Demonizing American Muslims won’t solve the terrorism problem

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The bombs planted in New York and New Jersey on Sunday appear to have been the work of a radicalized Muslim man whose behavior and international travel followed familiar patterns.

Some prominent American political figures suggest that the way to deal with people like Ahmad Khan Rahami is to seal up our borders, isolate and profile members of domestic Muslim communities, and impose bans on all people traveling from nations where radicalized Muslims have operated previously.

Such responses appeal to the worst xenophobic tendencies among us, but they won’t solve the terrorism problem. In fact, they are certain to make it worse.

 U.S. law enforcers at all levels depend on the cooperation of Muslim communities for intelligence about individuals who pose security threats. Police and FBI investigators cannot be everywhere. The people most attuned to what’s happening in their neighborhoods are the ones who worship at mosques, attend school and interact daily with potentially radicalized individuals.

Many serve as informants, and they do so in secret specifically because their lives could be in jeopardy if their status became known to the individuals under surveillance. Because it’s happening in secret, non-Muslim Americans have little appreciation for the reality.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

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