National Security

National security impacts all of our lives because we have a vested interest in protecting our families, our communities and our country from acts of violence by any perpetrator.  We must take our place at the table and participate in discussions with lawmakers on effectively balancing national security and civil rights because the outcomes have consequences that affect all of us. MPAC's government relations team meets regularly with government agencies -- including the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the Treasury Department -- and members of Congress to identify effective means of fighting terrorism that also uphold Constitutional rights for all Americans. Effective counterterrorism policy must also prevent racial profiling, wire tapping and violations of civil rights, all of which undermine our efforts to counter violent extremism.

MPAC's government relations team aims to effectively address issues of concern to our nation while providing practical policy solutions. Rather than being passive objects of discussion in counterterrorism discussions, MPAC staff proactively engage the policy discourse and provide practical recommendations to protect our country while also preserving the civil rights of all Americans.

One example of the type of research and analysis provided by MPAC is a study conducted by Government Liaison Alejandro Beutel, a "Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database" which breaks down the 96 domestic terrorism plots uncovered since 9/11 by race, religion, and type. Among the key findings: Since 9/11, there have been 11 cases in which Muslim Americans assisted law enforcement agencies in preventing terror plots. Two-thirds of the plots involved non-Muslim perpetrators, compared with one-third Muslim perpetrators.

MPAC published its first policy memo as the Counterterrorism Chronicles in 1993, and produced its first policy paper on counterterrorism policy in 1999. In September 2003, MPAC published its second counterterrorism policy paper entitled "A Review of U.S. Counterterrorism Policy: American Muslim Critique & Recommendations." General Brent Scowcroft, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, said, "MPAC's Counterterrorism Policy Paper is a serious and thoughtful document that should be valuable to all policy-makers. Counterterrorism analysis from an American Muslim perspective is critical to the decision-making process. I found the paper to be serious and in-depth, and the recommendations should be reviewed by the policy-making community."

MPAC has created campaigns to assist local Muslim communities in engaging with law enforcement and ensuring financial and ideological transparency at their mosques. One such program is our National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism, which was launched in 2004 and endorsed by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Department of Justice.  More recently, we released an eye opening policy paper entitled "Building Bridges to Strengthen America: Building an Effective Counterterrorism Enterprise between Muslim Americans and Law Enforcement." Against the background of more than a dozen domestic terrorism plots uncovered in 2009, this paper discusses the current analysis of the "domestic radicalization" and proposes a blueprint for effective community-law enforcement engagement and partnership. 

As we seek to protect our nation from violent extremists, so too must we protect our nation from threats to our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Part of our work in national security is to ensure that our government and law enforcement officials reinforce the moderate mainstream Muslim American voice, and do not play into the rhetoric and propaganda of violent extremists.

In the words of John Brennan, President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security in Spring 2010:

"Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists, because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself or one's community.  And there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women, and children. Indeed, characterizing our adversaries this way would be counterproductive. It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause when in fact, they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims."

Effective national security requires partnered solutions, which draw from the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors. Continuous engagement on policy and law enforcement issues is essential to the safety and security of our nation and the growth of the Muslim American community's stature in the American fabric of life.  MPAC's presence on the front lines of these issues remains imperative to the overall outcome of this discourse.







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