Today marks the last day of the “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” hosted by President Obama at the White House. Some of the guests at this summit included world leaders from over sixty nations, as well as representatives from states across our nation.
Political representatives from Minnesota were there to address the continuing problem of our youth being recruited to join terrorist groups such as ISIS, el Shabab and al Qaeda. The Twin Cities, along with Boston and Los Angeles, have been identified as the major hubs for recruitment of youth to join terrorism groups, due to each respective city’s large demographics of Muslims.
Minneapolis has the largest population of Somalians in the United States, and terrorist groups have been very successful in recruiting soldiers from this population. For more information on these recruitments of terrorists in the Twin Cities, see the following links-
Senator Al Franken is very aware of this problem, and in September he wrote a letter to Eric Holder, asking the administration to be more proactive in countering terrorism recruitment.
Of course cities like Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Boston and Los Angeles are not alone in their loss of young men and women to the new terrorist movement. In recent months a man from Ohio pledged allegiance to ISIS and plotted to blow up the U.S. capitol building-
And a man in Oklahoma beheaded his co-worker as part of his Jihad plan-
It has been estimated that over 2,000 people have left their homes in the United States and Europe to join terrorist groups overseas.
ISIS has been very successful in claiming land across the Middle East, and they have warned repeatedly that Europe and the United States will soon also be overcome by their violent jihad.
Their methods are simplistic and horrific; anyone who does not agree with their ideology is killed. In just the past week, ISIS beheaded 21 people simply because they were Christians.
Followers of ISIS had a plot to kill the Queen of England a few months ago-
Police Officers in New York City were placed on high-alert after an ISIS propaganda film was released, encouraging followers to kill police officers whenever and wherever they got the chance.
And the recent mass killings in both Paris France and Copenhagen reminded us all that the terrorist threat is in no way restricted to places like Syria.
With all of these recent horrifying events, there were high expectations for the security summit. There have already been debates about whether we should send ground troops to fight in Syria, and discussions about how to dismantle ISIS financially.
Yet with all of these pressing issues, President Obama chose to make a speech about how we should all be tolerant of Muslims, and how he refuses to call these terrorists “Islamic Extremists.” To watch the speech, go to the following link-
Anyone who has half a heart was likely moved by Obama’s story of Sabrina, the eleven-year old Muslim girl who sent him a valentine and said that Muslims are not bad people, they are just like everybody else. Yes, this is a good reminder that people should not be profiled or judged based upon their religion, and that in America we all have freedom to worship in any way we should choose. Any rational person already knew this. There are plenty of moderate Muslims who are horrified at the atrocities being committed in the name of Jihad, and these people should not have to suffer the stigma of being categorized along with terrorists.
This author recently spoke with one of these moderate Muslims who reiterated that regardless of our individual belief systems, most of us just want to live in peace.
Other moderate Muslims have come forward to publicly denounce acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam, including the religious leaders who recently wrote an open letter to ISIS.
It should also be noted that terrorist acts are in no way confined to Islamic or Muslim groups. The recent attempted bombing of the N.A.A.C.P. headquarters would most certainly qualify as a hate crime and if it had been successful, a terrorist act.
A local church that was vandalized repeatedly because it allowed homosexuals to attend services would qualify as another hate crime. Once again, if the vandalism rose to the level where people actually changed their habits, or were afraid to attend the church, that might have also been deemed a terrorist act.
So President Obama’s points are well taken. Anyone who thinks that all Muslims are terrorists, or all terrorists are Muslims, is clearly wrong.
Yet Obama was remiss in neglecting to address the issue at hand, namely- What are we going to do about terrorism? With daily news of victims being tortured and killed, both at home and abroad, it is clear to most of us that some changes need to be made immediately. Instead, Obama called this new wave of terrorism “a generational” issue, which is sure to last past his time in the White House.
It appeared that the president had very little anxiety about the rising death toll and the vast amount of land that ISIS is claiming every day. Instead, he chose to focus again and again on why he refuses to call these people “Islamic Extremists.” He also advised that if we want to avoid future recruitment of Jihad soldiers, then the Muslim religious leaders need to make their message more hip and youth oriented, to compete against the internet savvy ISIS members.
Lastly, Obama suggested that we listen to the grievances of the terrorists to try to understand their point of view, and provide the Muslim youth with more job-opportunities so that they will not feel hopeless. This was all part of the underlying thread of his speech, that American Muslims are no different from any other group of immigrants who has come to America, and we should just embrace pluralism to make them feel more welcome.
At the end of Obama’s speech, we were left with the suggestion that if we all just try to get along, and avoid name calling or disparaging anyone’s religious beliefs, this will all turn out okay. Even more maddening, the major news channels, acting as if they all have Attention Deficit Disorder and had just seen something shiny that distracted them, ran with the non-story of Obama choosing not to use the term “Islamic Extremism.”
From this author’s perspective, their name is irrelevant. You can call them the “Purple People Eaters” or the “Maniacal Smurfs” for all I care. I simply want to know how we’re going to stop them.
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