MADISON, Wis., May 19, 2022 (Newswire.com) - The Wisconsin-based group We Are Many-United Against Hate today called on national, state and local political leaders across the country to establish nonpartisan unity caucuses to combat domestic terrorism in the aftermath of the nation's latest mass shooting when, according to police reports, an 18-year-old white supremacist opened fire on innocent shoppers with an assault rifle on May 14 at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, killing at least 10 and wounding many others.
"It is very unfortunate that many politicians don't even take the first step of condemning these kinds of violent attacks by white terrorists. It is critically important that they immediately call out and condemn these ideologically motivated violent attacks in the strongest way possible, as they do when similar attacks are carried out by Al-Qaeda or ISIS or Antifa," the group's founder and president Masood Akhtar said. "And please stop associating Islam, a peaceful religion, with terrorism by calling it 'Islamic terrorism.' This causes safety concerns for well over 3 million law-abiding Muslims who are proud to call this country home."
Daryl Johnson, a former senior analyst at the federal Department of Homeland Security, board member of We Are Many-United Against Hate, and one of the nation's foremost experts on domestic terrorism groups, said: "Make no mistake, mass shootings carried out by perpetrators with violent ideologies are terrorists. The mission of both international terrorists and domestic terrorists is the same—kill innocent people on behalf of a violent ideology or cause."
Johnson pointed to the anti-Semitic, racist manifesto that surfaced, reportedly written by the individual arrested for the Buffalo mass shooting, emphasizing that when "groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida launch deadly attacks, they are immediately and rightly labeled terrorists by the media and government officials. White supremacists who carry out similar attacks on American soil are terrorists too and need to be called what they are. Not doing so sends the wrong message to white supremacists and other domestic extremists that their actions are tolerable, something less than terrorism, and they can basically operate without such condemnation that the terrorist label signifies."
Former Neo-Nazi Ryan Lo'Ree, who now serves on We Are Many-United Against Hate's board, noted that the shooter was reportedly radicalized while attending high school and had been recently investigated for threats to his school prior to carrying out his deadly attack in Buffalo.
"The young age of the shooter should alarm each of us because it shows how violent extremists are influencing vulnerable youth and inspiring them towards violent and hateful causes. Our communities are enveloped in an environment of hate, fear and paranoia. Over 1,600 extremist groups nationwide are capitalizing on this toxic environment. Crimes motivated by hate are increasing day by day, month by month, year by year. Innocent lives are being lost, countless properties are damaged or destroyed," Lo'Ree said.
Lo'Ree joined with Akhtar and Johnson to urge national, state and local political leaders to form a Nonpartisan Unity Caucus for Combating Domestic Terrorism at their level of government to foster unity in communities and classrooms, advance understanding of the root causes of hate and division, develop nonpartisan policies to combat extremism and domestic terrorism, and then work to implement these anti-violence measures.
Akhtar stressed that the caucuses should have Republican and Democrat co-chairs, with the involvement of community leaders, law enforcement officials and youth representatives.
"Hate is not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue, it's a human issue," Akhtar said. He suggested at least 90-minute quarterly meetings of caucus members or more, with success measured by how many more violent plots are being identified and foiled by law enforcement working alongside a citizenry that better understands how extremists recruit, radicalize, and mobilize violence. Progress will be evident when there is a dramatic reduction in hate crimes—as much as 50%—over five years, he added.
Source: United Against Hate, Inc.