Introduction: Thank you Chairman Perry and members of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency for holding this very important hearing on “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror.” I am Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) based in Phoenix, Arizona. I am here today, because I could not feel more strongly that our current national and agency direction in combating Islamist inspired terrorism is deeply flawed and profoundly dangerous. As a devout Muslim who loves my faith, and loves my nation, the de-emphasis of “radical Islam” and the “Islamist” root cause of global Islamist terrorism is the greatest obstacle to both national harmony and national security. Wholesale denial of the truth by many in our government and political establishment has actually emboldened extremists on both sides of this debate: both radical Islamists and anti-Muslim fascists.
Neither Islam nor Muslims are monolithic and should not be treated as such by anyone – much less our government and media. Please understand it is as equally foolhardy in counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization work to refuse to acknowledge the role of political Islam in the threat as it is to villainize the whole of Islam and all Muslims. The majority of Americans are smart enough to understand that to say the House of “Islam has no problems” is just as problematic as declaring that “Islam, and all Muslims, are the problem”. I am here to tell you that our national security policy of refusing to say that “Islam currently has a problem” is dangerous. This surrender, which began just after 9-11, has chartered a course towards failure. It has hamstrung our homeland security heroes from addressing any of the most central Islamist precursors of militant Islamists. If the agency actually emphasized the central role of radical Islamism and its attendant theopolitical ideologies, it would shift the entire axis of our agency apparatus toward once and for all beginning to actually address, expose, and engage the root cause of the theocratic strains of Islam (or Islamism) which would begin to make us safer. So-called Violent Extremism (VE) is simply an endpoint of a common supremacist ideology that at its root is theo-political and is a radicalization process that occurs over months to years and is far easier to publicly monitor than waiting for guess work on “Violent Extremism”.