Recent Studies about National Security Should Put to Bed Any Fears of Muslims & Islam

February 17, 2012

A study conducted by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) has proven that contrary to the popular belief homegrown terrorism by Muslims in the United States, are not a threat. The author of the report, Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, said “terrorism by Muslim Americans is a miniscule threat to public safety.”

The report, “Muslim American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11,” concluded that in 2011, “Muslim American terrorist plots led to no fatalities in the United States, and the year’s four indictments for terrorist financing indictments involved relatively small amounts of money.”

Moreover, the study noted that in 2011, the number of violent plots of terrorism over the last ten years and the number of those who have been convicted or indicted for supporting terrorism have both dropped. This conclusion falls in line with the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s report, “Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database” which concludes:

  • Since 9/11, only 44 percent of suspects publicly associated with terrorism were prosecuted under terrorism or national security statute.
  • Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies, but
  • There is little evidence of rising ideological extremism among Muslim Americans.

Both the MPAC and TCTHS studies indicate that no one religion has a monopoly on violent extremism. The academic research shows that the repeated hyping of the threat from extremists within Muslim American community is overblown and based on gross distortions. It is important for all Americans to remain alert to any type of violent extremism while keeping “real threats” in perspective.

This is also one more reason why our nation cannot afford to distance itself from the values of religious tolerance and pluralism that make it strong. According to MPAC’s report, “Muslim communities helped US security officials to prevent nearly two out of every five al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11.” Building and maintaining effective and productive relationships between the Muslim American community and law enforcement will only enhance our vigilance against violence.

While homegrown radicalization may have decreased, it is still a tangible challenge law enforcement must tackle. So the deliberate attempt to marginalize an entire faith community by anti-Muslim hate industry not only runs contrary to our nation’s values, it recklessly damages our important law enforcement partnership that keeps our nation safe.

In what seems to be an unfortunate recent trend, law enforcement training materials not only attacks Islam but presents an inaccurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims. This has only damaged the extremely important relationship that should be forged between these two groups. This is why in the efforts to be vigilant against Muslim extremism, our nation also needs to be aware of anti-Muslim hate and extremism.

The reality is that the Muslim American community has been aiding law enforcement in tracing violent elements while in the midst of anti-Muslim hate leaders warning officials that mainstream Muslims are “violent and radical.” The epidemic of violent extremism created by fear-mongers in an effort to divide America never materialized. The academic research proves otherwise – Muslims and Islam do not pose a threat to this country, and the community's continued efforts have proven to be a source of positivity.

The academic research is an added and very important arrow in the quiver of mainstream Americans of all faiths and political orientations: provides important solid evidence – something that extremists on all sides lack – that Muslims and Islam do not pose a threat to this country, and in fact are a source of strength for our nation.

For the sake of our nation’s values (and its public safety) we continue our call to all our fellow Americans: facts, not hate and distortions, must lead the discussion.

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