Gov.’s branding Mosque bombing ‘terrorism’ astonishes US Press

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

This Saturday, a Bloomington, Minnesota mosque was attacked with an improvised explosive device, which destroyed an office with fire and blew out windows but luckily no one was injured. Some members of the congregation were shaken up pretty badly.

On Sunday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton visited the complex, and said,

“What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly terrible act this was that was committed yesterday.. . As someone said in the meeting, if the roles were reversed, it would be called a terrorist attack. And that’s what it is, an act of terrorism.”

I admire the hell out of Mark Dayton, who voted against the Iraq War when he was in Congress. He did the right thing in visiting the damaged house of worship. So in analyzing his words I am not criticizing him at all.

But note that he quoted ‘someone at the meeting’, possibly a member of the congregation, as saying that ‘if roles were reversed’ . . . . ‘it would be terrorism.’ That is, if a Muslim had, God forbid, bombed a Christian church, then it would immediately be labelled terrorism in our society.

In other words, it is usually only terrorism in today’s America if the perpetrators are brown and/or Muslim.

To his credit, Gov. Dayton cut through this bigotted b.s. and said, that is what this attack was, it was terrorism.

And that became a headline this morning. The corporate media hadn’t really reported on this story much. There were few national organs that wrote a headline about the actual mosque bombing. But the headline on Monday at USA Today, WaPo and other news outlets was, “Governor calls bombing of mosque ‘terrorism.'” It is as though they were amazed he would say such a thing.

As usual, the Tweeter-in-chief stayed silent about this issue, even though he tweets on every act of “terrorism” that is brought to his attention. The message seems to be that it is all right for Muslims to be attacked for no good reason.

Back in the 1990s the US Federal Code defined terorism as a non-state actor committing violence against civilians in order to achieve a political purpose. By that definition, the mosque bombing was definitely terrorism.

After 9/11, terrorism became politicized. One state prosecutor tried to charge a set of bank robbers with terrorism along side criminal charges. The judge rightly threw it out. Robbing a bank scares the teller and the customers, but it isn’t terrorism because it does not have an obvious political motive.

Then ‘terrorism’ became racialized, so that white people typically aren’t charged with terrorism. A white supremacist terrorist cell in Kansas busted for planning a massive mosque bombing was rolled up last year by law enforcement. The discourse around them was not that of terrorism.

Dayton reversed this trend. He insisted that mosque-goers are human beings. Kudos!

But it is sad that his statement itself is so newsworthy.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

WCCO CBS: “‘Terrible, Dastardly, Cowardly’: Dayton, Ellison Condemn Mosque Bombing”

7 Responses

  1. The MSM is trying to terrorize Gov. Dayton for being “politically incorrect.” That’s how the MSM functions: It suppresses descent and hits hard if you get out-of-line.

  2. John O’Neill was blocked from investigating bombing of Planned Parenthood site as a terrorist act.

    I can’t put my hands on the outstanding book

    ‘The Man who Warned America’ by Murray Weiss about the life and work of O’Neill. He was a bulldog with many sidelines including women, but would have found out about the 9/11 attack if he had not been fired from the FBI because he was too much of a maverick. He was obsessed with Al Queda.

    Quicker than reading the book is the outstanding 2002 Front Line documentary on his life. If the US had understood what was in this report about how the US had not been serious in tracking these threats, and the agencies who should have caught the impending attack, as Thomas Drake found out in his audit of NSA and other agencies after 9/11, we could have avoided the failed “war on terror.”

    Here is link to Frontline documentary

    The Man Who Knew

    • According to former FBI interpreter Sibel Edmonds, the U.S. intelligence community was working with al-Qaeda up until 9/11 to operate as a “stay-behind” guerilla force in the event of Russian military aggression against her neighbors – and the FBI had information that an airplane terror attack was imminent one month prior to 9/11.

      She reported this to the U.S. Dept. of Justice Inspector General and the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility after being fired from the FBI; the investigators found her reports to be generally credible and that retaliation for her prior whistleblowing activities had been a substantial factor in her dismissal from the FBI.

      Ms. Edmonds testified in closed session to the 9/11 Commission. Her version of events was deemed credible by several members of Congress.

      The American Civil Liberties Union filed legal papers on her behalf in federal court claiming wrongful and retaliatory discharge of her FBI position which was dismissed due to State Secrets privilege.

      link to

  3. In contrast, the Quebec City mosque shooting was correctly deemed a terrorist attack by all levels of government here in Canada. There was minimal backlash.

  4. it would be useful for us and maybe Professor Cole can one day provide an article on how the term terrorism has been used throughout history to distinguish the difference between state sanctioned violence and violence committed by adversaries with myriad real or imagined grievances. The way that it is used currently is for the purpose of obfuscation and demonization. I do agree with the Governors use of the term to describe this act of violence.

  5. Scott in Montreal is quite correct. there was out pouring of support for the members of the congregation. it was deemed a terrorist attack by government officials all across Canada.

    Many in the msm in the U.S.A. seem to convey the message is terrorism is only what is aimed at the WASP. It doesn’t deal much with what is aimed at other Americans. Its a shame. Freedom of religion is a basic in any free society. What happened in this act of terrorism is that the terrorist said, you are not free to have the religion of your choice and when the politicans and media don’t get with the agenda, that it is terrorism it will continue, just as it did against the Jews prior to WW II in Germany.

    we can not permit terrorist acts against people based on their religion/ The Govenor did the right thing.

  6. Naturally, official government agencies will exclude themselves from the definition of terrorism. But state terrorism exists and should be called out also when it happens , like Saudi-Arabia in Yemen and Israel in Gaza.

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