If the Fox News promoters of racial profiling had been in charge of investigating last Friday's terror attack in Norway, they might well have encountered blond, blue-eyed Anders Behring Breivik and his two smoking-hot guns only long enough to ask if he'd seen any suspicious-looking Muslims around.
After all, it has been a touchstone of the American Right, as well as right-wing Israelis, that Muslims are the source of virtually all terrorism and thus it makes little sense to focus attention on non-Muslims. A clean-cut Nordic sort like Breivik, who fancies himself part of a modern-day Knights Templar, is someone who would get a pass.
Or, as Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2006, "While it may be true -- and probably is -- that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim." [Washington Post, March 7, 2006]
So, if you were tuned in to Fox News after the Norway attack, you would have seen smug-looking Fox talking heads recounting how this attack was surely an act of Islamic terrorism and even one exchange about the value of racial profiling to avoid wasting time on non-Muslims.
Yet, while the biases of Gillerman and Fox News represent a large chunk of the conventional wisdom, the reality is that terrorism is far from some special plague associated with Muslims. In fact, terrorism, including state terrorism, has been practiced far more extensively by non-Muslims and especially by Christian-dominated nations, both historically and in more modern times.
Terror tactics have long been in the tool kit of predominantly Christian armies and paramilitaries, including Breivik's beloved Crusaders who slaughtered Muslims and Jews alike when Jerusalem was conquered in 1099.
Terror, such as torture and burning "heretics" alive, was a big part of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and the intra-Christian bloodletting in Europe in the middle of the last millennium. Terror played a big role, too, in genocides committed by Christian explorers against the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and other unfortunate targets of colonialism.
More Crusading "Knights"
During the Jim Crow era in the American South, white Christians organized Ku Klux Klan chapters, which, like Breivik's Templars, considered themselves Christian "knights" harkening back to the Crusades. The KKK inflicted terror on blacks, including lynching and bombings, to defend white supremacy.
In the 20th Century, there were countless examples of "red" and "white" terror, as Communists challenged the Capitalist power structure in Russia and other countries. Those violent clashes led to the rise of German Nazism which empowered "Aryans" to inflict terrifying slaughters to "defend" their racial purity from Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other "inferior" races.
To prevail in World War II, the Allies resorted to their own terror tactics, destroying entire cities from the air, such as Dresden in Germany and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
After World War II, the United States created the CIA to conduct what amounted to a war of terror and counter-terror against revolutionary movements around the world. This "low-intensity conflict" sometimes spilled into massive slaughters, such as U.S. terror bombings that killed estimated millions across Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
The CIA also recruited, deployed and supported proxy terrorists throughout Latin America, with right-wing Cubans receiving special training in explosives and a generation of South and Central American military officers schooled in how to intimidate and repress political movements seeking social change.
A fierce slaughter occurred in Guatemala after the CIA ousted an elected government in 1954 through the use of violent propaganda that terrified the nation. The CIA's coup was followed by military dictatorships that used state terror as a routine means of controlling the impoverished population.
The consequences of the U.S. strategy were described in a March 29, 1968, report written by the U.S. embassy's deputy chief of mission, Viron Vaky...
"The official squads are guilty of atrocities. Interrogations are brutal, torture is used and bodies are mutilated...In the minds of many in Latin America, and, tragically, especially in the sensitive, articulate youth, we are believed to have condoned these tactics, if not actually encouraged them.
"Therefore our image is being tarnished and the credibility of our claims to want a better and more just world are increasingly placed in doubt."