Add some American Muslim activists to the list of people wondering why last week's airplane attack on an IRS building in Austin, Texas, isn't being considered a terrorist act.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference in Washington today to protest what it regards as a double standard in classification of politically motivated attacks. The group says deadly attacks by non-Muslims sometimes seem to escape the terrorist label, raising the question of whether "terrorist" is really a classification that's largely reserved for Muslims.
"This apparent double standard only serves to render the term ‘terrorism' meaningless and imbues it with a sense of religious and ethnic bias that is both counterproductive and offensive," CAIR counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili said in a statement.
U.S. officials have noted there are no known connections between the pilot, Andrew Joseph Stack, and any terrorist groups. Stack, who died after he flew a single-engine plane into a building that housed IRS offices, left behind an online rant in which he complained bitterly about what he described as repeated unfair treatment by U.S. tax policy.
"Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough)," he wrote. "In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws….by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change."
The Obama administration also has been criticized for not classifying Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is Muslim, as a terrorist after he allegedly killed 13 and wounded 30 in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas. His communications with an extremist Muslim clergyman, Anwar al-Awlaki, and visits to extremist Web sites, raised questions about whether he had international ties (by John D. McKinnon, source).