Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Racism in the United States Nurtures “Lone Wolves” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An undated photo from a social media account of Omar Mateen,
who Orlando Police have identified as the suspect in the mass shooting
at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 12, 2016. via Myspace/Handout via REUTERS

Beirut – The United States witnessed during the weekend three terrorist attacks in the states of Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey. These attacks seemed to be inspired by ISIS and pointed to the expansion of operations initiated by “Lone Wolves” amid the growing polarization and anti-Islamic calls incented by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Three attacks in 12 hours; bombing operations in the streets of New York and New Jersey and a knife-stabbing in a mall in Minnesota, which spread fear among U.S. citizens.

A bomb exploded in a garbage container in New Jersey, followed by another bombing that struck Manhattan in New York and killed 29 people, and a stabbing attack by a man who targeted nine people while screaming “Allah Akbar” in Crossroad Mall. According to ISIS’ Telegram Channel, this attack came as a response to the extremist organization’s call to target citizens of countries partaking in the “Crusades” of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.

Security forces have killed the stabber Ahmad Khan Rahami and found a journal among his belongings which revealed that his attacks of New York were inspired by Al-Qaeda and ISIS; it also disclosed ideological links between him and Abu Mohammad Al-Adnani, the spokesperson of ISIS who was killed last month.

According to Dr. Matthew Levitt, from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, ISIS has clearly called on its supporters to carry out individual attacks based on the “Lone Wolves” strategy anywhere in the world; in a handbook “How to Survive in the West” published by the terrorist organization on the internet in 2015, ISIS has said that the growth of lone wolves’ attacks will obstruct Western intelligence agencies from controlling the spread of violence and chaos in their countries.

During an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Alex Ward, a security expert, says it has become obvious that extremists have been directed to implement individual attacks more than any other time; availability of technologies and information for all people provides lone wolf perpetrators with constant capacity to launch any attack for any reason.

According to Levitt, people will witness more attacks by people who act independently and that such attacks may be carried out by perpetrators who are not linked.

Levitt also sees that ISIS may seek to carry out more opportunistic attacks of proved success. He adds that the organization has adopted terrorist operations which it did not implement, like Orlando’s shooting in Florida and the operation of Nice. Levitt concludes that ISIS may prefer to adopt only operations that succeed; despite that New York’s attacks can be considered as successful; given that it provoked fear among people for few days.

The rise of polarization and unfair behaviors toward Muslim communities may encourage on launching new attacks over U.S. territories. Lately, the Republican candidate Donald Trump has maximized his racist speeches against Muslims; in 2015, Trump called for the first time for a complete closure of borders to ban Muslims from entering the United States; back then, Trump’s extremism and his suggestion of a ban against Muslims helped him win the adoption as an official republican candidate, despite his accusation of religious fanaticism.

This week, Trump’s older sun has made headlines on social media after he compared Syrian refugees with Skittles fruit candy; Trump the son outlined that the United States should refuse refugees’ access to its territories; the candidate’s son has shared an image for a bowl of candies with the following question: “if I tell you that this bowl contains three candies that will kill you, would you take a handful of them?”

Finally, hatred feelings toward the United States have increased across the Islamic World; thus, the growth of polarized and extremist speeches that target Muslims will definitely aggravate enmity against USA. The polarizing communities tend to provoke severe reactions and violence levels that may reach terrorism.