Rise of Homegrown Islamic Radicalism Raises Concerns

Monday, 02 Nov 2009 12:00 PM

By Tawfik Hamid

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In the past few weeks, U.S. officials have announced charges in several terrorism probes in various states. This was described by CNN as a confluence of cases unlike anything the country has seen since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In all cases the convicted were Muslims.

No. 1: Najibullah Zazi, 24, an immigrant from Afghanistan who lived legally in Denver, was plotting to use one or more weapons of mass destruction" inside the U.S. Authorities characterized the suspected plot against New York City subways and trains as one of the most significant threats to the United States since 9/11.

No. 2: Two North Carolina men — Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19 and Michael C. Finton, 29 — have been held since July on international terrorism charges. They have also been accused by prosecutors of plotting to kill U.S. military personnel.

Federal officials said Hosam Maher Husein parked what he thought was an explosive-laden truck in a parking garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place office tower in Dallas. Michael C. Finton, who also went by the name Talib Islam and idolized the American-born Taliban fighter John Walker, was arrested Wednesday in Springfield, Ill. Federal officials said he attempted to detonate what he believed to be explosives in a van outside a federal courthouse in the Illinois capital.

No. 3: Betim Kaziu, 21, was indicted for conspiracy to commit murder abroad and support foreign terrorists. The U.S. attorney's office said that Kaziu wanted to join the militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia and was planning to take up arms against perceived enemies of Islam.

No. 4: In addition, Last week, Noor Faleh Almaleki was run down by her father in Arizona in an attempted honor killing, for being “too westernized.” Yet the media has decided to bury the story and we are unable to find any updated information about her condition or her father’s whereabouts.

No. 5: Also, last week, a radical Muslim leader (Imam) Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, was killed in a raid by the FBI. The Imam used violence against authorities and led an Islamic separatist group that wanted to implement Shariah Law (such as stoning for adulteries, killing homosexuals, killing apostates, and allowing beating of women and underage marriage) in America instead of the U.S. Constitution.

This recent increase in the number of Home Grown Islamic Radicalism (HGIR) raises some imperative questions:

1: Do these cases represent the tip of an iceberg that may bring more threats to the United States in the future? In other words, how many in the Muslim communities here have been radicalized to such a high level? Using proper parameters to measure radicalization in Muslim communities, as well as performing correct analyses of the statistical data, is mandatory.

2: Is the American government ready to declare war on or stand against the ideology that drives these radicals in order to protect our homeland from future attacks?

3: If using military and security measures since September 11 has failed to uproot the ideological drive for Islamic radicalism, will the decision-makers in the U.S. consider adding non-military tactics to defeat this lethal ideology? These tactics must include effective psychological operations and proper educational methods.

4: Why haven’t “moderate” Islamic scholars and organizations in the United States issued (up to today) a powerful fatwa to consider these terrorists or those Muslims who prepare terror plots as apostates, thereby deterring young Muslims from following their path? Are powerful Fatwas that call a person an “apostate” limited to or kept only for thinkers and authors such as Salman Rushdie?

5: Is there a positive correlation between the religious education of young Muslims and the development of the Jihadist mind-set which can ultimately create such ruthless terrorists and radicals? Proper research is needed to evaluate the potential correlation between these variables. A positive correlation would mandate serious intervention to make sure that young Muslims do not get education that promotes hatred and violence in their Islamic schools or mosques.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." He was a former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida) and currently he is a reformer of Islam. For more information, visit www.tawfikhamid.com. Hamid's writings in this blog represent only his thoughts and not the views of the institute where he works.

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