The quote which is accredited to Louis Farrakhan, ” One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” might be very much at play with the shift in terrorism perpetrators across the world. The mass shootings in New Zealand, which have left fifty people dead and approximately the same amount injured, have shown clearly that there is a shift in terrorism perpetrators from Islamic Extremists to White Supremacists. Fareed Zakaria from CNN, in his Global Public Square (GPS) report on Sunday, March 17, 2019 is quoted as saying, “seventy five percent (75%) of all the mass shootings committed in the United States in recent times, have been committed by White Supremacists.”
Whilst this is happening Islamic Extremists are the ones who are considered most dangerous to the United States. Some Muslims are banned from entering that country. The shootings in New Zealand have surfaced new information which is frightening to many, but more so to migrants and people of colour. The motives for the shootings by the white supremacist in New Zealand was tabled in his manifesto, which was posted before the shootings. According to this manifesto, “Race and Anti-Immigration” were the main issues which motivated this terrorist to carry out that deadly terrorist attack which has left the quiet and peaceful country in shock and turmoil. The entire world is saddened by this occurrence which has brought so much grief and suffering. As the world grieves with New Zealand, quality time must be spent to analyse the motives which drove this terrorist to commit such murderous act and to see who are at risk and their levels of exposure.
Let us look first at race. For the white supremacists to be perturb about race, it means in effect that any person who is not of a similar skin colour to them will be at risk. Looking at anti-immigration, migrants from across the world may be attacked. In assessing the levels of exposure of victims, it is important to note that terrorists have sought to use soft targets to execute their plans. Churches, schools, mosques, synagogues, airports, sporting venues and airlines are places of choice for them to carry out their terrorist acts. To make the matter of exposure more complex, some of these terrorists are operating as lone wolves and Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE). These HVE’s could be right beside you without you being aware of them, until it is too late. Matters will likely be made worse with this shift, as those who are classified as Islamic Extremists may be motivated to step up their activities, since every action has its reaction. The innocent citizens are the ones who will be caught up in this cross fire on a battlefield where sympathy is not part of the rules. The only prevailing rule is to kill as many persons as possible to make a statement or to advance a position.
In looking at our own situation in Jamaica and the terrorist threat from whichever source, the level is assessed as being low. Notwithstanding this low-level assessment, there are individuals and assets within the space which might motivate terrorists to carry out activities similar to what we saw in New Zealand. With this terrorist threat and shift in perpetrator’s element, it behoves every citizen to become aware and intolerant of all forms of terrorist activities. No sympathy should be shown towards terrorist financing and transnational organized crime which are precursor steps towards the real attack, which can be devastating in its impact. The terrorists should no longer be determined by whose side they are on, Islamic Extremists or White Supremacists. One thing is for sure, they are not on our side and can be dangerous to our wellbeing and our country.