Boston Herald columnist and talk radio host Howie Carr supported xenophobic and aggressive rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates following the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. Carr agreed with Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) call to “carpet-bomb” Raqqa, Syria, and defended Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States, saying that “30 civilized human beings in Brussels yesterday were permanently cured of their 'Islamophobia.'”
In his March 23 column in the Boston Herald, Carr wrote (emphisis added):
Donald Trump is still right about stopping Muslim immigration “until we can figure out what is going on.”
Anybody in Brussels care to argue the point?
It's not xenophobia to talk about a timeout for as long as necessary, and it's certainly not racism -- Islam is a religion, not a race. And by the way, any president has every right to halt the influx of these unvetted hordes, should he decide that the unwanted arrival of any group is “detrimental.”
Muslims make up 1 percent of the American population, but since 9/11 have committed 50 percent of the terrorist attacks in the United States. Which means a Muslim is 5,000 times more likely to be a terrorist than anybody else. That stat comes from National Review, hardly a Donald Trump fanzine.
Bottom line: More than 30 civilized human beings in Brussels yesterday were permanently cured of their “Islamophobia.” And the chattering classes still wonder why Donald Trump keeps winning primaries.
On the day of the attack, Carr used his radio show to call for increased military action in Syria, particularly in the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa. In response to a caller who suggested dropping a nuclear weapon on the city, Carr said, “I don't know if we need to use a nuclear bomb, but we could carpet-bomb” it, repeating a suggestion Cruz has made.
Military leadership have dismissed the idea of carpet-bombing Raqqa, saying that “indiscriminate bombing, where we don't care if we're killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values.” ISIS members are surrounded by innocent civilians, and past Russian bombing of Raqqa has resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians. Military analysts also believe such attacks could be used to recruit new ISIS members.
In his Herald editorial supporting a ban on Muslim immigrants, Carr -- who has long supported Trump -- relies on false narratives that stoke fear of Muslims. The editorial attributes the assertion that Muslims have carried out “50 percent of the terrorist attacks in the United States” to a National Review article, which does not cite any data to back its claim. But terrorism experts' analysis of attacks within the U.S. since 9/11 paint a different picture.
According to the nonpartisan New America Foundation, there have been twice as many “far right wing” attacks than “violent jihadist” attacks in the United States since 9/11. And while the death tolls from each group are similar, The New York Times reported that “New America and most other research groups exclude” “mass killings in which no ideological motive is evident, such as those at a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school in 2012” in their analysis.
Furthermore, while the risk of jihadist terrorism often gets more media attention, researchers Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer explained to the Times that law enforcement recognizes right-wing extremism as a larger threat.
If such numbers are new to the public, they are familiar to police officers. A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff's departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University.
“Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.
Kathryn Karmazyn contributed research to this post.