The question is not whether Mehanna has the right to preach and publish what he believes – under the First Amendment he does – but whether Jihad is part of a legitimate accepted dialogue. Where were the people in his family and community who might have dissuaded him? Why have Muslim-American leaders and organizations remained silent? Instead of apologizing for him and organizing support groups (“Free Tareq”) there should be a thorough and serious self-criticism.
If not, there will be many more Americans like Mehanna, Major Nidal Hassan who murdered 13 and wounded 29 people in Texas, and Najibullah Zazi and Adis Mendunjenin, from Queens, NYC, who were convicted in May, 2012 of plotting to bomb the subway and other terrorist acts.
Americans have spent a great deal of money and sacrificed many thousands of lives to assist Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries to live in freedom, to establish democratic governments and improve their lives. The payback should not be Jihad, and certainly not from loyal American citizens.
The problem is not only terrorist organizations, like al Qaida, but so-called religious leaders who sanction and fuel hatred and terrorism. Combating them is not only a matter of law, but of education.
In order to defeat Jihadism among Muslim-Americans, the message must be clear. Jihadism is un-American. Like KKK racism and neo-Nazism, it violates American norms and values and is therefore unacceptable.
Minds are dark places, full of holes. They are not dangerous, until they are, but by then it’s often too late.
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