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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do We Only Need More 'Security Measures' or More 'Common Sense?'

Tawfik Hamid - Dec 29, 2009

[Editor's Note: We want to call your attention to this "ABC's Test for Radical Islam" which Tawfik Hamid has put together. It's rather revealing!]

From -

A - Apostates killing
B - Beating women and stoning women to death for adultery
C - Calling Jews pigs and monkeys.
D - Declaring war on Non Muslims to spread Islam after offering Non Muslims three options - subjugate to Islam, pay Jizia (a humiliating tax), or be killed.
E - Enslavement of Other Human Beings.
F - Fighting and killing Jews before the "End of Days".
G - Gay killing.
- - -
On Christmas day, a man identified as a young wealthy elite Nigerian Muslim (Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab), with possible links to Islamic Radical groups, set off an explosive device in a failed terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines plane as it was landing in Detroit, Michigan, federal officials said.

The White House called the act an attempted act of terror. If the mission of this man had succeeded more than 270 people on board would have been killed and both tourism and airline industries in US could have been seriously affected.

It is vital to emphasize that it was just mostly luck that prevented the explosion. Otherwise Christmas day in the US would have turned into a disaster.

The profile of Abdulmutallab adds another piece of evidence to support the view that lack of education and poverty are not the main cause of terrorism as some suggests. Abdulmutallab is from a wealthy family and is highly educated which fits with the pattern of many other Islamic Jihadists.

The question that we need to address is, do we only need more security measures or do we predominantly need more logic and more common sense in addressing the phenomenon of Islamic Radicalism?

It will be erroneous if we could not see this terror attempt in the context of the other recent terror plots such as Fort Hood massacre and the increasing home grown Islamic Radicalism in the US. Inability to see these atrocities linked together by a common ideological thread is like failure to identify the underlying disease that causes the patient's symptoms. In such a situation, treatment would be incorrectly directed to treat the symptoms rather than to treat the underlying disorder or the true cause of the problem. The same can happen if we only focused on treating terrorism and ignore treating the underlying factor, namely the ideology behind Radical Islam. Failure to address this ideological component and consequently failure to treat it effectively is disastrous.

Addressing the contribution of the religious ideology is crucial, as if Al-Qaeda adopted a new approach to attack Metro passengers, cinemas, sport stadiums and other big gathering areas in USA, it would be very difficult and extremely inconvenient to do a security check for every individual at these places.

If our only approach to terrorism is to increase security measures for individuals, the terrorists can in fact paralyze our life if they shifted their target from attacking airplanes to attacking the formerly mentioned places.

Our policy should move from only symptomatic treatment of the problem to include defeating the ideology behind it. It is vital in this situation to develop a complete comprehensive strategy to treat the cause of the problem at the psycho- behavioral and ideological levels rather than only working at the security front.

This is particularly significant when we realize that the phenomenon of Islamic Radicalism is using several fronts both tactically and geographically. At the tactical level terrorists planed to attack airplanes, buildings and shopping moles. At the geographical front new fronts for terror include Yemen and possibly Somalia. Defeating Al-Qaeda at the military level in Afghanistan will not end the problem as new fronts for terror will develop as long as the radical ideology exists. On the contrary, defeating Islamism at the ideological level can add a needed and fundamental component to the current antiterrorism approach.

CNN quoted President Obama as saying that America would continue to "keep up the pressure on those who would attack our country," asserting that the US is doing everything in its power to stop terror. This statement raises an important issue. If all previous US efforts intended to defeat terror, including expenditures of billions of dollars, have failed into today to eradicate this problem, then America MUST adopt new approaches and strategies. Previous measures, including President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world, were not very successful. This does not mean that these approaches must be stopped but significant improvement for their quality is needed.

In short, using military and security approaches to defeat terror without addressing the ideology behind it is not sufficient. We certainly need to improve our security measures and technology to protect civilians, however, we also need more 'common sense' to see the common factor or the Ideology behind terrorism and treat it.

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