In this post, Clarion’s David Harris asks why the Left-Right divide is such an impediment to tackling radical Islam.
I was privileged to attend a meeting this past week with an organization that does tremendous good in one of America’s largest inner-city areas. This non-profit tackles violence on the streets, in schools and domestic situations. As is all too often the case, most of the work is with the poorest, least educated in society and much of it in traditional migrant communities. The organization has been working on these issues for more than 40 years.
When the Clarion team met this group, we talked about our new 2019 program Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE). The idea of our PVE training is to help adults keep children from becoming radicalized from the start.
If we prevent kids from getting on the “conveyor belt of radicalization,” we don’t need to fight to take them off it. It’s a program that applies to radicalization by Islamists, gangs, political extremists and more.
As we were wrapping up our chat with this inner-city group we were asked in the most delicate way of it was possible that we were guilty of targeting one particular group: Muslims. Our answer was: 100 percent no. Clarion does not target Muslims. Our main focus is highlighting the activities of Islamist extremists, people who want to steal away our American values either by political or violent means.
We suggested to our interlocutors a few ways in which we can cooperate going forward — after all we want the same thing (an end to violence) — and their methods and ours are actually pretty similar.
However, I suspect unfortunately little will come from the meeting because they are Left of center and they perceive us to be Right of center and ne’er the twain shall meet.
When I speak in front of audiences and this dilemma is raised, here’s what I say:
On 9-11, the terrorists could have issued a warning 30 minutes before they hit the Twin Towers: “All Democrats should exit the buildings now.” But they didn’t. They chose to target Americans no matter if they support the elephant or the donkey. That day they drew a line in the sand (terrorists versus Americans) and all of us were placed on the other side of that demarcation.
It’s time we all realized that radical Islam — both political and violent — targets us all. The Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for a caliphate across the U.S. and the West does not differentiate between liberals and conservatives. We would all be forced to practice sharia law.
Let’s put political divides aside and understand this common threat is one to which we must stand up together. If we don’t — and right now we aren’t — the consequences could be dire indeed.