Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Investigating Islamic radicalization in the U.S.

According to survey data from 2010, extremist ideas and extremist groups have significant levels of support both in majority Muslim countries, and in Islamic communities throughout Europe.

In fact, this data (gathered by the Pew Research Center) suggests that Glenn Beck's claim that 10% of Muslims support terrorism is likely to be too low. Pew found that fully 18% of those surveyed in 6 Muslim-majority countries openly (at least to pollsters) proclaim their support for Al Qaeda. And the level of support for imposing the death penalty on apostates was found to be much higher than that.

Among Muslims living in Europe, Pew found that the extremist Muslim Brotherhood (the progenitor of most modern day Sunni Muslim terrorist groups) is extremely, if you will, popular. In fact, the Brotherhood is often viewed by European governments as a de facto representative of Muslim sentiment in Europe.

But we don't have to take the word of the Pew Research Center. We need look no further than Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan, both of whom have repeatedly warned about the dire threat of Islamic extremism. Daisy Khan has gone so far as to state plainly that Islam "has been hijacked by the extremists." Not to be outdone by his wife, Imam Rauf is currently touring the United States sounding the alarm about the dangers of extremism.

And it's always good to keep in mind the prophetic words written by Fareed Zakaria (a consistently liberal American Muslim journalist whose father was a respected Islamic scholar) just a few weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (although we now know that he was two orders of magnitude off in his estimation of the size of the problem): "The problem is not that Osama bin Laden believes that this is a religious war against America. It's that millions of people across the Islamic world seem to agree."

If one were very naive and had been living under a very large rock, then, one might suspect that a proposal to investigate "the radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism" in the US would be met with a combination of praise and sighs of relief. After all, the United States is not only home to approximately 5 million Muslims and 2,000 mosques, it is also the primary target for all Islamic extremists around the world.

But Peter King's announcement that he intends to conduct just such an investigation under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security has been met with a predictable chorus of denunciations both from prominent American Muslim organizations and from prominent liberals.

Unfortunately we have quickly gotten to the point where this knee jerk reaction from "progressives" is only to be expected. But think about it. Why are liberals so blindly opposed to investigating the extent to which the world's most arch-reactionary terrorists are operating right here in the US under our noses? Why are liberals opposed to investigating the extent to which the most illiberal ideology imaginable, Islamic extremism, has gained a footing in the US, and is being actively spread by people with sympathies for and organizational links to terrorist groups openly at war with the US?

In fact, we not only have every right to know, but we desperately need to know the extent of Islamic extremist sympathy, organizing, recruiting, and other activities in the US. For examples: How many mosques in the US were not only bought and paid for in Saudi Arabia, but are staffed and run by Wahabist clerics? How many "Islamic Community Centers" are being used as meeting places for people who are actively planning terrorist activities in the U.S.? And so forth.

But let's not limit this to Islam. Let's also investigate every other religious denomination whose members are known to advocate and be engaged in such things as bombing Synagogues, massacring religious pilgrims, calling for a new Holocaust, hunting down and murdering cartoonists, killing anyone who wants to change their religion, etc.


On widespread Muslim support for extremist groups and extremist ideas:
Daisy Khan, Imam Rauf and Fareed Zakaria on the dangers of extremism: