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The “war on terror” has become one of those discursive moral high grounds
that, in reality, serve as a smokescreen to conceal the imperial ambitions of a
political elite. While the corporate media generally supports this elite by
(mis)informing the general public about the war’s “progress,” more pertinent
threats fail to attract the same kind of political attention (and general hand
wringing) associated with the “green menace.” I could be referring to global
warming, which some scientists consider one of the greatest threats to human
life, or to the spread of such deadly diseases as the H1V avian flu virus.
Actually, I am referring to organized crime and its links to biker gangs.
On 8 April 2006, the worst mass murder in recent Ontario history
occurred near Shedden, a small southwestern town where the bodies of eight
men were found in a local farmer’s field. Police arrested five people, including
a Bandido motorcycle club member. The killings were club related, as the
victims were members or associate members of the club. The Bandidos are a
“outlaw” biker motorcycle club, held to represent that 1 percent who engage
in criminal activity. As is usually the case, this minority wreaks havoc by its
members’ involvement in car/motorcycle theft, drugs, prostitution, gun trafficking,
and similar criminal activities. They also contribute to gun-related
deaths and maimings, drug addiction, and theft.
Given this reality, biker gang-related activities are of grave concern to
community health and safety. And yet the West’s public venom is mostly preserved
for Muslims, most of whom are peace-loving people seeking to live
quiet productive lives in safe neighborhoods. It is this overarching discourse
of the supposedly “evil” scourge of Muslims against the backdrop of the
more tangible, long-term, and widespread threats of organized crime that is
worrying on at least two fronts. First, its demonization of Muslims makes
their lives in the West an increasingly problematic experience and, second, it
focuses the public’s attention on an abstract threat (“terror”) while diverting
attention from more tangible (if intractable) threats, thereby allowing the
United States’ neoconservative imperial ambitions to proceed.
Maligning Muslims and Islam is reaching a dangerous level of acceptability
in the United States and elsewhere in the West, even at the level of
political discourse, and is buttressed by a largely supportive general public.
The result: no-fly lists, racial profiling, and the jailing and torture of Muslims ...