When I wrote about terrorists a few weeks ago, I only briefly mentioned the domestic variety of terrorists or terrorism. According to trusty old Wikipedia, domestic terrorism can be simplest described as:
Domestic terrorism or homegrown terrorism is a form of terrorism in which victims “within a country are targeted by a perpetrator with the same citizenship” as the victims.
At the same time, Wikipedia mentions that there is no universally accepted definition of this phenomenon, leaving it to each country to set its own definition.
As we know, and can expect, such initiatives result in a variety of creative interpretations, leaving the initiative to any government (democratic or not) to outlaw the political opposition by calling them terrorists. The governments actively doing so, are usually not the most democratic governments.
Reversed, the more democratic of governments seem to have a hard time declaring seemingly obvious domestic terrorism as such. Instead, these actions tend to get labeled as ‘regular’ crimes until a clear call is made to call it for what it is in reality, domestic terrorism.
While the 9/11 events were clearly and promptly marked as terrorist actions, as were bombings such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the UNA bomber bombings, mass shootings have become regular events in everyday America in the last decades. In spite of their appearance, they are seldom defined as acts of domestic terrorism.
Usually, acts of domestic terrorism in the USA are getting officially labeled as such no earlier than the media pointing out that fact, followed by a prosecutor seeing a golden opportunity to set his case apart from regular crime,
Under the current government, the state of Turkey has started to lean on one person representing the country outward, namely president Erdoğan. Political parties demanding some form of independence or regional self-ruling are declared terrorists, and their organizations and leaders are treated as such.
With gang crime pretty much getting out of hand, bombings of competitors are weekly events. Shootings occur also regularly, against similar targets, and the perpetrators usually do not distinguish between their target and innocent bystanders. Collateral damage seems not to be under consideration, it is only the goal that counts. While several shootings have taken the lives of innocent civilians, the bombings so far have not. But this is likely to be only a matter if time. Based on this, some call for it to be labeled domestic terrorism.
I am leaning towards agreeing to this label.
A relatively new development is the public destruction of the Holy Quran as a means to provoke the opposite party, the Muslim community, to violence. The book is brought in by the organization with the sole purpose of burning it or tearing it apart, preferably with a large audience. The supportive audience usually consists of extreme-right nationalist organizations, combined with others sharing their views. These events are usually announced well in advance, and even permits for the activities are applied for and, more often than not, granted. Due to the publication to do so, opposition consisting of the Muslim community, combined with extreme left-wing civilians, any such event will eventually end up in a clash between the groups and the police. Invariably, the organizing party calls for their constitutional right to have the violence by the opposition to be handled by the police, free speech, and all that.
In such recent events, there were reports of a lot of damage to police vehicles, policemen, wounded on all three sides, and destruction of private property. The organizer of course claimed to have held a non-violent event protected by his constitutional rights, such as the expression of free speech.
Notably, Quran burning Mr Paludan, was in the past rejected permission for his fiery events. He then simply applied for and was granted Swedish citizenship and could no longer be denied permission solely based on his former Danish citizenship.
In my view, Paludan could be considered as close as you can be to a domestic terrorist.
Returning to Turkey and the pending Swedish application for NATO membership:
In a recent event, a puppet representing president Erdoğan was hung in public. Unfortunately, this event was broadly televised and reported on in the national and international press. Turkey currently is the sole show-stopper for Swedish NATO membership. In return for approval for Sweden, Turkey requested over a hundred of what they call Turkish terrorists to be extradited to Turkey from Sweden. The only problem for Turkey is that the Swedish judicial system does not view these Turkish citizens as terrorists. The doll-burning action by the Turkish activists could either be called cleverly timed or very unfortunate.
I tend to lean towards the former. Again, in my view.
In the Netherlands, a few criminal gangs have in the last decades taken to revenge between gangs and members. Unfortunately, in attempts to take out rival members, these shootings lacked precision and have taken the lives of many innocent citizens, as well as people that looked like but turned out not to be the original target. Criminal gang leaders such as Holleder and Taghi have set the tone for excessive gang force. The latter went as far as having public figures such as lawyers and journalists executed while having his own lawyer assisting with his criminal activities as he was jailed.
With the demonstrated level of violence and recklessness, these can hardly be called regular criminals.