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Islamist Recruitment and Muslim Engagement

3:06 PM, May 6, 2013 • By KEN JENSEN
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Someone who knew whereof he spoke said that Boston’s Chechen community felt more threatened (not to mention disgraced) by the Tsarnaev brothers than the denizens of the rest of the city. During the manhunt he said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had better hope that the local Chechens wouldn’t get hold of him before the police did. The police would just arrest him: The Chechens would kill him. This suggested to me that Boston had an obligation to protect the Chechen community that the Chechens themselves did not expect or feel.


Real engagement of immigrant communities is not an easy matter: It’s fraught with all sorts of difficulties. But those difficulties are far less problematic than PC-style “respectful” disengagement. One wants to ask the PC types whether they would like to go back to deprogramming of would-be jihadis. Sometimes it almost seems as though they would regard this sort of thing as possible. After all they believe that they can and should “deprogram” the rest of us. However, for the PC-type there’s no “what” to deprogram an alienated Muslim youth to, that is, besides the same old isolation, segregation, and alienation from the rest of us.

The bottom line is that Islamist recruiters and alienated youths need to be identified and watched closely if we are to head off jihadist terrorist episodes. This cannot be done without the cooperation of Muslim communities. That cooperation cannot be had without the embrace of those communities not only by our custodians of public safety but also by all of the rest of us. That’s a real counterterrorism policy.

Ken Jensen is associate director of the American Center for Democracy for its Economic Warfare Institute. 

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