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March 18, 2015 9

Arizona Shooting Spree Suspect May Have White Supremacist Connections

After a man­hunt that lasted sev­eral hours and involved mul­ti­ple police depart­ments, author­i­ties in Mesa announced the appre­hen­sion of a sus­pect believed respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple shoot­ings in Mesa on March 18 that killed one and injured at least five more.   The sus­pect in the shoot­ings has been iden­ti­fied by media reports as Ryan Elliott Giroux.

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Giroux has a past crim­i­nal his­tory, includ­ing a stint in state prison.  A Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions mug shot from his time in prison reveals that Giroux likely is or was a white suprema­cist, based on his facial tat­toos.  Giroux had the words “skin” and “head” tat­tooed on his eye­brows, while next to his left eye is a promi­nent “88” tat­too.  The numer­i­cal sym­bol “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the 8th let­ter of the alpha­bet), is one of the most popular white suprema­cist tat­toos in the United States.

Giroux also has a Celtic knot­work tat­too on his chin.  Such tat­toos are pop­u­lar with white suprema­cists, though also used by others.

The shoot­ings began at a motel in Mesa around 8:45am, where two peo­ple were shot, one fatally.  The shooter went to a nearby restau­rant, where he allegedly shot a woman and stole a car.  Other shoot­ings occurred as the sus­pect tried to evade appre­hen­sion.   Mesa police offi­cers even­tu­ally tracked down and appre­hended Giroux.

The motive for the shoot­ings is not yet known.

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February 13, 2015 1

A Tragic Murder, Hate Crimes, and the Need to Fight Stereotypes

The tragic mur­der of three Mus­lim stu­dents in Chapel Hill, North Car­olina this week has stirred deep emo­tions.  While all of us should refrain from rush­ing to judg­ment about why they were attacked, we can cer­tainly under­stand the pow­er­ful impact this hor­rific crime has had, not only on the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, but on Amer­i­cans of good will.

Until the inves­ti­ga­tion is com­pleted, the evi­dence ana­lyzed, and the case pre­sented, it is impos­si­ble to know whether or not this case meets the legal def­i­n­i­tion of a hate crime.  Such crimes require the pros­e­cu­tion to prove that the per­pe­tra­tor tar­geted his vic­tims because of their race, reli­gion, eth­nic­ity, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, or other immutable char­ac­ter­is­tics.  A crime is not auto­mat­i­cally a hate crime just because the vic­tims are Mus­lims, or Jews, or blacks, or mem­bers of the LGBT com­mu­nity – or because the per­pe­tra­tor and the vic­tims are of dif­fer­ent races or reli­gious tra­di­tions.   The spe­cific tar­get­ing because of their sta­tus is required.  And there is a rea­son for this – hate crimes are dif­fer­ent pre­cisely because they are not the result of greed, or road rage, park­ing lot argu­ments, or busi­ness dis­putes.  Rather, anal­o­gous to anti-discrimination laws, they are crimes which sin­gle peo­ple out sim­ply because of who they are.

 


Un Trágico Asesinato, Crímenes de Odio y la Necesi­dad de Luchar Con­tra los Estereotipos

El trágico asesinato de tres estu­di­antes musul­manes en Chapel Hill, Car­olina del Norte, esta sem­ana ha provo­cado pro­fun­das emo­ciones. Aunque todos debe­mos absten­er­nos de saltar a con­clu­siones sobre el por qué fueron ata­ca­dos, cier­ta­mente podemos enten­der el tremendo impacto que ha tenido este hor­rendo crimen, no sólo en la comu­nidad musul­mana sino tam­bién en los esta­dounidenses de buena voluntad.

Hasta que se ter­mine la inves­ti­gación, se anal­i­cen las prue­bas y se pre­sente el caso, es imposi­ble saber si este caso se ciñe a la defini­ción legal de un crimen de odio. Dichos crímenes requieren que la Fis­calía pruebe que el agre­sor atacó a sus víc­ti­mas a causa de su raza, religión, ori­gen étnico, ori­entación sex­ual u otras car­ac­terís­ti­cas inmuta­bles. Un crimen no es automáti­ca­mente un crimen de odio sola­mente porque las víc­ti­mas sean musul­manes o judíos, negros o miem­bros de la comu­nidad LGBT –o porque el agre­sor y las víc­ti­mas sean de difer­entes razas o tradi­ciones reli­giosas. Se requiere que la víc­tima sea escogida especí­fi­ca­mente por su esta­tus. Y hay una razón para esto –los crímenes de odio son difer­entes pre­cisa­mente porque no son el resul­tado de la avari­cia, ira en la car­retera, argu­men­tos en el esta­cionamiento o con­flic­tos de nego­cios. Por el con­trario, anál­ogo a las leyes con­tra la dis­crim­i­nación, son crímenes que esco­gen a sus víc­ti­mas sim­ple­mente por ser quienes son.

Por supuesto, inde­pen­di­en­te­mente de si estos asesinatos resul­tan ser un crimen de odio, las pre­ocu­pa­ciones expre­sadas en reac­ción a ellos por muchos de la comu­nidad musul­mana son com­pren­si­bles. Los asesinatos refuerzan un sen­tido de vul­ner­a­bil­i­dad y los esta­dounidenses de todas las creen­cias reli­giosas deben ser con­scientes de ello, y ofre­cer apoyo y con­suelo a nue­stros veci­nos musulmanes.

Sabe­mos que la inmensa may­oría de los musul­manes en los Esta­dos Unidos está con­ster­nada por ese pequeño por­centaje de extrem­is­tas musul­manes respon­s­ables por los actos de ter­ror que los Esta­dos Unidos vivió el 11 de sep­tiem­bre de 2001 y que con­tinúan plante­ando una grave ame­naza para la seguri­dad y esta­bil­i­dad en muchas partes del mundo. Tam­bién sabe­mos que demasi­a­dos esta­dounidenses alber­gan estereoti­pos y están dis­puestos a usar de chivo expi­a­to­rio a los musul­manes. En este con­texto, es com­pren­si­ble que los musul­manes esta­dounidenses estén ansiosos sobre el lugar que ocu­pan en la sociedad esta­dounidense y su seguri­dad física, par­tic­u­lar­mente a raíz de una trage­dia como la de esta semana.

Los musul­manes esta­dounidenses tienen dere­cho a dis­fru­tar de la seguri­dad y lib­er­tad que son el ideal amer­i­cano. En el pasado, judíos, católi­cos y mor­mones (entre otros) tam­bién fueron vis­tos con descon­fi­anza. Por tanto, todos debe­mos con­tribuir a arro­jar luz por el dis­tor­sion­ado lente del miedo y la igno­ran­cia, para ofre­cer apoyo y amis­tad, y con­fiar en nue­stros organ­is­mos poli­ciales para que garan­ti­cen que se cumplen los intere­ses de la justicia.

Of course, regard­less of whether or not these mur­ders are ulti­mately shown to be a hate crime, the con­cerns expressed by many in the Mus­lim com­mu­nity in reac­tion to them are under­stand­able.  The killings rein­force a sense of vul­ner­a­bil­ity, and Amer­i­cans of all reli­gious faiths need to be aware of that and to offer sup­port and reas­sur­ance to our Mus­lim neighbors.

We know that the vast major­ity of Mus­lims in Amer­ica are appalled by that small per­cent­age of Mus­lim extrem­ists respon­si­ble for the acts of ter­ror to which Amer­ica woke up on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 and which con­tinue to pose a seri­ous threat to both secu­rity and sta­bil­ity in many parts of the world.  We also know that too many Amer­i­cans engage in stereo­typ­ing, and are will­ing to scape­goat Mus­lims.    In this envi­ron­ment, it is under­stand­able that Amer­i­can Mus­lims are anx­ious about their place in Amer­i­can soci­ety and indeed about their phys­i­cal safety, par­tic­u­larly in the after­math of a tragedy like this week’s.

Amer­i­can Mus­lims are enti­tled to enjoy the secu­rity and free­dom that is the Amer­i­can ideal.  In the past, Jews, Catholics, and Mor­mons (among oth­ers) were viewed with sim­i­lar dis­trust.  We must there­fore all do our part to shine a light through the dis­tort­ing lens of fear and igno­rance, to offer friend­ship and sup­port, and to trust our law enforce­ment agen­cies to ensure that the inter­ests of jus­tice are served.

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January 15, 2015 0

Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Continue In Aftermath Of Paris Attacks

Con­spir­acy the­o­ries blam­ing Jews and Israel for the ter­ror attack at the Char­lie Hebdo office in Paris con­tinue to sur­face in the U.S. and abroad.

In addi­tion to pre­vi­ously reported exam­ples, recent instances of Amer­i­can anti-Semites exploit­ing the tragedy to pro­mote hatred for Jews include:

Brandon Martinez's on Press TV

Press TV’s report­ing on the attacks

  • Paul Craig Roberts, an anti-Semitic syn­di­cated colum­nist, wrote an arti­cle on his per­sonal web­site claim­ing that there are sus­pi­cions “that the French shoot­ings are a false flag oper­a­tion.” Roberts iden­ti­fied sev­eral rea­sons for this, includ­ing “to sti­fle the grow­ing Euro­pean sym­pa­thy for the Pales­tini­ans and to realign Europe with Israel.”
  • On Jan­u­ary 14, in an arti­cle in the Nation of Islam’s The Final Call, Assis­tant Edi­tor Asha­hed Muham­mad cited a piece by Kevin Bar­rett titled “Paris Char­lie Hebdo Attack: Another Zion­ist False Flag?” and Paul Craig Roberts to claim that events in France could have been a false flag operation.
  • On Press TV, Iran’s English-language satel­lite news net­work, in a Jan­u­ary 13 arti­cle titled “Ana­lyst won­ders whether Cahrlie [sic] Hebdo mas­sacre was staged,” Bran­don Mar­tinez blamed “Zion­ists” for a num­ber of the world’s evils. For exam­ple, Mar­tinez wrote that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are “all out­growths of the same poi­so­nous American-Zionist impe­r­ial tree.”
  • On Jan­u­ary 12, on Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, Senior Edi­tor Gor­don Duff pub­lished an arti­cle titled “Did Netanyahu Give France Their 9/11?” In the arti­cle, he describes the attacks as a “comic opera of care­lessly staged false flag ter­ror­ism” car­ried out by “the Mossad and the crim­i­nal banks, part of the pro-Israeli ISIS organization.”

Inter­na­tion­ally, sim­i­lar con­spir­acy the­o­ries have been pub­lished in some media out­lets and been pro­moted by var­i­ous individuals:

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek blam­ing Mossad for the attacks

  • Turkey: Accord­ing to a report from Anadolu News Agency cir­cu­lat­ing in the Turk­ish media, Ankara’s Mayor, Melih Gokcek accused Israel of being behind the Paris attacks. He made his state­ment dur­ing a con­fer­ence by the Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party (AK Party) on Jan­u­ary 13. He claimed Israel was annoyed with the lower house of the French Par­lia­ment for vot­ing for the recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tin­ian state and with France’s vote in favor of a United Nations Secu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC) res­o­lu­tion call­ing for the same recog­ni­tion. “Israel cer­tainly doesn’t want this sen­ti­ment to expand in Europe. That is why it is cer­tain that Mossad is behind these kinds of inci­dents. Mossad inflames Islam­o­pho­bia by caus­ing such inci­dents,” Gokcek said.
  • Egypt: A for­eign affairs ana­lyst at Al Wafd daily news­pa­per was cited in a report by the paper on Jan­u­ary 12 as stat­ing: “The Israeli Mossad is behind the ter­ror­ist attack against Char­lie Hebdo French news­pa­per.” He added, “The Mossad planned the oper­a­tion, and pro­vided the attack­ers with weapons, and most likely the plan­ning of the oper­a­tion was done in the same Jew­ish [gro­cery] store which the attack­ers went to later.”
  • Egypt: Mohammed Tew­fik, a jour­nal­ist and for­mer mem­ber of the mil­i­tant al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, accused the Mossad of being involved in the Char­lie Hebdo attacks. His accu­sa­tions were included in a state­ment pub­lished by the Egypt-based Albawabh news web­site, on Jan­u­ary 12. Tew­fik stated, “The fast reac­tion by Israel to the attack, and Netanyahu’s trip to France, his request for France’s Jews to immi­grate to Israel, and his call to  estab­lish a new inter­na­tional coali­tion against Islamic ter­ror­ism, are likely [indi­ca­tions] of a Mossad involve­ment in this crime and an attempt to stick it to the Muslims.”

Anti-Semites have pro­moted such absurd the­o­ries to explain events in Syria, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, the Sandy Hook Mas­sacre, and the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks. In the Mid­dle East, there are those that claim that ISIS and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have secret alliances with the Jews or that the Jews cre­ated such ter­ror­ist groups for nefar­i­ous purposes.

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