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The Myth of the Anti-Muslim Backlash

Hysteria hasn't swept the country since the Ft. Hood terrorist attack.

11:00 PM, Dec 21, 2009 • By GARY BAUER
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"We've seen an increased number of arrests here in the U.S. of individuals suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, or supporting terror groups abroad such as Al Qaeda. Home-based terrorism is here. And, like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront."

The Los Angeles Times recently reported:

"[FBI] investigations have run across Americans suspected of being operatives of Al Qaeda and its allies who were trained overseas and, in several cases, allegedly conspired with top terrorism bosses. They include a convert from Long Island, N.Y, who was captured in Pakistan late last year; a Chicago businessman accused of scouting foreign targets for a Pakistani network; and at least 15 Somali American youths from Minneapolis who returned to fight in their ancestral homeland."

The emergence of Americans traveling abroad to train for Jihad was highlighted again in early December when five Muslim American men were arrested in Pakistan, allegedly en route to North Waziristan for training with the Taliban and al Qaeda to fight American troops in Afghanistan.

A Rand Corporation report states that of the more than two dozen homegrown terror plots uncovered in the U.S. since 9-11, ten surfaced in 2009. That puts "the level of activity in 2009 much higher than that of previous years," Rand senior adviser Brian Jenkins told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in November.

The misplaced fear of igniting an anti-Muslim backlash is a consequence of the pervasive and stifling political correctness that surrounds Islam in the West. It prevents many of our journalistic and political elites from naming our enemy and compels them to accommodate radical Islam most readily in the very places it can cause the most damage--in our prisons, public schools, and military.

American Muslim radicalization is happening in a very tolerant America. The United States contains more than 1,200 mosques, and since 9-11 it has elected its first two Muslims congressmen as well as a president who inexplicably believes our country is as much Muslim as it is Christian, and who habitually refers to Islam as a "great religion."

According to the New York Times, in 2005 more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents -- nearly 96,000 -- than in any year in the previous two decades. Next year, the first accredited Muslim college in the United States, Zaytuna College, is set to open its doors even though some of its founders have shown radical Islamic sympathies.

At a time when Swiss voters have banned the nation's Muslims from building minarets, French officials are considering outlawing the burka, and Italian politicians are mulling legislation to prohibit mosque construction, the U.S. is increasingly looking like the most welcome destination for Muslims.

A Rasmussen poll immediately after the Fort Hood massacre found that a majority of Americans were at least somewhat concerned that the shooting would prompt a backlash against Muslims in the military. They needn't have been concerned. Since 9-11, every Muslim terrorist attack on American soil has been followed not by a violent backlash, but by outreach and conciliation toward Muslim Americans. And then by more attacks--by radical Islamists.
Instead of fretting about a nonexistent backlash against Muslims, perhaps we should be examining more closely what is happening on radical Islamic websites and in some U.S. prisons, mosques, and Islamic schools that is causing increasing numbers of young American Muslims to embrace jihad against their neighbors.

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer was domestic policy adviser to President Reagan and is president of American Values, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.