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FBI yet to say whether Nashville bombing was 'act of terror,' sparking racial concerns

Investigators are currently reviewing whether Anthony Warner believed in 5G conspiracy theories

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Nashville, Tennessee
More than 40 businesses were damaged in Dec. 25, 2020, explosion in Nashville, Tenn.
(Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
Updated: January 6, 2021 - 10:26am

More than 10 days following the Christmas Day car-bombing in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the FBI has not declared the incident an act of terror, sparking criticism about a possible racial double standard.

The agency has confirmed that Tennessee resident Anthony Warner committed the act.

"To those bending over backward to not call this an act of terror, if Warner had been a Muslim/immigrant/black, will you say the same thing or will you be one of the millions condemning not just him but his entire community?" says Zulfat Suara, the first Muslim member of the Nashville City Council.

The bureau not declaring the incident an act of terror has also raised questions from downtown business owners whose insurance companies will make coverage decisions based on the FBI's assessment of the incident.

"When we assess an event for domestic terrorism nexus, it has to be tied to an ideology. It’s the use of force or violence in the furtherance of a political or social ideology or event. We haven’t tied that yet," said Doug Kroneski, the FBI agent in charge of the bureau's Memphis office. 

It is common for small business owners to opt out of terrorism coverage when selecting an insurance policy, assuming a terror attack would be unlikely to impact their businesses. 

According to Treasury Department, 30% to 40% of Tennessee businesses have opted out of terrorism coverage in their insurance policies. 

FBI investigators have not yet determined a motive from Warner, though, they have learned that he was a conspiracy theorist who believed in the idea that shape-shifting reptiles have assumed human form in an attempt to take over society. 

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