As the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, those of us in law enforcement know all too well that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to target the United States. While some of their attacks originate overseas, foreign-based terrorists increasingly seek to recruit and radicalize individuals here in the United States.
Al Qaeda has made no secret of its intentions. Anwar al-Awlaki and others like him around the world, often using the Internet, are encouraging Americans to launch attacks against their neighbors inside the United States. We have seen the results of these efforts in Ft. Hood, in Times Square, and elsewhere. Preventing these attacks is the highest priority for our nation’s law enforcement organizations.
Reasonable minds can differ about the best approach to this threat. Some, however, have resorted to portraying American Muslim communities — or the Islamic faith — as a threat to our country. While we must repel attempts by foreign terrorists to radicalize Americans, vilifying Islam will not make us safer. Indeed, suggesting most American Muslims are less loyal than their countrymen is not only inaccurate, it adds an air of legitimacy to violent extremism of another kind: directed not by American Muslims, but at them. (More)
Wagner is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, which includes the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.