How are we going to win the long war against Islamic radicalism? The first and most essential step is to understand what we are up against. Part of that effort involves keeping track of the whereabouts and activities of extremist movements and grouplets. But beyond that, it is vitally important to understand how our adversaries think.
Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, a journal published by the Hudson Institute, has already emerged as indispensable source for both purposes. The current issue has a series of extraordinary–and extremely alarming — essays on the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States.
One of them is by Rod Dreher, an editor at the Dallas Morning News, which recounts in close detail developments in his own community. It focuses especially on the efforts of various Brotherhood-linked organizations like the Islamic Society of North American and the Council on American-Islamic Relations to use the charge of “Islamophobia” to intimidate the local press into silence about their own linkages to terrorists and terrorist theoreticians.
“I cannot say how typical the Dallas experience is of the broader American experience,” writes Dreher. That question remains to be answered. But what can be said with assurance is that the U.S. government’s response to these groups is not in synch with the danger they present.
In the same issue of Current Trends, Zeyno Baran, a senior fellow at Hudson, takes note of our government’s continuing attempts to conduct a dialog with the domestic radicals:
When the US government engages with Islamist organizations in conferences or government outreach programs, it lends legitimacy to an ideology that does not represent — at least not yet — the views of the majority of American Muslims. American policymakers who advocate pursuing such a strategy are actually facilitating Islamism by endorsing it as a mainstream ideology. Both at home and abroad, this policy is leading to disaster. Liberal and non-Islamist Muslims — having already been denounced by Islamists as apostates — are now being told by Western governments that they do not represent “real” Islam.
We are still in the early stages of our battle with radical Islam. As in the cold war, it’s going to take time, and serious setbacks, before we settle on policies that are effective in combating a domestic danger that poses a unique challenge to our constitutional order.