WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - The Bush administration is neglecting American Muslims in the fight against terrorism, undermining a potentially priceless resource that could be used to root out militants at home, major Muslim groups say.
Community leaders such as Salam al-Marayati, who heads the Muslim Public Affairs Council advocacy group, say that to isolate terrorists political leaders from President George W. Bush on down must embrace the U.S. Muslim mainstream, rather than exclude them from serious debates on security.
"For some reason, it's very difficult to get the high-level officials to come down to the community at this point. I think a decision has to be made: are we going to be partners or are we going to be suspects?" Marayati said.
Muslim American groups say that only by visibly engaging the community can officials undermine militants' charges that Muslims are left out of American society, and ensure Muslims do not feel alienated and become targets for recruiters.
Concern about increased suspicions and alienation of the Muslim American community has grown since the July 7 attacks by home-grown Muslim militants in London in which suicide bombers killed 52 people on underground trains and buses.
"It's the position of just about every Muslim leader in the United States that the way you isolate extremists is to engage the mainstream. Unfortunately we haven't seen much of that occurring in this administration," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations. (MORE)