Many if not most of massacres in human history were made possible by the systematic "dehumanization" of the "other."
In modern times, the Nazi regime, for example, dehumanized the Jews and thus justified their brutal killing and burning them alive in mass ovens.
Dehumanization makes a person see or consider the "other" as no different from a soulless insect or an animal. Accordingly, it is justifiable — if not sometimes right and good — to kill them with no mercy.
Just this past Friday, at least 50 people were killed and 50 more seriously wounded in mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
It was a carefully planned and, in New Zealand, unprecedented atrocity that shocked the world. The attack was unleashed at lunchtime, when mosques were full of worshippers. Footage of the massacre was streamed live online, and a rambling manifesto laced with white supremacist references was published just before the shootings unfolded.
A 28-year-old Australian man, described in media reports as a white supremacist and part of the "alt-right," was arrested and charged with murder. The suspect had reportedly published the manifesto and had himself live-streamed the first attack on Facebook Live.
This sort of heinous crime can only be justified in the mind of the terrorist by either dehumanizing or demonizing the victims first. This psychological phenomenon is not limited to the Christchurch terrorist. It is part and parcel of the mindset of many extremists (including the Islamic ones).
Viewed in this context, it is truly painful to watch Congresswoman Ilhan Omar advance the logic and rhetoric of dehumanization to discredit and destroy those who differ from her in their political views.
Rep. Ilhan Omar suggested that President Trump is not “human” when questioned about her criticisms of the commander-in-chief and former President Barack Obama.
The freshman Democrat from Minnesota attacked Obama’s stance on immigration in an interview published Friday by Politico, telling the news outlet that his administration was responsible for the “caging of kids” along the U.S.-Mexico border. When asked by a Fox News reporter whether she thought “Obama is the same as President Trump,” she replied, “Absolutely not. That is silly to even equate the two. One is human and one is really not.”
Some may argue that Ilhan Omar is just talking; that she would never actually advocate (much less resort to) physical violence against her political opponent(s). My answer to this is that drunk drivers are pulled over, and if their blood alcohol content is above a certain threshold, are arrested and punished — even if they weren’t in accident. In other words, we do not wait for drunk drivers to kill somebody in an accident; we punish them just because they’re driving drunk, and are therefore a grave threat to their fellow drivers.
In fact, her position as a congresswoman carries even greater responsibility and risk because she is seen by many young people as a role model. It is hard to imagine the types of crimes some of these young people may commit in the future when they follow her as a role model and begin to see the “other” as “subhuman.”
Ilhan Omar should not be allowed to legislate for the American people after so clearly expressing her position that some people are humans, while others — those who differ from her politically — are “not humans.”
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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