Reza Aslan: Anti-Muslim hysteria hides the true threat of homegrown right-wing terrorism
Aslan, an Iranian-American, is an expert and commentator on global extremism and professor of creative writing at UC Riverside, and the author of the recently published book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan said right-wing terrorism and the proliferation of guns pose more of an immediate threat to the safety of Americans than Islamic terrorism.
“I will also say, this overwhelming focus that we have on Islamic terrorism and Islamic extremism in the United States is absurdly exaggerated and more dangerously, I think it hides the true threat — the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and 74 percent of every single law enforcement agency in the United States all say that the greatest threat to Americans is right-wing extremism, right-wing terror,” Aslan said.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security released a report about violent right-wing extremism that noted 24 violent attacks by so-called “sovereign citizens” between 2010 and 2015.
And in 2016, right-wing militants took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and occupied it for nearly a month, before the armed stand-off came to a violent end.
Many of those involved in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife refuge were also involved in an armed stand-off in 2014 on Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Since the end of the Oregon stand-off many have been arrested.
“Right-wing terrorists have killed far, far more Americans since the attacks of 9/11, than Islamic terrorists have,” he continued. “You are more likely in this country to be shot by a toddler than you are to be killed by an Islamic terrorist… So yes, we are under threat of terrorism in this country, it’s just not Islamic terrorism.”
Watch Aslan’s comments, as posted to YouTube, here: