New US strategy to treat Muslims as ‘govt ally’
Washington: As a new strategy to combat domestic militancy, the US has vowed to avoid actions and sentiments that cast suspicion towards Muslim Americans, as it might turn out to be counterproductive and alienate a religious minority.
White House officials warned that accusing the entire Muslim community of involvement in terrorism might fuel extremism in the nation, the New York Times reports.
Denis R McDonough, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said that al Qaeda had a ‘bankrupt ideology’, but that accusing the entire Muslim community of complicity in terrorism could ‘feed the sense of disenchantment and disenfranchisement that may spur violent extremist radicalisation.’
He stressed that Muslim Americans should be treated as ‘a crucial ally of the government in combating extremism’, the paper said.
The eight-page strategy document titled ‘Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States,’ said that ‘communities, especially Muslim-American communities whose children, families and neighbours are being targeted for recruitment by al Qaeda, are often best positioned to take the lead’ in countering radicalisation.
The strategy called for federal agencies to support state and local officials by sharing information on potential threats and cooperating closely with the police, the paper said.
A National Security Council expert on extremism, Quintan Wiktorowicz, who helped devise the new strategy said the administration was aware of ‘inaccurate training’ on Islam for law enforcement officers.
He said the administration would compile ‘gold standard’ materials to be posted on the Web for officials to draw upon.