(WARNING: mentions of incidents of rape and sexual assault, islamophobia, as well as Spoilers)
The word “terror” is a funny constellation of mixed opinions.
What I learnt in my college history class, and the definition I have adopted since then is that terror is “a political or war-like act of violence against a civilian population.” That means that (as we learn it) the first recorded act of terror was the British bombings of Copenhagen during the Napoleonic wars. I no longer entirely agree that this must have been the first, while I haven’t looked up examples, I’m sure Europe wasn’t the first, and if we were, then colonialism and slavery must count as well.
But I also know that not everyone agree with this statement. I remember walking home with a friend a couple winters ago. He has a masters degree in geophysics. He spent most of or early uni days recounting funny stories about how some of his physics friends couldn’t wait to finish their degree and start working on weapons of mass destruction (I’m not kidding). But on this gloomy Christmas day where fog has replaced the snow of earlier years, we’re talking about something that happens on the news, one of the white terror acts we usually refer to as “mass shootings”, and he insists it can’t possibly be an act of terror, because “only muslims can commit acts of terror”.
Yes. This white man educated from the best and oldest institution of higher education in the country, who has a paper published on the dangers of climate change, believed that only muslims could commit acts of terror. I’m sure you’re surprised.
Why am I telling you this?