Bugging Mosques? 5 Worst Right-Wing Ideas to Come Out of Boston
The aftermath of the Boston Marathon attacks has lead to overreaction after overreaction. The major overreaction to note is the fact that law enforcement authorities in Boston literally shut down the entire city after asking residents to stay in their homes. Residents complied; Boston was turned into a ghost town.
But there are also other overreactions to take notice of. These overreactions concern how to prevent them in the future. And predictably, many of them center on increasing U.S. authorities’ attention towards Muslims, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding people who have no connection to terrorism. But to figures on the right, that doesn’t matter. To them, the Boston attacks showed why its time to increase surveillance of the Muslim community, despite the fact that surveillance of Muslims did not prevent this attack.
From Fox News to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, overreacting to the Boston attacks by promoting policies that would harm Muslim-Americans’ rights has become the norm. Here’s 5 of them.
1. Bug U.S. Mosques
Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade wants law enforcement to bug American mosques, as Media Matters for America points out. “I think we should be able to put in listening devices in there,” said Kilmeade in a segment on the so-called “radicalism” of a local Boston mosque. The mosque was so “radical” that the imam there preached that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a person to emulate, according to the Los Angeles Times. (It’s important to note that while perhaps there are no “listening devices” in many mosques, there are certainly law enforcement infiltrators that target mosques in the U.S.)
2. Torture the Boston Bombing Suspect
This Islamophobic overreaction probably takes the cake for most brazen and horrifying. In the aftermath of the attacks in Boston, a New York State Senator said that the proper response was to take the U.S. back to the dark days of the Bush administration, and torture the 19-year-old U.S. citizen.
On Twitter, State Senator Greg Ball, a Republican, wrote: “So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn't use torture on this punk to save more lives?”
3. Mayor Bloomberg: Surveillance of Muslims Should Continue
Bloomberg’s public remarks are less explicitly awful than Ball’s and Kilmeade’s. But it follows the same logic: focus on Muslim-Americans; spy on them.
Last week, Bloomberg subtly defended the New York Police Department’s tactic of spying wholescale on Muslim communities in the Northeast. “The moment that we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies, is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for,” he said on Tuesday. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he was referencing the NYPD’s surveillance program, which he has steadfastly defended.
But there’s a big problem with this narrative: the NYPD spy program, which presumes all Muslims are potential terrorists, hasn’t led to the breaking up of a single terrorist plot. The NYPD itself has acknowledged in court that the program has not produced a single lead.
4. Peter King: Increase Surveillance of Muslims
Back to the more brazen: Peter King agrees with Michael Bloomberg, but is way less politic about it. “Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” King told the National Review Online, again ignoring the demonstrated record of the NYPD’s surveillance program.
5. Lindsey Graham: Label the Suspect an Enemy Combatant
The South Carolina Senator wants to do away with 19-year-old Dzokhar Tsarnaev’s constitutional rights as an American citizen. He has declared that the Obama administration should label the suspect in the Boston attacks as an “enemy combatant” in order to interrogate him without a lawyer for a prolonged period of time.
“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status,” Graham and his colleagues wrote in a letter. Graham added in an interview with the New York Times that “30 days of confinement and interrogation as an enemy combatant would be an appropriate amount of time to allow the government to look for evidence that would justify his continued detention under the law of war.”
If a white supremacist carried out the attacks, it’s highly doubtful that Graham would call for the suspension of Miranda rights. Graham’s reactions, as the other reactions show, reveal that Islamophobia is a driving force behind the hysteria that has gripped the U.S. in the past week.