My column in Human Events this week (news links in the original):
The Los Angeles Police Department announced plans Thursday to map Muslim communities, hoping to identify people who might be liable to succumb to — as Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing put it — “violent, ideologically based extremism.” Downing said that the LAPD would work with a Muslim partner, and added: “We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to those communities.”
The ACLU of Southern California, an association of Muslim lawyers called Muslim Advocates, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote to Downing that “singling out individuals for investigation, surveillance, and data-gathering based on their religion constitutes religious profiling that is just as unlawful, ill-advised and deeply offensive as racial profiling.” And also, “the mapping of Muslim communities…seems premised on the faulty notion that Muslims are more likely to commit violent acts than people of other faiths.”
Of course they aren’t: that’s why we see Presbyterians blowing themselves up in crowded restaurants, Buddhists flying planes into buildings, and Amish waving placards crowing that they will soon dominate the world. The mapping of Muslim communities is sensible in light of the violent acts committed around the world — over 9,000 separate attacks since 9/11– in the name of Islam. But political correctness has kept law enforcement officials (and the media) from asking the hard questions they should ask of Muslim leaders in the United States. Absurdities abound. One police official lamented: “We”ll come back from a Kumbayah meeting with a local mosque and realize that these guys who just agreed to help us are in our terror files!” Cleveland Muslim leader Fawaz Damra signed the Fiqh Council of North America’s condemnation of terrorism — and was later deported for failing to disclose his ties to terrorist groups. Damra was never expelled from his communities in Brooklyn, New York, or Cleveland despite having said at a 1989 Islamic conference that “the first principle is that terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation.”
Peaceful American Muslims have not moved to expose, expel, or separate themselves from those who hold such sentiments. There is no wall of separation in the American Muslim community between Muslims who accept American pluralism and want to live ordinary lives and those who hold to the ideology of jihad and the subjugation of infidels held by Osama bin Laden. And authorities have not investigated the presence of such sentiments at all, despite the fact that they could be a reliable indicator of who might commit violent acts in the future and who might not.
Are there really jihadist sympathizers in American mosques? Yes. Sahim Alwan, a onetime leader of the Yemeni community in Lackawanna, New York and president of the mosque there, has the distinction of being the first American to attend an Al Qaeda training camp. Maher Hawash’s transition from secular Intel exec to jihadist was accompanied by an increase in his Islamic fervor and frequent mosque attendance.
This doesn’t mean that every Muslim in the United States is secretly plotting a jihad attack. But would it really be wise to risk everything on the assumption that none are?
The outrage of the ACLU and the Muslim groups over “the faulty notion that Muslims are more likely to commit violent acts than people of other faiths” founders on the fact that many Muslim groups have actually declared their desire to commit violent acts in the United States. We would be foolish — suicidally so — not to take all necessary steps to protect ourselves accordingly. If American Muslim groups were genuinely concerned about the unfair targeting of Muslims, they could direct their efforts to making concerted efforts to work with law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists in the United States, and to turn Muslims in America away from the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism.
The fact that they do not do this, and instead work against genuine efforts to protect this country from a catastrophic attack, is revelatory. Despite their complaints, this mapping should continue, and expand.