Phi Beta Cons

‘Apologetic’ N.J. Counterterrorist Conference

New Jersey recently held a counterterrorism conference, which Steven Emerson and Stephen Flatow (writing in the New York Post) call “confused” and “a farce,” because it “had apologists for terrorism and radical Islam writing the ‘script’ for how to protect Americans from the terrorist threat.”
The post-conference report correctly asserts:

Universities can be breeding grounds for radicalization: . . . Most agreed that radicalization is most likely to find a breeding ground in the open environments of our college campuses, and thus it is essential to involve academia in any anti-radicalization strategy.
However, a key presenter was Georgetown University professor John Esposito, who has described himself as a “very good friend” of Sami Al-Arian – who last year pleaded guilty to terror-related conspiracy.

Esposito also heads Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, for which the Saudi prince gave $20 million. As the authors write, Esposito “should be a case study in how universities can promote radicalism, not a member of a panel discussing ‘anti-radicalization’ strategies.”
Emerson and Flatow point to similar inconsistency throughout the conference report, concluding, less than comfortingly, that other states, and even the FBI and State Department, are engaging is such perverse counterterror efforts and are “more concerned with being tarred as ‘Islamophobic’ … than with safeguarding America against terror.”
By contrast, these indispensable critics single out for praise the New York Police Department, which in a report this summer faced up to home-grown terrorism “head on, with no room for apologetics.” (Read my article on the NYPD document here.)

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