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September 08, 2011 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

)oints of view

EDITORIAL BOARD:
Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz
Chief Operating Officer: F. Kevin Browett
Contributing Editor: Robert Sklar

>> Send letters to: letters@thejewishnews.com

Contributing Editor

Editorial

Focus On Violence
Emanating In
America (

W

Taming Terror

Obama still slow in embracing
the scope of Islamist danger.

A

t long last, America
understands that global
terror is guided by a
political ideology that has per-
verted and radicalized elements
of Islam and gained vigor from
not only Al Qaida, but also other
fundamentalist groups wanting
to build rogue theocracies where
none now exist.
That's a start, although
President Obama, in his new
National Strategy on
Counterterrorism,
falls short in describ-
ing the ideology as
merely "a distorted
interpretation of
Islam:' This term is
used 20 times in 17
pages, but the docu-
ment never specifies
the nature of this
terrorist ideology —
Islamism, a militant
form of political Islam — and
never distinguishes it from Islam,
the religion. Certainly, the way
to control the battlefront against
Islamism is by grasping that the
war is ideological.
As we commemorate the Sept.
11, 2001, Al Qaida-led terrorist
attacks in America, you have to
wonder if Obama fears directly
confronting Islamism, the root
cause of world terrorism.
So reports the American Islamic
Leadership Coalition, a budding
network of diverse, freedom-sup-
porting organizations and leaders
drawn from the North American
Muslim community. The AILC
statement of purpose, publicized
in July, grabbed my attention: "M
Muslims dedicated to helping
the U.S. government protect our
nation, AILC leaders are offering
their vision of a genuine solu-
tions-based approach against the
threat of Islamist terror."
Other upgrades to the U.S.

strategy also hold promise, signal-
ing a deeper commitment by the
Obama administration to fighting
terror. These include:
• Advocating for our nation and
its values;
• Keeping military deployments
strong in regions that harbor
Islamist terrorists; and
• Working with Muslim groups
to apply the strategy.

Staking Support

More precisely, the AILC
bills itself as a defender
of the U.S. Constitution,
an upholder of religious
pluralism, a protector
of American security
and, in deference to its
religious makeup, a pro-
ponent of harmonious
diversity in the practice
of Islam. It was formed
to be another voice for
Muslims in North America. It
seeks to provide a real alternative
to Islamist groups that claim to
speak for Muslims in the West.
It eyes a "comprehensive, proac-
tive strategy" that illustrates to
Muslims their faith is securer in a
culture that safeguards personal
freedom under civil law.
I like how the AILC urges the
administration to see the diversity
of thought within the Muslim
community and to thus team with
a true cross-section of associated
Muslim groups. Indeed, America
must choose counter-radicaliza-
tion partners from the Muslim
community on the basis of "their
principled rejection of Islamist
ideology" rather than on the basis
of "tactical differences with Al
Qaida" and its pursuit of a theo-
cratic state or caliphate.

Strong Validation

When I sought to verify that the
AILC was authentic and not some

sort of Islamist
front, I found
assurance
instantly in the
name of one of
the 13 signers:
M. Zuhdi Jasser,
M.D., whom I
M. Zuhdi
know person-
Jasser, M.D.
ally from a 2009
visit to Detroit. I
vouch for his high standing as an
anti-Islamist American Muslim.
He's helping fight the grip of the
Muslim Brotherhood (and its net-
work of American Islamist organi-
zations and mosques) on organized
Islam in America. He's president
and founder of the Phoenix-
based American Islamic Forum
for Democracy (AIFD), which
serves to educate and empower
Americans about the perils of
Islamism invading Islam while also
promoting the U.S. Constitution,
liberty and freedom — and the
separation of "mosque and state
Jasser founded the AIFD in the
wake of 9-11. He is a first-gener-
ation American Muslim whose
parents fled the Baathist regime of
Syria in the 1960s.
Also among the AILC signers
is counter-extremism strategist
C. Holland Taylor, chairman and
CEO of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based
LibForAll Foundation, which the
Wall Street Journal calls "a model of
what a competent public diplomacy
effort in the Muslim world should
look like"
Jasser's take is a powerful
reminder of what Westerners face:
• That Islamic fundamentalism
and homegrown terror threaten
the American way of life and our
national security. Assuring Western
security, amid the fanaticism of
radical Islam and its intolerance of
basic human rights and Western
liberties, hinges on the ideological
defeat of political Islam.

ill homegrown terror –
whether rooted in Islamist
violence or anti-government
hatred – manifest itself with a major
U.S. attack to mark the 10th anniversary
of 9-11?
It's possible, reports the Southern Poverty
Law Center (SPLC). So as a nation, we must be ready.
President Barack Obama's 2008 election energized
white supremacists. But neo-Nazis and anti-Semitic hate
groups also lurk within our borders. Since Sept.11, 2001,
a just-published White House strategy discloses "we
have faced an expanded range of plots and attacks in the
United States inspired or directed by Al Qaida and its affil-
iates and adherents as well as other violent extremists."
Concern intensified following the July 22 mass killing of
77 people in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, an anti-
Muslim extremist.
JTA found an April speech by a FBI counterterrorism
expert flush with compelling facts. Mark Giuliano spoke
to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy about
four red flags. Three fly over Muslim-fueled terrorism or
its potential: Al Qaida (though weakened, still formidable),
homegrown Islamists (terrorists who have infiltrated Islam
and radicalized a brand of it to suit their warped interests)
and revolutionary changes in the Arab world (such as the
Muslim Brotherhood's stronger hold in Egypt). The fourth
area: domestic terrorism.
"The domestic terrorism movement continues to remain
active and several recent domestic terrorism incidents
demonstrate the scope of the threat," Giuliano, assistant
director of the FBI counterterrorism division, declared
on April 14. He cited as FBI successes the March indict-
ment of nine members of a Michigan militia planning to kill
police and the January arrest of a suspect in the attempt-
ed pipe bombing of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in
Spokane.
The SPLC points to right-wing terror fomented by
a record level of U.S. hate groups even as we repel
planned attacks backed by overseas Islamists, such as
the 2010 Times Square bombing attempt by Pakistani
American Faisal Shahzad, the failed 2009 Christmas Day
Detroit-bound airliner bombing by Nigerian Umar Farouk
Abdumutailab and the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting rampage
by U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a known adherent of
Islamism.
Of 31 homegrown terrorist attacks since June 2008
on a SPLC list, most were the work of an array of militias
and lone wolves seemingly motivated by anti-government,
anti-abortion, anti-Muslim and racist rhetoric, JTA report-
ed. Some of the attacks had a clearly anti-Jewish interest.
One violent threat isn't necessarily more dangerous
than another. But as Steve Emerson's Washington-based
Investigative Project on Terrorism underscores, home-
grown terror, which gained traction in the 1995 Oklahoma
City federal building bombing, has become a high-stakes
player. That's a byproduct of Al Qaida evolving from a
hierarchical organization with a clear command and con-
trol structure to a more diffuse enemy whose ideology
has inspired others – including here in America.

Jihad on page 44

September 8 - 2011

43

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