Tags: Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | Raquel Evita Saraswati | Islam | moderate Muslims

Activist: US Authorities Shut Out Moderate Muslims

By    |   Friday, 09 January 2015 04:55 PM

The first Muslims that America turns to for help in combating terrorism are too often themselves practitioners of a radical, "theo-political" Islam that effectively sanctions violence and oppression, a self-described moderate Muslim "dissident," active in women's rights, told Newsmax TV on Friday.

"I am a patriotic American, but I am deeply troubled by the fact that our government continues to ally with the worst within my community," Raquel Evita Saraswati, a Muslim activist and writer, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

Saraswati said that shutting out voices like hers is de facto government policy, extending from America's choice of allies abroad to how U.S. security agencies define "moderate" Muslims when seeking to cultivate relationships that will help counter extremism.

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"From Saudi Arabia to even at home [in the United States], we see not the engagement of reformists' dissident voices, but the engagement of the clerical establishment — leaders of organizations that aren't ready to take things on in the same way that perhaps I am and people like me," said Saraswati.

She said that Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally and trading partner, "funds and propagates a particularly malignant interpretation of Islam that hurts me as an American and as a Muslim who seeks change and believes in what America's about."

In the wake of Wednesday's massacre of journalists at a Paris magazine office — an attack attributed to Islamist gunmen — law enforcement at all levels has an opportunity to engage with authentically moderate Muslims who understand the culture and are willing to speak out, said Saraswati.

"We are out there," she said. "We are trying to make a change. But across the world voices like ours are often silenced.

Saraswati acknowledged that tension and mistrust have arisen between authorities and some Muslims in the West since 9/11, and that some Muslims have complained bitterly of being harassed, profiled and suspected of terrorist sympathies.

"The first thing is to recognize that those voices who are saying that don't speak for all of us," she said. "It's not to say that various communities haven't had their tensions with law enforcement; that's just part of reality."

But she added, "The fact is that individuals who refuse to engage with the government, individuals who refuse to engage in order to solve these issues, don't speak for all of us. They're not the solution."

"People who do speak up are the solution, and we need to continue to be engaged," she said. "We need to have the support of non-Muslim allies and we need to really make our voices heard."

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The first Muslims that America turns to for help in combating terrorism are too often themselves practitioners of a radical, "theo-political" Islam, a self-described moderate Muslim "dissident" told Newsmax TV on Friday.
Raquel Evita Saraswati, Islam, moderate Muslims
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2015-55-09
Friday, 09 January 2015 04:55 PM
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