Khaled Beydoun writes: On the morning of 19 April 1995, the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was rocked by a bomb. The domestic terrorist attack killed 168 people and injured 680 more. Minutes after, media reports speculated that “Islamic extremists” or “Arab radicals” were the culprits.
Ninety minutes after the explosions, Timothy McVeigh – a white, Christian male – was arrested and later linked to the attack. There had been no evidence to support the idea Muslims had anything to do with the bombing.
Despite people with similar ideologies to McVeigh were responsible for the majority of domestic terrorist attacks in 1995 – a figure still true today – the legislation that followed the Oklahoma city bombing did not place its focus there.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) was the beginning of policing of Muslim subjects and communities. One part of this legislation led to the disparate investigation of Muslim American political and social activity, while another led to the deportation of Muslims with links – real or fictive – to terrorist activity.
This policing was broadened and intensified after the 9/11 terrorists attacks. More recently, US Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme, as well as political demagoguery, further expands the suspicious focus on Muslims. [Continue reading…]