The Obama Administration has a new strategy for combating Islamic terrorism. The document that lays out its new strategy avoids using “Terrorism” in its title, instead substituting “Violent Extremism”. Jihad is not mentioned anywhere. Even “Muslim” is used as little as possible.
Eight pages of mostly redundant text repeat the same idea, that the only way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with and empowering Muslim communities and organizations. That is the “revolutionary” new idea that merited coverage from the New York Times, NPR and CNN. And if the strategy had to be summed up in one word, it would be, “Collaborate!”
“Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States,” sounds almost as catchy as “Man-Caused Disasters”, and comes from the same school of thought. The University of Denial, whose motto is that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism, is not to talk about it. And “Not talking about it” is a big part of the new strategy. The document warns repeatedly that associating Islam with terrorism leads to terrorism. WWII had “Loose Lips, Sink Ships”, and we have, “Loose Stereotypes Fly Planes into Buildings.”
Released as an answer to Congressman King’s hearings into Islamic radicalization, it completely fails to address the questions raised by those hearings. Instead the strategy compares Islamic terrorism to gangs and pedophiles– treating it as a persistent social issue, rather than a violent threat. And its only answer is to keep working with Muslim groups to teach their youth not to do drugs, join gangs or blow up bombs.
Empowering Local Partners is a transparent defense of CAIR and other Muslim organizations accused of radical activities. But rather than countering the charges raised against them, it pretends those charges have never been made, and urges law enforcement to continue partnering with Muslim groups. A course that leads local and national law enforcement to unwittingly work with the political partners and fundraisers of terrorist organizations.
The White House could not have found anyone better to devise its new strategy than Quintan Wiktorowicz. After September 11, Wiktorowicz co-wrote an article for the Saudi funded Middle East Policy Council Journal, which made a point of distinguishing between Al-Qaeda and more mainstream organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wiktorowicz also distinguished between violent and non-violent Salafis. The “good” Salafis have PhD’s from Saudi universities. The “bad” Salafis are a “small radical fringe” who are mostly self-taught and ignorant. Want to fight Islamic terrorism, then you have to put more Islamic scholars with Saudi PhD’s on the job.
This is exactly the argument that Wiktorowicz makes, that “very religious Muslims” are “the most resistant to radicalization” while those most likely to be radicalized lack a good grounding in Islam. Fighting Islamic terrorism with Islamism was his approach in the UK and it derives from his fondness for Salafism.
In another Middle East Policy Council Journal article, Wiktorowicz warned against “radicalizing the Salafis and creating a legion of new supporters for Bin Laden”. This is the fulcrum of appeasement. On the one hand Wiktorowicz and those like him argue that terrorists are a tiny minority of a tiny minority. On the other, if the United States fails to mend its ways, they warn that any number of Muslims can become radicalized and turn into terrorists.
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