Does Muslim-American terrorism pose a significant threat to our nation? Do the alarm, alert and warning levels depicted by the heads of our Homeland Security apparatus and our politicians match the purported threat?
Dr. Charles Kurzman recently authored an interesting report: "Muslim American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11" published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a project of Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International (Research Triangle Institute). This is the third yearly report of its kind published by the Center. One noteworthy finding is the fact that in recent years the nation has experienced a constant decline in violent plots as well as the number of Muslim-Americans indicted for support of terrorism and related crimes. Dr. Kurzman's findings concluded that Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 continued to be a miniscule threat to public safety.
We bring the attention to this scientific study mainly to contrast its findings with the inconsistent, embellished and disproportionate warnings continuously issued by our Homeland Security heads, politicians and a new breed of self or media-monikered "terrorism experts." Purportedly among them are national leaders such as attorney General Eric Holder, who happens to be the ultimate authority to whom the FBI director reports; and Janet Napolitano, the Department of Homeland Security's secretary. The line-up of alarmist politicians includes Allen West (FL) and Peter King (NY), frequent automated instruments of paid public relations media professionals who make their living from orchestrating xenophobic campaigns against Islam and Muslims.
Robert Greenwald, in his article, "The Grave Threat of Homegrown Terrorism," makes an assessment similar to Kurzman's, in which he exposes our national security leaders' flatulent and unsubstantiated warnings about alleged homegrown Muslim-American terrorism.
Dr. Kurzman specifically brought the case of FBI's director Peter Muller, who testified before Congress in March 2011, stating that homegrown terrorism has become a threat even more complex and difficult to combat as "we are seeing an increase in the sources of terrorism, a wider arrange of terrorist targets, and an evolution in terrorist tactics and means of communication." Kurzman went on to expose Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano echoing Mr. Muller's concern in her 2011 State of America's Homeland Security Address, in which she stated: "the terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly in the last 10 years -- and continues to evolve -- so that, in some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since those attacks."
By the same token, Glenn Greenwald cites Secretary Napolitano stating before Congress that domestic terrorism and homegrown radicalization is "a very large focus of the Department of Homeland Security." Greenwald also cites Attorney General Eric Holder, in an ABC interview back in December 2010, expressing his concern about the "alarming rise in the number of Americans who are more than willing to attack and kill their fellow citizens." In the same article, the author mentions the most recent Congressional report on this matter published in December 2011 and released by Congressional staff of the known Islamophobe Peter King (R-NY). Greenwald highlighted this report's findings that "Homegrown Islamic terrorists -- possibly including radicalized American soldiers -- who target U.S. military communities in the homeland" are a "severe and emerging threat." This, once again, runs contrary to Dr. Kurzman's findings.
Unfortunately Islam and the Muslim community in the United States are regularly utilized as a ball in the political game to try to score a few votes, kickbacks and financial contributions. Very often, a number of politicians adopt and promote media campaigns focused on irrational critics to the principles of Islam and its followers. In these campaigns, Islam and Muslims are systematically associated to anti-social behaviors, extremism and violence.
If you find these actions unacceptable, it is even more appalling to find the highest ranking individuals from the most important Homeland Security agencies magnifying alleged imminent homegrown threats coming from the Muslim American community for the main purpose of justifying the multi-billionaire budgets that their agencies amass. The inexcusable exaggerated discourse portraying the Muslim American community as a growing danger causes an irreparable damage not only to that specific community, but to all spheres of our society in general. What rationale do these high-ranking public servants have when they vainly represent the Muslim American community as a growing threat other than taking political advantage, preserving their positions, and justifying the assignment of more financial and operational resources to their agencies?
Dr. Kurzman concludes his report imploring all Americans to be "vigilant against the threat of homegrown terrorism while maintaining a responsible sense of proportion." Indeed, let us all be vigilant against fear mongers who invoke phantom terrorists everywhere we look and nuclear bombs around every corner. We will not rest until we defeat and denounce their dubious damaging agendas. Together, we will defend, protect and preserve our most treasured civil rights, which cost many of our real patriots, like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, their blood, sweat and tears.
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