US Muslim group: Muslims must rally to counter radicalization
A Muslim Public Affairs Council report Friday laid out recommendations for countering radicalization among young Muslim Americans, including more community policing, programs to target at-risk youths, and funding for legal redress on alleged civil liberties violations.
In light of a string of counterterror cases involving young radicalized Americans, a leading Muslim group said Friday that Muslim Americans should be more actively involved in rooting out extremism in their midst.Skip to next paragraph
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But law enforcement agencies must ensure the country’s focus on counterterrorism does not trample on civil liberties, the group said.
“Muslim American communities can serve an important counter-radicalization role through intellectual and social service initiatives that create a hostile environment for terrorist recruitment,” the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said in a new report, which outlines proposals for how US Muslims and law enforcement agencies can better cooperate to prevent terrorism.
Many Muslim communities in America have negative perceptions of the police, the report noted.
“This creates an automatic barrier to police community outreach. Unfortunately, in the current political climate, the actions of certain law enforcement agencies – whether spying on peaceful activist groups and houses of worship without reasonable suspicion, or religious profiling – have added to difficulties,” the report said.
The council recommends:
• Greater funding for law enforcement agencies to improve their understanding of the Muslim community.
• New mechanisms for legal redress over alleged civil liberty violations.
• A community-based policing model within the Muslim community developed by law enforcement.
• More community investment from Muslim groups to build local and national institutions and implement more social services to target at-risk youth.
String of domestic terror plots
The assessment comes the same day as news reports that the five young Americans suspected of traveling to Pakistan to join Islamist militants are likely to be deported back to the US. Their disappearance from the Washington area in late November was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a sign of improving ties between Muslim groups and federal agents.
CAIR and the FBI have experienced some tensions since 9/11 over allegations of racial profiling and the use of informants inside mosques.
The case of the five men is the second recent incident of Muslims allegedly traveling abroad to join Islamist militancy. On Nov. 23, the US Justice Department unsealed charges against eight Somali men from Minneapolis for supporting Al Shabab, the Al Qaeda-linked militant group in Somalia. In total, 14 men from Minneapolis are believed to have traveled to Somali to join Al Shabab.