New Report Shows Rep. King Is Still Wrong
Yesterday, a coalition of over 50 faith groups and human rights organizations released a letter to Congressional Rep. Peter King asking him to broaden the scope of his hearings on Muslim “radicalization” to include extremist threats from all backgrounds. (Read the full letter here).
King has stated he’s focusing on Muslims because “that’s where the radicalizing threat is coming from.” As we showed earlier this week though, it’s actually non-Muslims who have been involved in the most incidents of violent extremism in the past ten years.
In response to the letter, King put out a statement justifying the hearings with a different argument: that homegrown terrorists are the fastest-growing threat to the United States.
But a new report from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (a consortium of Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and researchers RTI International) shows that this claim is false as well.
Rather than increasing, the number of Muslims accused of terror attacks actually fell significantly in the last year, going from 47 in 2009 to just 20 in 2010. AP religion writer Rachel Zoll interviewed one of the authors of the report to put this number into context:
Charles Kurzman, a sociologist who wrote the study that was released Wednesday, said that given the widespread terrorist recruitment on the Internet and elsewhere, he considered the number of domestic terror cases relatively small. More than 2 million Muslims live in the U.S.
“Terrorism is a significant problem and Muslim-Americans are more susceptible to terrorist recruitment than other Americans. Fortunately, their level of recruitment is extremely low,” said Kurzman, who teaches at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Ultimately, the report reinforces the argument we highlighted earlier that there is no blueprint for a terrorist:
“There is no single profile or a common warning sign that signifies a “homegrown terrorist.” The diversity of the demographics, ethnicities, and life experiences makes the problem of detecting the homegrown terrorist an extremely difficult one for law enforcement.” (Page 14)
Actions like Rep. King’s hearings that single out any one group only distract us from this important challenge and ultimately make us less safe.