Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Isolated Muslims in US a ‘threat’

Isolated Muslims in US a ‘threat’
By Doug Cameron in Chicago
Published: June 26 2007 05:21 | Last updated: June 26 2007 05:21
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

The isolated role of Muslim Americans in the US is “a recipe for a national crisis” and highlights the need for new Muslim organisations to bolster national security, says a report released on Tuesday by an influential think-tank.

National security could also be enhanced by expanding partnerships between American Muslims and local law enforcement agencies, according to the taskforce launched by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The report is more pessimistic than recent survey findings, which suggested the estimated 2.6m Muslims were more integrated and less radicalised than their counterparts in Europe, though there is resentment about discrimination after the September 11 attacks.

The new report suggests that failure to address Muslim-related issues will limit the ability of the US to pursue its broader foreign policy in the Middle East.

Recommendations include the formation of a national leadership group of prominent Muslim Americans to dispel negative perceptions and to combat terrorism.

The lack of strong national institutions is identified as a key handicap for the Muslim community .

Farooq Kathwari, chairman of the retailer Ethan Allen Interiors and co-chair of the taskforce, said: “There is a great need and opportunity for Muslim Americans to fully participate in American society and politics.”

Lynn Martin, a former congresswoman and US labour secretary who also co-chaired the task force, warned: “The continued isolation and mistrust of Muslim Americans since 9/11 is a recipe for a national crisis.”

The report said the lack of a “national voice” for Muslims had impeded integration and public understanding of efforts to combat terrorism. But it called on Muslim leaders to “amplify” the condemnation of extremism and “prevent radical activity within the community”.


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