Mr. President, Call It What It Is: Right-Wing Terrorism

Man Who Tried to Burn Down Mosque Convicted

February 24, 2017

Photo by cool revolution (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo by cool revolution (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Earlier this week, Robert Doggart, who tried to burn down an African American mosque and school in New York was convicted of a felony, but not a hate crime or terrorism. We applaud the conviction, but recognize that it is not enough.

There are harsher punishments for hate crimes because hate crimes result in greater individual and societal harm. When a person’s identity is attacked, the degradation, dehumanization, and emotional and physiological trauma is more severe. Society then, in turn, suffers from the disempowerment of a group of people. We call on the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute aggressively hate crimes against Muslims and African Americans.

“Hate crimes and hate threats against religious, racial, and ethnic groups divide and terrorize our nation, especially those that lie at the intersection of religious and racial minorities,” said MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati. “African American Muslims, who have been a part of our nation’s pluralism since the country’s beginnings, are being attacked because of their Muslim and African American identities. This is not what America stands for. The ongoing anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric spewing from our political leaders continue to challenge America’s conscience.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, right-wing extremists, including white supremacists, sovereign citizens and militia members, were responsible for 74% of the 372 extremist-related murders from 2007 to 2016. We call on President Trump to denounce right-wing and white supremacist terrorists like Robert Doggart. Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump said that "unless you're going to talk about [a threat], you're not going to solve the damn problem folks.” This is Trump’s opportunity to talk about the threat of right-wing terrorism.


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