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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2010 / 26 Teves 5770

Justice Department releases report trying to convince citizenry that threat of homegrown extremism is exaggerated

By Steven Emerson





Analysis from world renowned terrorism expert


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A hallmark of research is that it is neutral and thus open to unanticipated results and findings. Reading "Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans," a new report funded by the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, and authored by researchers at Duke and the University of North Carolina, it seems like these two NCAA rivals came together to violate this cardinal principle of scholarly research.

The report's headline is that the threat of homegrown extremism is exaggerated. That's an odd conclusion just a week into 2010. While the authors acknowledge 2009 was an unusually active year for homegrown terror plots, the litany of cases is insufficient to alter, or even place an asterisk by their conclusion.

"The recent spike of cases in 2009 is disturbing," the authors write, "but it is far too early to know if this is an aberration or a trend. Even if the levels of radicalization of Muslim-Americans do increase, it is important to emphasize that the numbers of individuals engaged in these activities are extremely small."

This seems to rebut an argument no one has made while miscasting the very nature of terrorism. Terrorism does not require large numbers of people to achieve its purpose, which is the creation of fear through calculated and often symbolic acts of violence or the threat of such acts. Terrorist groups have lasted decades and wreaked havoc without having more than a couple dozen members. Further, it doesn't take an army of thousands to generate death and devastation. Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were able to kill more than 180 people and hold Mumbai - a city of more than 14 million people - hostage over three days. Pointing out that relatively few people become terrorists is irrelevant.

Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 soldiers and wounded 30 more at Fort Hood on his own.

Even national Islamist organizations, loathe to acknowledge the very existence of Islamic extremism, admitted in December that they need to do more to combat radicalization among young Muslim Americans.

The Duke/North Carolina study identifies 139 people linked to terrorist violence since 2001, an average of 17 people per year. But in the past 14 months, 20 young Somalis disappeared from the Minneapolis area and are thought to have gone to East Africa to join the jihad there. Five D.C. area college students were arrested in Pakistan last month as they tried to join the jihad against American troops in Afghanistan.

Jihad, group leader Ramy Zamzam explained outside a courtroom last week, is not terrorism.

NARROW DEFINITIONS

Like the Zamzam group, most of the cases included in the study involve terrorist plots outside the United States. For example, David Headley is charged with plotting to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and with helping the Mumbai plotters by scouting possible targets. The report devotes a page to the North Carolina jihad plot, emphasizing the group's desire to wage jihad abroad. But it fails to mention that Daniel Patrick Boyd is accused of scouting the Marine base at Quantico for a possible attack and that he and defendant Hysen Sherifi were charged in September with plotting to kill American soldiers.

And the data doesn't count cases involving terrorist financing, listing them as "exclusively non-violent activities … because, in our view, individuals have not fully radicalized unless they are willing and have taken steps toward violent action to further their radical views."

It is simply bad social science to view the phenomenon of terrorism as isolated from all other factors and activities besides violent acts. Terrorist acts are at the tail-end of a process of radicalization through which an individual comes to believe in the necessity of radical action through interactive social processes often fostered and guided by Islamist movements. Violent Islamist movements do not just blow things up. They produce propaganda, raise funds, engage in dawah and educational efforts, and often provide services to their constituency. All of these efforts are an interrelated part of a whole and cannot be separated - not even by two universities with first-rate basketball teams. We should expect better from a research team that prominently features a sociologist.

The emphasis on the number of people prosecuted diminishes significance of the threat of terrorism because plots were interdicted before they had a chance to succeed. If even a fraction of them were successfully executed, the death toll could reach into the thousands. It's a fundamental weakness of the argument to argue this threat is exaggerated.

Their definition ignores the radical dogma that goes along with "non violent activities" and the often-used Koranic solicitation that those who finance jihadists are blessed the same as if they participated.

It also buys in to the "covenant of security" understanding many Britons now regret. In essence, radical groups were tolerated as long as their violence did not target the United Kingdom.

The report also seems plagued by other arbitrary standards. The research team interviewed 120 people in four mid-sized U.S. communities. It found that Muslim communities do a good job of self-policing against radical elements and that "Muslim-American organizations and leaders have consistently condemned terrorist violence here and abroad since 9/11, arguing that such violence is strictly condemned by Islam."

It isn't clear how those subjects were chosen or whether the researchers sought out contrary points of view. They are not difficult to find.

Writer Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, sees American Muslim leadership as a part of the problem more than as part of the solution. In the wake of the Zamzam arrests in Pakistan, Fatah noted the radical ties of those expressing concern and making vows to combat the extremist trend. "[T]he leaders of the American Mosque establishment have still not yet recognized that their rhetoric no longer works and that most Americans can see through their tired old cliches about 'peace' and 'love'."

After the Fort Hood massacre, journalist Asra Nomani described Nidal Malik Hasan's slaughter as "a cautionary tale to all Muslim communities about the consequences when we fail to win the war of ideas in the Muslim world with moderate interpretation of Islam over rigid, literal interpretations."

She interviewed a man who attended the same Maryland mosque as Hasan and debated theology with him. Hasan espoused clearly radical views and a literal interpretation of the Quran. "No one in the mosque responded with concerns about Hasan's extremist views," Nomani wrote. But they did object when his interlocutor handed out a newspaper article about an Afgan suicide bomber who accidentally killed his mother and other family members. An angry mosque member accused him of creating a "fitna," or division, in the community.

Nomani met with the same anger when she tried to change her mosque's policy of segregating women from men during prayer.

The report credits the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS), but makes no mention of their well-documented radical ties and the counter-productive ideologies they espouse.

WARTS IGNORED

ISNA was created by Muslim Brotherhood activists in the United States, some of whom remain active. While it engages in numerous interfaith outreach programs, it has a history of tolerating radical statements in its conferences and by some of its own activists.

For example, Jamal Badawi, a senior member of ISNA's leadership, the Majlis A-Shura, and scholar of the ISNA-directed Fiqh Council of North America, spoke last February at

the Chebucto Mosque of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the topic of "Understanding Jihad and Martyrdom." He justified the actions of those who die fighting the enemy, particularly "the noble Mujahideen" of Gaza. Concerning these Gazan jihadists, he said:

"Indeed Allah purchased from the believers, their lives and their property, in return for Paradise. They fight in the Way of Allah, they slay and they get slain themselves… And then it [the Qu'ran] says, "Who is more faithful to his covenant or promise, than Allah (swt), then rejoice with this bargain." You see, it's a bargain. Allah bought it [life], but he gives something in return."

As we've reported, ICNA is related to the Jamaat-i-Islami, which advocates for revolution to create an Islamist state in Pakistan. While officials expressed shock that American college students were arrested in Pakistan as they tried to join a jihad against American troops in Afghanistan, the group canonized an American who died waging jihad in Kashmir 12 years earlier.

Then there's CAIR. The FBI cut off contact with the group, despite its political profile, because it has not determined "whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS." That connection was demonstrated in documents admitted into evidence at the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which ended with sweeping convictions in November 2008.

CAIR, along with MAS, often perpetuate the notion that American anti-terror efforts amount to a war on Islam, a message considered pivotal in radicalization.

Even if their intentions are good, their efforts are likely to fall short based upon the organization's inherent beliefs, wrote M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and executive director of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy.

"CAIR and [the Muslim Public Affairs Council] have typically renounced the use of terror and violence, but they have never taken a position against the ideology of political Islam," Jasser wrote. "They have also been constant antagonists to efforts by law enforcement to understand and mitigate the real stages of radicalization of Muslims in America. Just recently these groups called for government to naively "decouple religion from terror."

These organizations have a history of reacting defensively, of crying entrapment when informants help expose plots before they turn violent and even impeding law enforcement investigations. That fact is not analyzed in the report, which casts the groups as a part of the solution.

"Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends," David Schanzer, the co-author of the study, said in a statement.

When one reads such a statement about groups that have recommended one of Osama bin Laden's favorite books - Sayyid Qutb's Milestones - it is hard not to laugh. If he modified this statement to explain they only rejected the use of violence to achieve political ends here, but not elsewhere, Dr. Schanzer would have been closer to the truth.

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JWR contributor Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and considered one of the leading world authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He now serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest archival data and intelligence institutes on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

© 2010, Steven Emerson