IS THE VIOLENT MINORITY FACTION OF THE MUSLIM FAITH GROWING, AND IF SO, WHAT CAN THE U.S. DO ABOUT IT?

At a time when bombings and killings are frequently taking place, in different parts of the world, all seemingly related or connected to the Muslim faith, many Americans are losing patience with our leader’s pleas for reticence and understanding; these leaders are telling us that the radicals causing the bloodshed are but a fraction of the almost two billion subscribers to the Muslim faith who themselves are condemning the actions of those few who are reaping mayhem on the rest of the world. The problem with this message is that it now, and has for some time, appeared clear that these small factions are attaining maximum visibility and increased status among citizens who otherwise would not support such violence. No faith can reasonably be said to defend the actions of terrorists including the recent shootings in Paris, the beheadings of journalists and others, the capture of hundreds of schoolgirls- many now believed to have been raped and forcefully recruited for terroristic purposes, including suicide bombing missions, the many suicide bombings in Yemen and elsewhere. There has been a wave of violence throughout the middle east resulting in the death of other militants, children and other innocent citizens. This week, around 50 people were killed in Yemen’s capital, Sana, and dozens of others were wounded as they waited for potential jobs outside a police academy; last month, at least three dozen people, including schoolgirls were killed by Al Qaeda- some who were celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday at a cultural center; militants from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have killed hundreds as they exploit the chaos created by ousted leaders; Boko Harem terrorists have taken advantage of the poorly operated Nigerian army and gained sympathy from rural villagers who have rebelled against what they perceive to be a corrupt, incompetent and murderous (sometimes referred to as “extrajudicial executions” on the part of the government) Nigerian army. Boko Haram extremists have called the slated February elections in Nigeria “un-Islamic.”

It is tempting for some Americans to attach blame to all those who practice the Muslim faith and indeed, many do. Some editorials in major U.S. papers say this is a flip and unreasonable response- especially given the small minority who are doing the killing- but the truth is, that this small minority of terrorists in the Muslim world is growing; as previously noted, some citizens in Nigeria are protecting the Boko Harem terrorists because they believe the Nigerian government is corrupt and possibly more dangerous than the insurgents. Sympathizers of ISIS are being recruited from many countries including France, England, and the U.S., and while the numbers remain small, the phenomenon is noteworthy because it can be viewed as a positive for the terrorists. Part of the problem is that the American government has not chosen wisely when it comes to supporting factions in countries, we don’t understand- a classic example is Egypt- we didn’t know who was who and the results today show that to be true. The same can be said about Syria and other parts of the world. Why are some, mainly otherwise law-abiding citizens, sympathizing with terrorists? Are we backing corrupt governments in some instances? Do we lack central intelligence in these areas? These are questions which are hard to answer. So what can we do about all of these matters? Here are my suggestions. (1) Do not blame Muslims for the acts of a few; (2) Do not permit economic factors, such as oil, and other financial investments (In the U.S. and foreign lands) determine how we view and treat countries; (3) Attempt to solve problems by employing the most transparent methods possible – including the involvement of regular citizens of the subject countries; (4) Centralize the problem-solving process to one agency who is fully accountable to a nonpartisan group of legislatures- this cannot be overstated- we have too many “spy” agencies in the U.S. and they are not sharing with each other- in fact they are often competitive and unaccountable; and (5) Do not increase surveillance practices on citizens of the U.S. on U.S. soil- this country was created better than that – besides we tried that once with the Japanese over unfounded fears.

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