The Obama administration has arrived at a counterterrorism policy it publicly calls “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.” It has its roots in the Homeland Security Department’s “Countering Violent Extremism” working group.
In 2010, the working group issued its recommendations. The group “felt” it was essential to “delink” law enforcement’s “crime reduction efforts” from studies on “radicalization” in the Islamic community. Law enforcement needs to be more “sensitive,” the working group suggested, to damaging community “perceptions” that can arise from “enforcement actions and intelligence gathering.” Nothing is more important, the group argued, than developing strong relationships between police and communities, and those relationships can be wounded if people “perceive that they are viewed as incubators of violent extremism.” Instead, police should take their lead from “members of the community” who “should be invited to provide training to government personnel.”
And who was in that working group, offering advice that is now federal policy? Among others, it included top officials of such Islamist groups as the Islamic Association of North America (an organization shown to be complicit in the Muslim Brotherhood–led conspiracy to finance Hamas, proved by the Justice Department in a 2008 prosecution), Muslim academics, the president of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, and the president of the ultra-leftist Southern Poverty Law Center.
They tried the same thing in Europe: Emphasize “violent extremism,” bleach out Islam, build strong relationships with influential Muslim leaders, and — just to prove you’re not one of those “just the facts ma’am” Cro-Magnons — let the Muslim leaders be your eyes and ears in their communities. Trust them to tell you what they think you need to know about Islamic culture. That frees you up to devote your energy to stamping out the scourge of Islamophobia.
Look how well it’s worked out.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.