Attorney General Acknowledges Muslim American Communities' Work in Countering Violent Extremism

August 6, 2010

Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder

On Thursday August 5th during a press conference announcing indictments against individuals connected to the Al-Shabab terrorist organization in Somalia, Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged the work of Muslim American communities in combating the terrorist threat.

The Attorney General went on to highlight a recent video message put out by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) which featured nine of the nation's most respected and most influential Muslim American scholars directly challenging the voices who call on Muslim Americans to engage in acts of violence.

Members of the American Muslim community have been, and continue to be, strong partners in fighting this emerging threat.   They have regularly denounced terrorist acts and those who carry them out.   And they have provided critical assistance to law enforcement in helping to disrupt terrorist plots and combat radicalization.

These individuals have consistently, and correctly, expressed deep concern about the recruitment of their youth by terrorist groups.   Many members of the community have taken proactive steps to stop the recruitment of their youth by terrorist groups.   Just recently, a group of prominent American Muslims joined together in a video to repudiate the tactics employed by radicalized militants to recruit young Muslims via the Internet.

There needs to be more recognition of these efforts and of the losses suffered in the Muslim community here and around the world.   Many of the victims of terror attacks by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups are innocent Muslims.

It is important that policy makers understand the work of local communities in the broader effort to counter violent extremism. Law enforcement cannot go it alone; nearly every three Al-Qaeda since 9/11 have been foiled with the assistance of Muslim communities.  Nor law enforcement arrest its way out of this challenge; it requires the assistance of Muslim communities to continue offering a counter-narrative to extremists' ideology of death.

It is a significant step in the right direction that the Attorney General has finally publicly acknowledged the crucial role of Muslim Americans in securing our nation. Nonetheless we will continue to engage the administration on remaining serious impediments to a fully effective partnership, such as the current status of the Guidelines governing the use of informants. The assistance strongly supported by the Attorney General can only be fully realized and effective through partnerships of trust based on respect for civil liberties.

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