Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dr. M. Saud Anwar’s testimony to Congress

Written Congressional Testimony

M. Saud Anwar MD, MPH

Chairman, American Muslim Peace Initiative

Immigrant American Muslims and European Muslims: Similarities and Differences & Homeland Security Implications:

Statement of Dr. M. Saud Anwar, Chairman, American Muslim Peace Initiative

Written Testimony before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment, House Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives

Hearing on, “”Radicalization; Homeland Security Implications” September 20th, 2006

OPENING:

Chairman Simmons, Ranking Member Lofgren, and Members of the Subcommittee, My name is M. Saud Anwar; I am the Chairperson of the American Muslim Peace Initiative. American Muslim Peace Initiative is a network of organizations and leaders of various organizations uniting our voices to articulate the challenges and opportunities for promoting peace in our neighborhoods, our nation and our world.

I would like to thank you for holding this very important hearing today and also allowing me an  opportunity to underscore the American Muslim Peace Initiatives’ strong commitment to help understand and share the American Muslim community’s perspectives and help identify ways of making our homeland safe and secure.

I have been the Founder and Past President of the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut, a grass root organization of Pakistani Americans in Connecticut. Subsequently, I have served as a Secretary of the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee, a nationwide organization of Pakistani Americans. I am the President Elect of this organization. I am also the founder of a community out reach program for Pakistani Americans and American Muslim partnership with our law enforcement agencies to help build bridges between the American Muslims and our law enforcement agencies.  With these initiatives I have had the chance to interact with a large community of American Muslims and Pakistani Americans to share perspectives informally and formally. In order to get a quantitative and qualitative perspective of the community members, a study was performed to look at the acculturation status and views of the American Muslims of Pakistani heritage and multiple group discussion with the people from different segments were held to help learn the perspectives of people from a wide array of backgrounds.

INTRODUCTION

The American-Muslims are believed to be a community of about seven million people.
This group is highly educated: 67% of American Muslims have a Bachelor’s degree or higher as opposed to 44% of Americans have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 33% of American Muslims hold an Advanced degree (above bachelor) and 8.6% of Americans hold an Advanced degree. (Bridges TV Data)

This group is affluent with U.S. Average income is $42,158 per year (U.S. Census 2000) 66% of American Muslim households earn over $50,000 / year 26% of American Muslim households earn over $100,000 / year.

Since September 11th, after the United State’s coordinated response at multiple levels in the war on terror, there have been some statements and activities, which have led to concerns for an average Muslim in different parts of the world, as well as, in the United States. It is critical that the American-Muslim community, as well as, the United State’s administration and Congress to have serious discussions to help understand each other’s perspective and identify common grounds.

The American-Muslims have an important role to play in helping us understand perspectives, policies, reactions and responses in the war or terror. We the American Muslims enjoy religious freedoms in United States and do feel that we have a role in helping educate Muslims around the world on the true American values, and also to help educate the US Administration to be very conscious of some of the steps and wordings and activities, which have led the American-Muslims to question and be concerned about some of the US policies. There is an acute need for a combined analysis of the situation and this is the time to unite and work together to help build the bridges and reevaluate the positions which are in our best interest.

As a result of the above, some of the members of the American-Muslim community were reached out to identify some qualitative analysis of common grounds and perceptions as well as quantitative assessment of the perception and views of a segment of American Muslims that need to be shared.

Moreover, a number of that the questionnaires were sent out to the some of the American-Muslim community to help identify the makeup and the cross-cultural makeup of the some of the American-Muslim community.  I will outline some of the following different components:

QUANTITATIVE DATA AND ANALYSIS:

To understand the views of American-Muslim community, the help was sought from the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee to try and identify the views of the Pakistani American community and American community with regards to information on integration of this community and the current views in the post-9/11 era.

A questionnaire was sent to 2000 individuals by electronic means.  There was a 10% response to it. The questions are placed in APPENDIX ONE.

When asked the question if American Muslims were more assimilated and integrated than the European Muslims, of the responders to the questions, 69% of the people agreed that the American Muslims were more integrated than the European Muslims.  21% were not sure and the 10% felt otherwise.

When asked the questions whether the American-Muslims valued interacting with other Americans, 99.5% of the people valued interacting with their fellow Americans. These numbers are much higher than the British counterparts.

When asked whether the American Muslims would like to maintain the identity and values of their religious and ethnic origin, 84% of the people agreed and 7% were not sure and 9% said no.

This suggests that the American Muslims are more inclined towards integration rather than assimilation.

When asked if the American Muslims had become more religious after 9/11 or the War on Terror, 76% of the responders said no, and 19% said yes and approximately 5% were not sure.

When asked if the American Muslims disagreed with the US foreign policies, 80% agreed with that and 4% were in disagreement and 16% were not sure.

When the community was asked if the Pakistani-Americans and American Muslims have had a wrongful negative perception in the United States, 73% were in agreement as opposed to 16% who felt otherwise. 11 % were not sure.

When asked if the American Muslims were politically and socially active, would that help change or improve the perception, 88% of the people felt yes and 12% were not sure.

When asked if the people had a feeling of hopelessness with the current situation, 22% of the people said yes as opposed to 58% of the people who did not feel hopeless and 20% were not sure.

When asked if the people were comfortable talking to a law enforcement officer, 75% of the people said that they were comfortable, as opposed to 13% who were uncomfortable and 12% were not sure.

This data does give us a glimpse into some important issues which are very relevant. This suggests that the American Muslims feel more integrated and assimilated within the American society.  They also feel that they are much more integrated then their European counterparts.

The percentages of people who feel marginalized or separated are minimal at this time.

With respect to the concern about people becoming more religious, a small percentage do feel that they are becoming more religious, but majority felt that that had not make them change their religious perspective and religiosity. It was also clear that the majority of the responders were in disagreement with the US policies and majority of them did feel that because of media portrayal or otherwise there was a negative perception about them. More importantly, the people do feel that to overcome this negative perception, they would have to be more politically and socially active.  This to me is a good sign.  In one of the questions, it was concerning to see that at least 22% some of the people have started to feel hopeless about the current situation, but majority approximately 78% of the people do not feel hopeless about the situation. The majority of the people are comfortable talking to the law enforcement agent.  However, this number should increase and again appropriate actions need to be taken on the part of the American Muslim community, as well as, the law enforcement agency to try and build alliances and understanding so people feel more comfortable talking to a law enforcement officer.

QUALITATIVE DATA:

In order to develop a better understanding of some of the key issues at this time besides the quantitative data, some work was initiated on get some qualitative insight.  In order to get quantitative information, some questions were sent as the qualitative questions to general community members, who were not necessarily in leadership position in organizations.  These questions can be seen in APPENDIX TWO. Moreover, there were some discussions held with four groups of students and different American Muslims to get an idea about the concerns in people’s minds with the current challenges.

The following are some of the patterns of issues that were raised in the discussion.  Interestingly, many of the youth did not focus as much on being either of an immigrant heritage or American Muslims, but more as Americans and they felt that the life was going on a day-to-day basis.  They did not feel that there was any profiling or felt prejudice from their peers.

Some in the discussions did mention about how receiving information that is out there through alternate media sources was making people upset and angry, which included the situation with the war on Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and the fact that a large number of civilians had died, and subsequently the war in Lebanon, and how that had impacted the lives of people. How the alternate media was helping people get information even simple information through BBC was a useful resource to get information on the misery of the people in the world.

A common issue that was raised was that the media and the policy makers in their commentaries or speeches should not to attack the religion of anyone which is the core of the people.  Anybody who feels threatened starts to go towards the core as was seen in the post-9/11, then the churches were full because the people felt that there were under an attack and they obviously go towards the core.  Whenever any community is attacked they seek refuge in religion. When a religion is attacked, people move to the core as well and when that leads to people beginning to harbor anger.  This is an issue, which has been raised on multiple occasions where it appears that our account of terrorism efforts have become counter productive because of the inappropriate use of terminology. When the religion is suggested to be the source of the problem, the terrorists are given more legitimacy.

Again when asked what would be the way to help keep the people and the youth integrated in the community, appropriate use of terminology, wordings, fair implementation of policies, protection of rights, and again there also understanding of their responsibility has increased where they would be involved with more other communities to try and inform people about their true values and their ability to bridge building activity with the world.

Qualitative responses also included people’s perspective of importance of stop negative portrayal of Islam and all Muslims. An acute need for empowering the moderate majority and legitimizing the efforts of the moderate Muslims was palpably felt.  The psychological and emotional difficulties people feel with the bias languages used for them. People feel that Policy makers need to be educated about Islam by Muslims rather than the other sources. The introduction and information about Islam should be set up by Muslims in a way where people can understand their perspectives and times like this, this is an acute and important responsibility of the policymakers and law enforcement agents to learn about this from appropriate sources rather than through sources, which is going to further enhance the negative stereotypes that have been created.

Profiling was again mentioned in multiple meetings and all actions should be kept to try and prevent marginalization to not to occur. This activity can help prevent the ghettoization of the American Muslims that some feel may have happened into the European Muslims. Issues about social injustice and foreign policies were mentioned by people multiple times. The written components of the qualitative questions are mentioned in APPENDIX THREE.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

A)    There are clear differences between the American and European Muslims. The American Muslims are much more integrated and assimilated into the US society then their European counterparts. The European Muslims are more likely to be separated and marginalized than what we are seeing here in the United States.

B)     The American Muslims are trying to counter the current challenges by being more socially and politically active. Majority are hopeful that their abilities to help educate and inform fellow Americans would help bear fruits by increasing understanding and harmony

C)     Wrongful use of terminologies and implicating Islam as the cause of the current situation helps legitimizes the activities of the terrorists and leads to weakening of the moderate voices amongst the Muslims and thus these careless remarks are counter-productive efforts in counter terrorism.

D)    Policies, positions and communications should be planned which would help further integration of the American Muslims within the larger society and reduce the probability of physical or psychological ghettoization that can occur.

E)      Increase communication and coordination of American Muslims and our law enforcement agencies needs to occur to help build better understanding and comfort for long term coordination and synchronization for a safe America.

F)      American Muslims do have an important role at this time to help United States make better policies with the Muslim Majority countries and help build bridges and share the true American Values with the rest of the world. Our domestic polices should help Muslims feel partners and owners in these responsibilities.

Chairman Simmons, Ranking Member Lofgren, and Members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for your consideration of my testimony and inviting me to share these perspectives. 

 

APPENDIX ONE

THE WEB BASED QUESTIONS

Q1: Do you think that the American Muslims are more assimilated and integrated than   the European Muslims

Q2: Do you enjoy and value interacting with other Americans?

Q3: Do you prefer to maintain the identity and values of your religious and ethnic origin?

Q4: Have you become more religious since 9/11 and the “War on Terror” has started?

Q5: Do you disagree with the US foreign policies?

Q6: Do you think that the Pakistani Americans and American Muslims have a wrongful negative perception in the United States?

Q 7: Do you think that if you are politically and socially active, you can help change improve the perception?

Q 8: Do you have a feeling of hopelessness with the current situation?

Q 9: Are you comfortable talking to a law enforcement officer?

APPENDIX TWO

The Qualitative Questions

A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world (Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?

B) If yes, Why?

C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United States?

 

D) If yes, why?

 

E) What can be done to protect this from happening?

 

F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL policy regarding this?

 

H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to people from the potential actions of the people who may chose to use violence to show their anger?

  

APPENDIX THREE

Qualitative Questions and Responses Regarding American Muslim Community Perspectives

 

The following questions were sent to people in the community. Some of them chose to respond back. All of the responses are being placed on this. The only parts that have been changed from the original are the names (changed to initials) and in one case a telephone number was placed which has been blanked. The spellings, fonts etc have not been changed to maintain the original shared perspective.

The Questions:

Some Important Qualitative Questions:

A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world (Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?

 

B) If yes, Why?

 

C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United States?

 

D) If yes, why?

 

E) What can be done to protect this from happening?

 

F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL policy regarding this?

 

H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to people from the potential actions of the people who may chose to use violence to show their anger?

The Responses:

These may not necessarily in order of receipt:

Dear Saud:

I hope you will forgive me but I do not really have been able to muster up the time to really address this question even though it is of extreme importance to all of us. I do have three children between the ages of twenty and thirty who are as American as can be.

However, I will try and put some points out for your consideration.

1. As a Muslim living in America I had little patience for Christians or Jews who would go on a long winded exposition of all that is good about their faith. I am sure they feel the same way about Muslims doing the same thing to them. In my opinion interactions between us and our non Muslim friends and co citizens should be devoid of any serious discussion about Islam and how “tolerant” it is as a faith. I do not wish to be tolerated, I want to be accepted for what I am and in spite of what I am, and so do they. We should concentrate on the fact that we are Americans who also happen to be Muslims as they happen to be Christians or Jews or Hindus or whatever. As such all discussions should be about the need for improving the US as a country for all its citizens irrespective of their faith.

2. Most of our children are not radicalized due to the fact that they all belong to the privileged upper classes. The ones we have to worry about those that are members of relatively disadvantaged segments of society and cannot find acceptance as my son who went to Harvard and Yale does. However, my earlier point about the overtly Islamist, in your face Muslim persona that many of us have assumed is dangerous for two reasons. First it alarms our non Muslim neighbors and others unnecessarily and second, it rubs off on our children who actually start believing in such stuff. Whatever anybody on this forum might say, parents are still the most important influence on their children.

3. We should be forthright in our opposition to terrorism and all extremist movements within Islam and openly discuss what we can do to minimize their influence, not only when we talk to non Muslims but also among ourselves. Otherwise we will all be labeled as fellow travelers and people who are willing to protect and hide such people from the law. The example of how we are being treated and will be treated is not like a persecuted minority but rather as the communist and communist sympathizers were fifty odd years ago. In this connection we must also understand that the law enforcement agencies historically need an enemy that they can investigate to justify their own existence and the Republican politicians need terrorism as a bugaboo to win elections.

4. Even though I am not in the US now, but every time I visit and before I left, in almost every Pakistani gathering, almost every body was always railing against “these Americans” forgetting that they are us. We have to keep repeating again and again to our friends within our communities and to our friends outside that we support America but might differ on matters of policy with a certain government as is our right. For instance as I pointed out in one of my recent articles in the Daily Times on multiple identities that as an American I want our boys and girls fighting in Iraq to win every battle and suffer no casualties even though I might believe that we should not be in Iraq in the first place. In other words we cannot and should not act as if we do not care about American losses in war.

5. If at all possible we should support those aspects of the US policy in the middle east that we can support though sadly under this administration there is little that can be supported. However we should learn not to oppose Israel as a knee jerk reaction. My response to the question when Pakistan should recognize Israel is a simple one. Pakistan and all other Muslim countries should recognize Israel on the day a geographically viable Palestine is admitted to the UN as full member and Israel votes for its membership.

6. Many years ago on this forum I had brought up the suggestion that most of us being reasonably well off should frequently invite our non Muslim co workers and colleagues to our homes for barbecues and dinners along with our Muslim friends. Such social intermingling is vital to better inter-faith understanding, more so than contrived interfaith meetings in the local synagogues or churches. However I was attacked for wanting to serve alcohol and other such nonsense.

7. We should start making alliances with other minorities both ethnic and religious. In the ultimate analysis it is the Jews that will be our best allies, we just have to figure out a way getting there. I can say without any sense of shame whatever that some of my best friends as well as supporters while in the US were Jews. Most of them understand our problems better than any other minority and we should take advantage of their empathy and their understanding of our problems. After all during the height of McCarthy mania in the US, the anti communist movement was just a thinly disguised expression of anti-Semitism. That is perhaps the public relations campaign we should have if we ever get around to it.

More ideas as I get them.

Best wishes and keep up the good work. One of you is worth more than all the poetry spouting “progressives” on this forum.

M.

 

 

 

AoA!  just returning back to work after an illness.

regards,
QH

Here are my short answers.

A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world
(Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?

   One needs to distinguish western Muslims and their experiences. In
the US, American-Muslims generally feel they have the space to contribute to
politics, professionally, and earn social mobility. All of this conicides with
the fact that there is a sense that their children have access to good education.

   This may not be true for Britain, France, Germany and Italy where
many immigrant Muslims are locked into particular social groups. Access to Education
is possible but still professional fufillment is not there, plus some feel that there
is very little space for political participation.  The process of assimilation is much
racialized and most European Muslim communities feel that there is pressure to
compromise their culture to fit in.

  In the US, indigenous, immigrant, and second-third generation
American Muslims feel a greater sense of scrutiny after 9/11.  The Patriot Act, INS
Registration, closure of Muslim charities, random arrests,  and overt Islamophobia by prominent religious and political leaders has given much to reflect on their contribution as Americans. However, despite these challenges the American Muslim community has been resilent and endured these political social & economic pressures. More innovative responses were devised by national groups to protect their civil rights, and the youth are more involved in politics than ever before.

>  B) If yes, Why?

SEE ABOVE.

>  C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United
States?

   This has been studied by many experts in the field. Each country has common but
unique history in dealing with minorities and immigrants.  Clearly, in the UK Muslims
have encountered more racisim - which are embedded structurally, than Muslims have in
the US.  In Canada, Muslims find themselves more engaged in coalition building with
other groups, whether minorities or the majority.

>  D) If yes, why?

>  E) What can be done to protect this from happening?

     If you are asking what can be done to prevent 'radicalization'-
what needs to be addressed is what does this really mean? Radical thought is an
acceptable political philosophy, radical behavior is not accepted under the rule of law.  If we are talking about the second, then the solution begins with Muslims themselves.
They need to control their institutions much more better and be engaged what is taught in the Islamic Sunday schools. Imams need to be screened- rather, to be more precise, their needs to be several Islamic seminaries in the US where Imams are trained in the
tradition, based on tolerance and respect, & once they pass these courses their certificate ensures the Muslim community of their background.  Imported imams or makeshift part-time imams open the doors to randomness.   Second,  before Islamic seminaries take off,  Islamic centers & National organizations need to take small steps of intrafaith dialogue.  That is to say, Muslims need to have serious conversations amongst themselves on these issues of violence, peace, and terrrorism!   They can no longer be hostages to how Islam is presented on TV and how bin Ladenism equals Islamic values.   Until American Muslims do not define themselves with clear concise ways, and take their identity and destiny in their own hands, it leaves others to do the job.

>  F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL
policy regarding his?
    I do not know if government has any greater role than what its doing already.


  H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to
people from the >potential actions of the people who may chose to use violence to show
their anger?

          There are numerous canonical texts in Islamic intellectual
history that is on this very subject. How to contain violence, how to reverse anger, and
ways to live a life embracing all life.   Muslims needs to empower themselves with a
better understanding on what is already there. By, perhaps, have Muslim scholars give intensive seminars on a regular basis, theis would be helpful.   I have lots more
ideas if you want to contact me.

with regards,
QH

 

 

>   A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world (Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized? Yes.
>
>   B) If yes, Why? I think the trends of radicalization follow the trends of socio-economic degradation. When people feel as though they are under attack and want to fight back, they will find a way to use religion to rationalize terrorism even if that religion condemns terrorism. Any fanatic can twist and miscontrue verses in the Bible and Quran to justify violence. Violent verses in the Bible can be found here:
http://www.islam101.com/terror/bibleT.htm  Yet, these Biblical verses are not used as “proof” that Christianity is a violent or barbaric religion? Why? Because Christians control the discourse and Muslims do not participate in the discourse. Therefore, Christians describe their religiously-based violence in terms different from what they would use to describe the religiously-based violence of “the other”–i.e. Muslims.
>   C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United States? Yes.
>
>   D) If yes, why? American Muslims are more diverse and economically affluent. Muslims in France and Great Britain are marginalized and more discriminated against. This discrimination breeds feelings of resentment and isolation which can be a breeding ground for terrorism. Here is an article: http://muslim-canada.org/livingislam3.html
Please read 9/11 executive summary, which mentions Muslims:
http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Exec.htm

>
>   E) What can be done to protect this from happening? Racially discriminatory legislation is countproductive because it can breed feelings of fear and isolation. Some Muslims may feel discouraged from reporting suspicious acts if they feel that law enforcement will treat them unfairly even if they are innocent.

Behaviorial profiling is better and more effective than racial profiling. There are over 7 million American Muslims–it is not an efficient use of time racially profile all of them…and even if law enforcement could do it perfectly, they would not catch people like Richard Reid or Timothy McVeigh. As for the London bombers, they were known to visit mosques that preach radicalism; thus, they should have been profiled on the basis of the TYPE of mosque they attend–not on the basis that they attend a mosque at all.

>   F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL policy regarding this?

Employ behaviorial profiling instead of racial or religious profiling.  Encourage Muslim leaders to keep a watchful eye out for extremists and report them to police. Build relationships of trust and mutual respect with Muslim leaders so they never fear that law enforcement will treat them unfairly should a problem arise. Reach out to Muslim youth–maybe encourage young Muslims to do internships with FBI or law enforcement.

Here is a ACLU article on why racial profiling just does not work:
http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice/racialprofiling/index.html

>   H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to people from the potential actions of the people who may chose to use violence to show their anger?
>

 

 

Dear Dr. Saud Anwar, Assalamoalaikum

You have asked very pertinent and crucial questions. It is hard to
Gauge whether young muslims in the developed world are being radicalized and at what rate. The answer is not so simple that one can just answer without going to a lot of college and university compuses, and listening to our young people what they are thinking or saying. Also, a lot depends upon the environment of the campus or neighborhood where the young muslims socialize. We as parents have to learn to listen to our young ones. They have their own mind and vision of everything they see and hear. We cannot assume that they are like us or will be like us. With all that is going in the world, the young muslims are watching with their eyes and ears open.
Their perceptions and conclusions are what makes their reality. The
Best thing we (all of us including our government) need to do is to make sure that our young generation of muslims do not feel isolated in this country. Every effort has to be made to make sure that they feel part and productive member of the society. We need to make sure that they have dreams and aspirations just like any normal person. We have to make sure that all the opportunities for growth are available to them as they are to other young people who are not muslims. Our government has to make sure that young muslims are not discriminated in jobs and professions (e.g. Airline pilots etc) based upon their religion. This will help in reinforcing the good old values in them and stop them from negative thinking. Our government has to emphasize to American people by every means that muslims are equal member
in the society and they are not to be discriminated. Assimilation and
not the discrimination will help American muslims and the country.

 

MF

 

 

Hello Saud

Here are my responses under your questions:


A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world
(Immigrant or
indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?
Only in the developed countires where Muslims have not been able to
integreate themselves into the social system of their host nation.
Rather they have been cornered off into their own ghettos and have thus closed themsleves from the society. Youth in thes socities at time have no other option but to get radicalized, quite similar to the process that radicalizes youth in Muslim nation.

B) If yes, Why?
I mentioned the details in answer to the previous question.

C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United
States?
Yes indeed. In Canada and United States, Muslim communities are quite
integrated into the system. There is no visible sepration of their
communities and more mixed communities exists. Also, due to the
presence of other visible minority groups, such as African Americans, Mexicans, Carribean-background people, Chiness, Indian and Japaness communities, the Muslim communities have grown the same way most immigrant and minority communities have grown in America and Canada. The Italians and Irish went through the same process and only until recently Japaness and Chiness went through this process. So basically in America and Canada, they find it easier to integrate themselves into the mainstream society and dont find many doors closed. Access may be diffcult at times, but its part of the natural evolution of a minority community.

However, in England and other European countries the Muslim community
has been pushed into a corner due to multiple reasons. One of them being the fact that majority of the Muslim community in England is from the labour class with low education and limited skills. However, in States and Canada, Muslims are realtively highly educated and have higher than average incomes.

D) If yes, why?
Answered this above.

E) What can be done to protect this from happening?
In United States, I think the current policy makers dont have to look
anywhere else but the past. If the true Ameican spirit of nation
building and the fact that everyone has equal opportunity is protected, nothing much needs to be done. What makes America great is the civil liberities its citizens enjoy, and I think that should be highlted and protected esp. from the current administration.

F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL policy
regarding this?
Protect the civile liberties and American freedoms. What local
policymakers need to do is read the "Decleration of Independence" writtend by Jefferson. Try to understand it and get to the meaning of it. You must protect the true spirit of America, esp since its under threat from vested interests across the current administration.

H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to
people from the potential actions of the people who may chose to use violence to show their anger?
Local Muslim communities must be able to see that United States stands
for their views and would protect their fellow Muslim brothers in other
geographies. I think until United States changes its foreign policy and
actually tries to solve the root cause of the terrorism, the situation
is not gonna improve much.

Hope my responses help.

Regards

 

AS

 

A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world
(Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?
Yes, I think they are slowly being radicalized.

  B) If yes, Why?
Though they are many factors, is would like to group them into 2; Personal and global. Let me explain. A) Personal: Some young individuals in the western world may be looking for a higher meaning of their life. Lack of purpose, failures in life, frustration, confusion, may lead them to this path. To some it may offer concreteness with definite goals etc. May make them feel positive about themselves. B) Global: The world has changed. No country or community can remain isolated. Young individuals are more knowledgeable than one may think. I think there is an innate desire to have justice and observance of moral principles. Injustice perpetuates inequality, and persistant inequality leads to frustrations, and desperation. At a geopolitical level, Some would like us to believe that we live in a  world “Where all countries are equal” (respecting each country and their sovereignty ). however, we live more in a world which is “All countries are equal but some are more equal than the other”. Though most mould like to portend this current conflict as religious, it is as much an economic issue (if not more). Current WTO negotiations is an example. Regional benefits trump global benefit (can be perceived as injustice). Certain countries are always on the verge of being sanctioned because they are undemocratic, while some other non-democratic countries are not as they fulfill certain economic needs, Inconsistencies, selective use of regulations undermine value of international laws and norms, with predictable long-term consequences.  Global decisions have consequences for people.

  C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United
States?
Don’t know. I guess countries with the ability to guide global policies are probably at more risk –Furthermore, those with marginalized or “ghetto-ed Muslim populations “maybe more prone to radicalization.

  D) If yes, why?

  E) What can be done to protect this from happening?
I. Stop demonizing ISLAM and all Muslims. All communities will have and have, a small radical factions which at times can become violent. Logic of painting 99.9%. of the rest of the community is questionable.
2. Global benefit of decisions has to be taken into account. ‘
3. People of influence should refrain from inciting comments and ill-conceived statements that alienate moderate muslims (which is the majority and want peace and prosperity) and in effect legitimize negative statements by others, for their personal and political benefit.
4. Bias language in the media needs to be moderated. Psychologically it is difficult to hear one’s belief System to be negatively on incorrectly portrayed most of the time.
5. Rethink foreign Policy. Everything is connected.

  F) What does the US government need to do with respect to LOCAL policy
regarding this?
I. Learn about ISLAM. Though may sound preposterous, ALL Congressmen and Senators should be required to take a course on the subject. (Appropriate decision can only be conceived with appropriate knowledge).
2. Portray ISLAM positively in the media. And official communications.
3. Protect civil liberties.
4. Educate law enforcing /civil authorities that Muslims does not equal terrorists.
5. Stop Religious profiling (travel, workplace, employment).
6. Improve deeper understanding of ISLAM in general community
7. Prevent marginalization.

  H) If E: cannot be done, what the best mechanism is to protect to
people from the potential actions of the people who may chose to use
violence to show their anger?

 

 

Hope this Helps!  Let me know what you think.

 

Some Important Qualitative Questions:

 

A) Do you think that the young Muslims in the developed world (Immigrant or indigenous) are slowly being radicalized?

Yes.

 

B) If yes, Why?

One word – Isolation!

As I watch the media coverage and read the numerous published articles regarding the events in the world I notice a clear and disturbing theme.  The facts published and the formats used are victims of short-term memory and some with no apparent fact-check.  They portray all Muslims with a broad brush, the same brush that is used to describe terrorists.  No effort is made to recognize the ongoing struggle of the Muslims where they are clearly making an effort in denouncing terrorism and trying to reach out to other communities to better educate them about Islam and their respective ethnicity.  When I see so much bias against a people and their religion I try to find those that I can relate to, those that understand and see what I see; now imagine me talking to the wrong group of people!  These people might be looking for this exact opportunity to radicalize young minds.

The theme I refer to above is one that promotes the “suck it up” mentality.  Muslims being profiled?  “Suck it up!”  Muslims being the targets of illegal wire-taps, random raids and isolated due to fear of terrorism?  “Suck it up!”  When we are asked to deal with the consequences of actions that we did not commit, it is tough not to feel isolated.

 

C) Is the situation different between England, Canada and United States?

Yes, I see them as different.

 

D) If yes, why?

Continuing with my theme of Isolation…

England as history will show has effectively formed isolated communities where people with like minds huddle and live together – more than any other country, I argue.  As the number of immigrants grows there have been reports of certain communities relocating to other parts of the world to live closer to those who are like them.  How ironic!

Muslims (a good majority) in USA integrate well within communities and don’t let stereotypes fool or scare them away.

If the trend of Islamic isolation and biased portrayal continues we might not be too far away from England.

So I argue that isolation in its various forms and degree is responsible for these trends in these countries.

 

E) What can be done to protect this from happening?

Federal and State government should recognize this trend and move to creating a more positive environment.  Lawmakers should consider the repercussions of their proposed bills within all communities.  Bills need to be focused more on terrorism than on isolating an entire religious group or population.  Perpetuating “FEAR” through laws creates more “Isolation”.

 

More should be done to cover all aspects of a story in an effort to reach out to those that might be looking for something positive about their religion or ethnicity.  Media should cover more positive stories at a local and state level.  We should get to these young minds before others do.  WE should provide a more peaceful venue for them to vent their anger and fear and acknowledge their concerns.  An event like “Reaching out to American Youth!” – through BridgesTV and other avenues:

 

 

A: Yes

B: It is a well-established fact of human psychology that self-esteem, happiness and a sense of fulfilment comes through keeping oneself busy , doing work of ones liking. In almost all muslim countries, agrarian societies have almost changed to half-baked semi-industrialzed ghettos. We all live in a global village and every one is connected to the rest of the world through the poweful media. Young people living in most of these muslim countries have very little opportunity with respect to education, employment , career opportunities and a decent living. This sense of deprivation and hopelessness in real life is forcing these millions to turn to extremism of Faith in desperation. During my last visit to Pakistan early this year, this shift to the Right was very obvious. On one hand there are shoppin Malls  and splendor of money, the like of which is not so brazenly visible in New York and London, and on the other every nook and corner of poor residential streets swarms with un-employed emaceated young faces staring aimlessly at the hum-drum of life around them.

C: Yes. England is very different from USA or Canada. It is a small country . Immigrants who came to Uk one or two generations earlier worked hard  and made a success story. Times were good and there were ample opportunities for every one. With the passage of time, some of the areas have developed into isolated  and insulated foci of different cultural entities.   If one goes to Bradford, it looks more like Gawalmandi( old Lahore) than a part of Europe. Isolation from the main stream cultural tempo and  lack of equal career opportunities in the thriving European economy has given  them a sense of hopelessness. Strong religious commitment gives them hope and kind of satisfaction despite  their  material deprivations .

D: The best remedy is to ensure unbiased equal career opportunity which will make them busy, happy and a part of the rest of the world.

 

 

I am writing my input because of the importance of the questions asked

The questions and the situation as it relates to muslim children is
more complicated than is perceived by either of the two gentlemen and
in both’s approach it relates to the way the western world sees things.

The muslim community is divided into two groups- the practicing
muslims and the friday or non-practicing muslims. It is the former
(mainly) where “dissent/trouble/radicalism/fundamentalism” brews. And
unless the communities are staudied in detail, a clear picture would
not emerge. A solution that would keep coming up is “improve the
economic lot of the muslims in ghettos and all would improve”. Osama
and Al-Zawahiri are not products of poverty but social injustice- the
word is social injustice and poverty is just one ingredient of that
phenomenon. The whole patriot act promotes and prolongs social
injustice. The inability to address the root causes of social
injustices worldwide continues to fuel radicalism and radicals. I am
surprised that people have not noted that first it was the wahabis who
were bad and the shiites and Kurds were supported and once the
wahabees had been thrashed, now it’s the shiites who are the bad guys.

As for parents vs. children in the developed world, the system
promotes independence and independent thought (I am sure Mansoor was
no different in raising his lovely children). You cannot sensor the
kids thoughts and you cannot sensor your own. Which of you does not
discuss politics and religion at home? Whose computers have google
blocked so that kids could not search the www for religion and
politics? Our kids are much more net savvy than us. The system is not
bad because it teaches equal opportunity but practice is totally
different (like Quran and muslims)

Vast majority of parents do not push their kids towards radical
actions but we also do not offer solutions to our kids, do not teach
them mainstream activism or getting involved in local communities both
actively and visibly so that they could shape their communities
through elections of school boards, registrars, judges, sherrifs and
members of city/county/state/federal legislative bodies.

But then M will write from his own perspctive :)

NZ

Fact finding and peace mission to Israel and Palestinian territories

Fact finding and peace mission to Israel and Palestinian areas. American Muslim peace Initiative Board members will travel to Israel and Palestinian areas to have meeting with key individuals to identify common grounds and share perspectives on peace, tolerance and  identify steps and ground rules to move towards lasting peace.

Details of the Visit:

The humanitarian crisis spanning over generations, fueled by violence between Israel and the Arabs, continues unabated.  The vicious cycle of death and destruction we are witnessing today is heartbreaking, to say the least.  The policies and practices of the previous half a century have not resulted in peace; rather, they seem to have deepened and accentuated the misery of the already fragile population.  The chaos and mayhem in the region has led to unprecedented polarization in the rest of the world, too, to the detriment of the Muslims, in particular.

Our mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories was simple. We wanted to have first-hand information about the region, its people and the conflict.  We went as fellow human beings looking with anguish at the carnage that we see on the television, wondering why Palestinian and Israeli children cannot have a normal childhood like others.  We went with the belief that, at the core, all human beings wish to lead normal healthy lives in the comfort of their own homes, with their families, in peace and tranquility.  We wanted to find out why that did not appear to be the case in the Middle East, and to see if there was anything that could be done to help.

The American Muslim Peace Initiative, which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, U.S. based endeavor, sent its delegation to the Middle East, funded by its own resources, with its own itinerary and goals.  It asked the American Jewish Congress to facilitate the meetings, especially with the Israelis.  We visited Israel and Palestine, and had discussions with leadership on both sides.  In order to get an in-depth perspective, members of our group met with people on the street, including the Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Israel, and the Muslims and Christians in Palestine.  We did not see all we wanted to see, nor could we meet with everyone we wished to have met.  However, we did see and hear plenty.

What we saw there was not much different from what we had thought.  The Palestinians were living under miserable conditions, and the Israelis felt insecure.  They had markedly different perspectives; there was a wide breach between them, and the distrust was depressing.  However, both sides were yearning for peace.  In our meetings with them, we implored them to renounce violence, immediately and completely.  We told them that killing of innocent people and mass punishments, regardless of the ostensible provocations, were not only unacceptable, but also counterproductive to their professed desire of peace and security.   We emphasized the imperative need to develop understanding, and respect between them, and encouraged dialogue as the only rational way to achieve their mutual goal of peaceful freedom.

It is our opinion that such contacts will lead to building up of confidence and trust between them, which will create a sphere of influence helpful in the resolution of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  On one hand, it would encourage the Palestinian leadership to make the necessary tough decisions to obtain freedom, and on the other hand, it would provide a certain measure of confidence to the Israeli leadership to make the desirable concessions to achieve peace.

We have no illusions that our efforts alone shall bear the fruit that we desire, in the near future, but we have no doubt that this small step had to be taken to break yet another futile taboo which has prevented peace in the region.  We earnestly believe that those who have differences have to sit and talk together to resolve them.  The alternative of violence and destruction is unacceptable.

Ironically the events since our visit have been anything but encouraging yet we believe in the eventual success of such efforts.  We wish to continue taking small but hard steps towards peace, breaking absurd barriers.  We pray that God may continue to guide and bless such efforts with success.