The Threat of Islamic Extremism

Photo: Roberto Trombetta

The main story of this weeks political news was President Trump’s 90 day ban on immigration from citizens of seven muslim majority countries. I said in a earlier piece that it is perfectible understandable for the U.S. to want to introduce strict vetting on migrants, however looking at the details of this plan it is clear that this completely misses the target.

Lets look at the countries on the list; Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. As pointed out in a report by Professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina “There here have been no fatalities in the United States caused by extremists with family backgrounds in these countries”. Moreover the report looking at the demographic profiles of Muslim-Americans associated with violent extremism, highlighting that more than 50% of recorded instances are from U.S. born muslims and converts, with converts representing the biggest group.

Chart: Muslim-American Involvement with violent extremism – Charles Kurzman

If you also take into account that that the biggest attack on U.S. soil 9/11, was perpetrated by nationals from Saudi Arabia I don’t think anyone can look at this objectively and think this is a sensible well thought through policy.

In the battle against Islamic extremism we have to understand that the true enemy is not an individual or a state, it is an ideology. Awful though men like Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or indeed states like Saudi Arabia or Iran are, they ultimately represent an idea. A harsh and extreme reading of Islamic scripture.

Like fascism in the 20th century ultimately this idea must be taken on, head on. The islamist ideology must be defeated within muslim communities in the west. Coming from a muslim background in the U.K. my own view is, support for many of the ideas that these extremists represent, is much greater than most of us realise.

It must be also defeated intellectually across the world. This problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Measures like a punitive banning of all immigrants will not ultimately prove to be effective.

Idreece Khan

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