I think that it is a fact that we have Radical Islamists in America, and that not all American Muslims are oposed to them. But do all Jews oppose the JDL? The JDL certainly stands out as an example of Jewish extremism, even if their methods are somehow (but not much) different from the Islamofascists. Most American Jews when asked about the JDL, they either get confused with the ADL (!!!) or shrug the issue altogether. And what about extreme Christians, or plain extremists?
When we look at the whole planet, there is no doubt that the majority of terrorists attacks are done in the name of a particular school of thought within Islam which is irredentist and intolerant. While we look at numbers, it would be inaccurate to say that most muslims are terrorists, but not so inaccurate to say that most terrorists are muslims. Having said that, what happens when we look at America? after all, Congressman King is a member of the US Congress, not the UN...
According to the latest Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, since the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995, there have been 75 successful terrorist plots by right wing terrorist groups resulting in death, injuries and destruction of property. Some of them were religiously motivated, some of them ideologically motivated. All of them directed in one way or another against minorities, Hatred was in some cases was racially motivated, and in others religiously motivated. It was anti-Black, anti-immigrants, anti-Semitic, anti-muslim, etc. Groups involved in these plots include the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazi and Skinhead groups, White Nationalists, Christian Identity, Black separatists, etc.
The attacks on 9/11 left a deep scarr in the American psyche because a foreign terrorist group managed to infiltrate American soil and perpetrate a horrific crime killing thousands of people in the name of Islamic supremacism. It is therefore natural that most Americans will be weary of Islamism. The Media, however, did a good job in confounding Islamism with Islam and foreign terrorism with local.
When we look at the full picture, we can only conclude that the questions asked by Congressman King about Islamic radicalization are valid, but we are also shocked by the complete absence of any similar investigation into ideological radicalization in general. Shouldn't we look, as well, into those communities where extreme groups function and the support in those communities for radical ideologies?
When we think about the American Muslim community we have been conditioned to look at some groups which our government consider to represent the American Muslims. But American Muslims are not all of one mind anymore than American Jews or African Americans or any other group. The Council for American Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.), seen by the current Administration as representative of American Muslims, was founded by unindicted members of the Board of the Holy Land Foundation which was disolved for funneling money to Hamas and other terrorists groups. But is CAIR really that representative?
How many people heard of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy? or Muslims for Democracy and Freedom? or Dr Wafa Sultan? or Bridgitte Gabriel?...etc, etc, etc. It was the Kenyan born Irjad Manji, a journalist now living in Canada who said many years ago that there is "A problem within Islam" and she pointed out the internal struggle within Islam between those who are trying to stiffle dissent and impose Shari'a and those in Muslim societies who are trying to bring their societies into modern thinking, separating "Mosque and State".
Radicalization within the Muslim community should indeed be investigated, but so should radicalization among whites, and blacks, Christians, Jews, etc. The problem is not Islam, but radicalization. Congressman King, taking cinical advantage of the fears of the average American, has singled out one community for political gain. That is wrong.
The investigations on the radicalization of American Muslims should be conducted as part of a broader investigation, and that is the investigation of the Radicalization of Middle America, the polarization of politics, and the role of the Media. As a responsible Democracy we cannot be driven by the latest fashion of the latest headlines; in my opinion we need to have a deep, autocritical self-examination of our society to understand (and fix) the underlying reasons for American radicalization.
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