Written by Steven Spear, Jr.
Since 9/11, the United States has been suspicious of Muslims and the Arabic people. We hear about the instability and near-constant conflict in the Middle East from the media, and it is widely known that terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS want to see the United States fall.
The collective thought is, “I can’t tell the difference between Middle Eastern-looking refugees and Middle Eastern-looking terrorists pretending to be refugees.” In spite of this feeling, there’s less to worry about than you might realize.
According to a 2010 study called Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim Americans, most violent attacks that were committed against the United States by Muslims since 9/11 have happened overseas.
“Muslim-American communities have been active in preventing radicalization: They and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends. This is one reason that Muslim-American terrorism has resulted in fewer than three dozen of the 136,000 murders committed in the United States since 9/11.”
Many in the Muslim-American community feel actively discriminated against. If we can show Muslims in the United States that their voices can be heard through peaceful means, we can render useless a key recruiting tool used by terrorist organizations. The study recommended that politicians make an effort to connect with the Muslim community as they do with others (the black community, the LGBT community).
“Policymakers should include Muslim-Americans in their outreach efforts, and public officials should attend events at mosques, as they do churches and synagogues. Our research suggests that initiatives that treat Muslim-Americans as part of the solution to this problem [of terrorism] are far more likely to be successful.”
This study conducted by David Schanzer and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University and Charles Kurzman of UNC-Chapel Hill suggests that our fears of terrorism from the Muslim community in the contiguous United States are irrational. Muslim-American communities are just as afraid of Islamic terrorism as the rest of us. We just need to work together.