Muslim Americans: The dangers of lumping our friends in with our enemies
Sen. Dick Durbin is holding Senate hearings on anti-Muslim bigotry today – an important move in the wake of Peter King's hearings on Muslim-American radicalization. Casting suspicion on all Muslim Americans violates American ideals and weakens a first line of defense against extremism.
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Muslim communities reject extremism
Muslims regularly attending mosques will not rid this country of all homegrown terrorism emanating from Muslim communities. As we’ve seen in the recent past, mosques are not impermeable to fringe extremists. Before Anwar al-Awlaki was the first US citizen ever to be placed on the CIA target list, he was an imam at a Virginia mosque. The five young Muslim men from Washington, DC, who in late 2009 disappeared from their homes only to be found in Pakistan allegedly trying to join Al Qaeda, also attended their local community mosque.Skip to next paragraph
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But in both cases, as with countless other cases before and since, the Muslim communities that these individuals were members of resoundingly rejected their actions and beliefs. Mr. al-Awlaki had to go to Yemen because no community here would accept him, and the parents of the DC men were the first to alert the FBI of their children’s sudden disappearance. And just three months ago, a vigilant Muslim-American community in Irvine, Calif. was so disturbed by the behavior of an undercover FBI informant posing as an extremist in their mosque, that the community turned him in to the FBI. As a recent study from Duke University and the University of North Carolina found, Muslim Americans provide authorities with more tips on suspected terrorists than any other group.
We need to support Muslim-American communities as they lead the fight to root out and prevent extremism in their own communities. Yes, there is much work to be done, but let’s not make it any harder by lumping our friends in with our enemies.
via The OpEd Project