AG Lynch links Dylann Roof to ISIS terrorist

Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s linking Dylan Roof’s murderous rampage of nine black churchgoers to that of a converted ISIS pawn is a not simply a lazy metaphor; it’s a broader failure to understand historical context and prevent future horrors on our soil and abroad. 

According to Lynch, ISIL converts are ". . . very similar to Roof. People disaffected, people being radicalized online. Roof picked this racial hatred theme and that's what fueled him. Others picked the ISIL theme, and that's what fuels them.''

Contrary to the AG’s loose categorization, these aren’t frat boys at a theme party equally content to dress up like Fred Flintstone or Dino the Dinosaur as long as there is ample beer on tap. It wasn’t either/or for Dylann Roof: he is a product of his own time and place in American history, while the latest ISIS converts from a Minnesota-based Somali community possess Islamic roots. Roof was a lone wolf. The Somalis were plural, not singular. They had family and community members show up on the courthouse steps in their defense.  Roof's family has apologized for his actions and the very groups he cited as influential have labeled him the monster that he is.

Profiling and ulterior motives are not always the best way to get to the truth. ISIS converts and Roof have told us why they did it. Believe them. Don’t link them. ISIL converts abide select passages from a holy book considered infallible by many millions of adherents. Dylann Roof, by his own words, was motivated by the disparities of race-based crime in modern America, the current power structure unique to this point in American history, and what he saw as the media’s obfuscation of statistics to promote a political agenda. His conclusion to gun down innocent people is certainly more madness than method. He has succeeded in uniting us against racial violence rather than dividing us, in spite of efforts to the contrary by some of our representatives.


Dr. David Adams is a cultural anthropologist the President of the Institute for Global Studies (

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