How to fight jihad in America
Islamic radicalization in America's own backyard is a problem. But our domestic counterterrorism strategies end up alienating or underutilizing our best asset – the Muslim community. Partnerships with moderate Muslims, education, research, and dialogue will build trust and counter extremism.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Oregon “Christmas tree bomber,” and Maryland’s “jihad obsessed” Antonio Martinez are the latest in a string of cases that highlight the limitations of America’s domestic counterterrorism strategy.Skip to next paragraph
Gallery American Jihadis
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The bottom line is that America still lacks a preemptive approach that strikes at the radical ideologies that breed violent extremism. Our recent research with law enforcement agencies, Muslim community leaders, and youth in America confirms this. It also reveals that policymakers and Muslims need to come together at the local and national levels to develop an effective counter-radicalization strategy.
The World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE) recently launched one of the first Muslim-led reports to address this issue. Our findings indicate that a new strategy must address five key elements:
Empower moderate Muslims
First, moderate Muslims should be empowered to counter radical preachers, like Anwar al-Awlaki, who appeal to disaffected Generation Y-ers with a poor understanding of Islam. From his base in Yemen, Mr. Awlaki’s online idiot’s guide to jihad and his Facebook and Twitter forums cater to those lacking the patience to read volumes of Islamic jurisprudence that clearly denounce terrorism.
His “do it yourself approach” has unfortunately inspired Americans like Virginia’s own Zachary Adam Chesser, who copied his model and instigated the South Park bear controversy by posting threats against the show’s creators for depicting Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.