Right-wing extremism is on the rise. Will our policy makers finally listen?

I was sadly not surprised to hear about the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. However, it especially broke me knowing that it was at a place of worship where people were coming to remember their Lord. It was devastating to learn how elderly Holocaust survivors, who escaped some of the worst horrors in history to find safety in the U.S., were brutally murdered for their faith at home.

As a Muslim American, I empathize with the fear my fellow Jewish Americans are feeling right now. As religious minorities, the past couple of decades have become increasingly dangerous for us. We know that it isn’t a safe world, but that doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to it.

As Muslims in America and all over the world, we know this pattern all too well.

In fact, we must realize that terrorism is not of one faith or color. In addition to Pittsburgh, the recent shooting of two black shoppers at a Kroger in Kentucky and the mailing of pipe bombs to current and former politicians were all committed by white men. But extremism and terrorism are not used as words to describe these acts. Yet, we all feel terrorized and scared. And the statistics prove it.

According to researchers at the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, a 2017 study “shows a ‘sharp increase’ in the share of attacks by right-wing extremists, from 6% in the 2000s to 35% in the 2010s.”

We cannot tolerate this violence. We never should have. These mass shootings in schools, movie theaters and places of worship must end. It is high time we call out these attacks for what they are. Extremism is extremism no matter who or what it comes from. Will our policy makers finally listen? Because too many lives have already been lost.

Writer. Reader. Pakistani stuff. Latin Americanist. Almost multilingual. Always learning. Still figuring it out.