Urgent Action Needed to Curb Militant Islam in the U.S.

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A global information war is needed to educate young Muslims that there is nothing in Islam that sanctions the taking of innocent lives

A call was made today for urgent action to educate young Muslims against extremism, to instantly close down schools (madrasas) encouraging violence and to ban from the pulpit Imams preaching sermons of hate.

After the July bombings in London carried out by home-grown suicide bombers, the question has to be asked: can the same happen in the United States? said Claude Salhani, UPI International Editor in Washington, in a white paper for IsAmericaSafe a website dedicated to protecting Americans and the Homeland.

“Is the U.S. – unknowingly – harboring potential Islamist terrorists, U.S. citizens acting as sleeper cells and waiting to carry out the mad orders of an Islamist master terrorist?” he said.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S. In Illinois, a growth of about 25 percent in the Muslim population was due to conversion, but immigration, mainly from southwest Asia, accounts for most of the growth. While the exact number of Muslims living in the U.S. is not known, estimates place the number at between 7 and 9 million, of which almost 80% are aged between 16 and 65.

“Typically, young males prone to be recruited by Islamist activists generally fall in the 16-45 age bracket. The younger ones – those in their teens and early twenties – are typically the most vulnerable,” said Salhani.

“Just as Muslims make up the majority of the incarcerated population of Europe's jails, so too, do Muslims comprise the majority of inmates crowding American prisons. Much of the conversion takes place inside jails and usually by Imams espousing radical thinking. Often, moderate Muslims who enter jail leave incarceration far more radicalized,” he said.

A recent survey of British Muslims found that 6 percent – about 100,000 people – believed the London bombings were justified and 1 percent felt that 'the decadent and immoral' Western society should be brought to an end and by violence if necessary.

“Using the figure of 7 million Muslims living in the U.S., one percent would amount to 70,000. That is a staggering 70,000 potential people supporting violence against their adopted homeland. Break that down even further to one percent of one percent – and you have 700 probably extremists,” he warned.

“The danger posed by sleeper cells, by al Qaida sympathizers and wannabe jihadists is not to be underestimated. The threat is real,” he said.

“While the vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding, they tend to remain mostly silent when it comes to denouncing the fanatics. The time has now come for the Islamic world to take an aggressive lead in fighting the disease called Islamist terrorism and put a stop to the madness perpetrated in the name of religion,” said Salhani.

“A new war, one of information, must be declared to spread the word that nothing in Islam permits the taking of innocent lives. This war cannot be fought and won on the battlefield alone. It must be accompanied by an ideological war, too.”

“Schools, or madrasas, encouraging violence must be instantly closed down, its students transferred to more moderate learning institutions. Imams preaching sermons of hate must be stopped and banned from the pulpit. Encouragement must be given for the gentler face of Islam to come forward.

“Islamic institutions need to take an active role in this campaign to educate the young who might be tempted by extremists. Immediate steps must be taken before it is too late. Time, in this instant, is a luxury no one can afford any more,” he said.

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Don Philpott
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