The rise of violent extremism is only at the early stages, and if the West wants to stem the flow of volunteers to these ruthless groups, Western countries should make a concerted effort to engage and understand the nuances of their Muslim communities, especially the families from which these volunteers are coming.
Much like the great Sammy Davis, Jr., the unicycle ensemble from the South Bronx beat the naysayers and racists, as well as the pitfalls of their neighborhood with their talent. They achieved this while breaking down barriers and leaving a smooth trail of unicycle tracks for others, like myself, to follow.
We fail to counteract the seductive narrative of violent extremism because we do not engage it on its own terms. We talk above it and around it, but not straight at it. Reducing our values to war cries in the mouths of statesmen is an ineffective way to bring those among us who might be seduced back into the fold.
Ferguson is a little over a three and half-hours drive from Kansas City, where Jackie Robinson began his baseball career; he started in the Negro Leagues as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. October 24, 2014 marks the 42nd anniversary of Robinson's death -- significant because that is the number that Robinson wore.