BREAKING NEWS: Reports say a man in a car tried to plough into a huge group of demonstrators in Malmö, Sweden, possible gunfire heard— Breaking News (@BreakingNLive) June 11, 2017
Consider this scenario: A Muslim man in Sweden plows his vehicle into a group of 20-30 people, gets out of the car and starts pepper-spraying his victims. Later, when the police finally arrest the attacker, two knives are discovered in his car, as well as some extremist, radical Islamist symbols.
It goes without saying that this incident would immediately be labeled a suspected terror attack. News outlets would run back-to-back coverage of the attack with reporters desperately trying to find out more about the perpetrator’s racial and religious background.
While the incident discussed above was hypothetical, almost the exact same attack occurred in Malmo, Sweden. There was one huge difference, though.
The perpetrator wasn’t Muslim.
A 22-year-old man was reportedly arrested outside the Swedish Migration Board's premises after driving his car into a group of 20-30 mostly Iraqi immigrants, who were protesting against the rejection of their applications for asylum.
The attacker, who hasn’t been identified, allegedly got out of his vehicle and started pepper-spraying the protesters. After the police arrived at the scene, he was arrested. During the search of his vehicle, officers found two knives and a Nazi symbol.
The police interrogated the attacker, however, released him the same day, saying the matter would be brought before prosecutors.
Although the matter is still under investigation, the attack appears to be racially motivated as, according to Danish national daily newspaper Berlingske, the man said “he does not think they (the Iraqis) should be in the country."
Far from being considered a terrorist threat, the suspected attacker was freed the same day he allegedly tried to run down innocent people with his vehicle. Despite evidence of his actions being driven by a hateful ideology, he wasn’t even seen as a potential security threat.
Is a terror threat only serious when the attacker is a person of color and, especially, if they are Muslim?