Two weeks ago, three members of a right-wing militia in Kansas were arrested and charged with plotting a terrorist attack on an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived and maintained a mosque.
To understand the climate of fear and bigotry that could inspire and nurture such a plot, look no farther than the above campaign literature produced the Kansas State Republican Party and mailed throughout the state.
A story in Friday’s Witchita Eagle explains:
The Kansas Republican Party is sending out mailers in legislative races around the state depicting ISIS fighters and explosions from terrorist attacks.
A mailer going to homes in east Wichita’s House District 88 shows an ISIS fighter holding a machine gun with a message that reads: “Have you met the new neighbors?”
The other side of the mailer touts Republican Rep. Joseph Scapa’s support for funding to train Kansas law enforcement officers to “recognize and deal with foreign and domestic threats to our state, from those who support ideologies that are in conflict with the U.S. Constitution and our Kansas values.”
Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, said that similar mailers were being distributed in competitive districts across the state. He also argued that their party’s polling and focus groups indicated that this was a “positive issue for Republicans” to run on in next week’s election. Barker rejected any suggestion that the mailer’s imagery sent an anti-Muslim message.
Barker pushed back at the idea that voters would interpret the “new neighbors” message on the mailer as a suggestion that Muslims living in Kansas posed a terror threat.
Barker said there are several variations of the mailers. One depicts an explosion from a terrorist attack.
“It’s one of the few (issues) that was a clear, like high 80 percent positive and associated with Republicans,” Barker said. “Most other issues are muddled, or this is not the year for Republicans to be arguing education or taxes because there’s a general feeling either Republicans aren’t effective or the voters aren’t quite sure who to believe.
“This one’s a clear hit. And I’m not saying it’s going to flip every race in Kansas, but it’s going to help.”
And now on to this week’s look back at this week in terrorism history:
- Oct. 30, 2000 — Spain: Judge and two aides are killed and more than 30 wounded in an ETA car-bomb attack in Madrid.
- Oct. 31, 1984 — India: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in the aftermath of the Indian Army’s Operation Blue Star, a military operation to seize control of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab, from an armed Sikh group.
- Nov. 1, 1950 — United States: Two Puerto Rican Nationalist Party members attempt to assassinate Pres. Harry Truman in Washington, D.C.
- Nov. 2, 2000 — Colombia: ELN (National Liberation Army) releases 21 remaining hostages originally kidnapped from Cali two months earlier.
- Nov. 3, 2010 — Sudan: Justice and Equality Movement engages in combat with paramilitaries in Nyala, Southern Darfur State, killing 37 and wounding 30 more.
- Nov. 4, 2001 — Israel: Palestinian Islamic Jihad stages shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus; 35 are wounded, one U.S. citizen is killed.
- Nov. 5, 2009 – United States: Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan kills 13 and wounds 29 in a shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas.