks. With 2,977 casualties and millions of traumatized people, the 9/11 terrorist attack was known by many as an eye-opening incident. It led to increased fear, racism, security checks, and many future catastrophic terrorist attacks. A recent shooting in Germany occurred on February 20th, starting with the Midnight shisha bar in the city center of Hanau. The gunman was concurred to have political motives and killed at least nine people after writing about the need to exterminate entire ethnic groups, leaving many to fear the rise of far-right extremism in Germany.


“What we know so far is that there is definitely a xenophobic motive.” said Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth.


Xenophobia has been prominent for centuries, recently causing many racial slurs towards East Asians. The outbreaks from the Coronavirus has led to increased xenophobia. Many people are attacking others who have East Asian features or have Asian descent both verbally and physically. 


Islamophobia in the Developed World

Concerns around Islam continue to grow significantly in Western Europe and America. With ISIS, a militant group defined by the United Nations as following a fundamentalist view of Sunni Islam, and several other religious extremist groups following attacks across the globe, the fear among American and European civilians only continues to escalate. The Pew Research Center conducted a study last year asking European citizens that live in countries with significant Muslim populations to indicate the level of concern they have about Islamic terrorism. The statistics conclude concern around residents rose to almost 70% in France, about 60% in Spain, and just over 50% in the U.K. and U.S. Recent responses to some of these statistics spiraled into the introduction of Brexit. Britain previously discussed wanting to withdraw from the European Union due to increased immigration, including many Muslim refugees fleeing persecution in countries such as Iraq and Syria. With this increase of “Islamophobia,” many Muslim individuals fear the prospect of hate crimes and rising racism. 


“Terrorist attacks stereotype people of a Muslim background which is not based on facts but racism. Many times people look at me differently due to the fact that I have a scarf on my head or the color of my skin when in reality terrorism is not connected to religion. In fact the the word Islam itself means peace,” expressed senior Safiya Dewji.


After countless terrorist attacks, society views these incidents with increasing intensity. A bulk of terrorist attacks occur in public places with a large concentration of individuals. For instance, July 7th, 2005 resided a series of seven coordinated suicide Islamic terrorist attacks in London, England. The extremists targeted commuters on public transportation during rush hour, mass killing 56 people. Upon these attacks, many promote the ideology that Muslims should be banned and that people with an Islamic background are a threat to society. The slogan “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” was created by people who believe Muslims are the sole cause of the terrorist attacks. While terrorist attacks do consist of Islamic groups, all of them are definitely not of Muslim decent. There are terrorist groups everywhere including, but not limited to, Afghanistan, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Somalia, and Egypt. A single race is not responsible for terrorism, a person is, and generalizing a person’s actions on a race is simply what many note as “racism at its finest.” This ideology many hold is what leads to people turning on each other based on their religious beliefs. 


Counter terrorism

In order to control the increased acts of racism against minority groups such as Latinos, Jews and Muslims, the FBI has made racial violence an equal priority to terrorism. Stereotypes are an underlying cause of misjudgment of a person or misinterpretation of reality. The spread of terrorism will only cause a division of countries and between the citizens who live in them.