Streams

The NEXT New York Conversation: Homegrown Terror, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The current uproar over a proposed Islamic Cultural Center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center has made clear that many Americans blur the lines between the vast majority of Muslims and a few violent extremists who claim Islam as their cause. With much of the media coverage favoring vitriol and hyperbole over depth and context, the debate has been painful for many, regardless of their perspective.

After a decade of post 9-11 reporting, WNYC knows that this debate is about issues much bigger than the fate of one cultural center: it’s about fears of terrorism, intolerance of Muslims and civil rights. So we hosted a forum for civil conversation between New York’s Police Commissioner, the principals behind the Park51 Islamic center and leaders in the diverse Muslim communities. The NEXT New York Conversation was a chance for people with diverse sets of expertise to share opinions and challenge assumptions about the roots of homegrown terrorism and the tactics necessary to combat it.  

While some alleged terror plots have been overplayed or unsubstantiated, there is no question that homegrown terrorism is a real threat: Last spring, a 31-year old Connecticut man tried to bomb Times Square. The year before, an American from Long Island admitted to plotting with Al Qaeda to bomb Penn Station. Residents of New York have been convicted of housing and helping terrorists.

Law enforcement and counterterrorism experts have carefully studied how seemingly ordinary people become radicalized and believe they have a good understanding of who is vulnerable to solicitation by terrorist groups. Leaders in the Arab and Muslim communities have other insights into the roots of homegrown terrorism and how to detect and prevent it. Some Muslim-American groups are working to launch their own initiatives to combat the messages of terrorist groups. 

WNYC’s forum brought these diverse perspectives together to let our listening public hear what they have to say about alienation, integration and the uproar over Park51.

Guests included:

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, NYPD

Marc Sageman, homegrown terror expert and former consultant to the NYPD

Khalid Latif, Imam with the NYU Islamic Cultural Center

Asim Rehman, Vice President Muslim Bar Association New York

Adem Carroll, a founder of the Muslim Consultative Network

Debbie Almontaser, of the Muslim Consultative Network and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the city's first Arabic dual language school.

Aisha al-Adawiya, Women In Islam

Sharif Aly, youth coordinator with the Muslim American Society

Asim Rehman of the Muslim Bar Association of New York(L), Imam Khalid Latif of NYU's Islamic Center (center) and WNYC's Arun Venugopal(R)
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Asim Rehman of the Muslim Bar Association of New York(L), Imam Khalid Latif of NYU's Islamic Center (center) and WNYC's Arun Venugopal(R)

WNYC's Bob Hennelly and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at the Greene Space Event: The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against M
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

WNYC's Bob Hennelly and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at the Greene Space Event: The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims

Sarah Sayeed, from the Interfaith Center of New York speaking to Police Co missioner Ray Kelly

Sarah Sayeed, from the Interfaith Center of New York speaking to Police Co missioner Ray Kelly

Audience at the Greene Space watching a video of Brian Lehrer's interview with Daisy Khan
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Audience at the Greene Space watching a video of Brian Lehrer's interview with Daisy Khan

The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims

Adem Carroll (L), chair of the Muslim Consultative Network and Asim Rehman of the Muslim Bar Association of New York(center)
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Adem Carroll (L), of the Muslim Consultative Network and Asim Rehman of the Muslim Bar Association of New York(center)

Debbie Almontaser, of the Muslim Consultative Network and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the city's first Arabic dual language school.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Debbie Almontaser, of the Muslim Consultative Network and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the city's first Arabic dual language school. 

Aisha al-Adawiya, of Women In Islam (L) and Marc Sageman, homegrown terror expert and former consultant to the NYPD at the Greene Space event: The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dial
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Aisha al-Adawiya, of Women In Islam (L) and Marc Sageman, homegrown terror expert and former consultant to the NYPD at the Greene Space event: The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims

Audience at Greene Space event at WNYC
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Audience at Greene Space event at WNYC

Zara Afridi, 17 from South Asian Youth Action
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Zara Afridi, 17 from South Asian Youth Action

The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The NEXT New York Conversation presents: A Community Dialogue: Homegrown Terrorists, Alienation and Prejudice Against Muslims

Tags:

More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [13]

aaron

@Najashi Muhammad said:

"Never will the Jews nor the Christians (Marist Poll 08/10/2010) be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion."

It's true that the quran says many obviously false things about jews and christians, but this does not necessarily mean all muslims hate jews and christians. I know some muslims who are very friendly, and do not care what religion you are. You can't judge all muslims by what their scriptures say.

Sep. 30 2010 12:21 AM
aaron

I was displeased with the reaction from people at the building of a mosque in a city where other mosques exist. I don't trust the guy in charge of it, not as all, and I think it's suspicious that they require $100 million, but I support their right to build their mosque, and I like having american muslims in my city.

Sep. 30 2010 12:16 AM
Najashi Muhammad from Queens, New York

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

"Let's Build it"
Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center

Never will the Jews nor the Christians (Marist Poll 08/10/2010) be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion. They intend to put out the Light of Allah (i.e. the religion of Islam, this Qur'an, and Prophet Muhammad ) with their mouths. But Allah will complete His Light even though the disbelievers hate (it).* Say: "Verily, the Guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur'an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper. Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad's Peace be upon him companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Qur'an)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed), they are the ones that believe therein. And whoso disbelieves in it (the Qur'an), those are they who are the losers. There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims."
The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and in this world of a high moral character).

The Holy Qur'an 2:120-121; *61:8; 2:256; 41:33-35

Sep. 19 2010 05:21 PM

What's surprising is that some peoples ask petulantly to muslims to speak loudly against terrorim but at the same times when muslims do that, those same peoples seem do become suddenly deaf. I am not naive politically and I know that there are violent islamist out there but as i don't blame christians for the terror against my country (Rd Congo) during colonialism i can't blame islam for some wackos

Sep. 18 2010 01:00 PM

Muslims kill more Muslims in one week, than the Klan killed blacks in their entire existence.

There are plenty of Mosques in NY already.

Most of America is against the Cordoba Ground Zero Mosque. Why? Because it is a deliberate provocation, most likely funded by Wahhabi petro dollars.

Sep. 16 2010 03:32 PM
Ruth from NYC

All of you are living in an alternate universe. You complain about not having a "space" to voice your anti-radicalization messages?? Uh... what about CAIR? The daily newsfeed is pure propoganda. What I heard yesterday was lawfare tactics that Muslims use to push their way into Democracies. While NAIT, MAS, ICNA, CAIR etc are all Saudi-funded what do you advocate for? More resources!! Where is your humility? Where is your grace? Please anwer two questions: When will someone in the American Muslim community begin to speak about the Grand Mufti and Hitler?? Second, when will someone in the American Muslim community debate the brave ex-Muslims who must live in hiding in this country? Please stop whining. Living in America is not a right. It must be earned. Do you wonder why people doubt your motives? Stop the lawfare against people who disagree with you.

Sep. 16 2010 01:56 PM
maryam ismail from NJ

Despite the above commnets, I have to give thanks to WNYC for giving a place to let all of the invested parties concerned. I can not I say that I agree with everyone, but I've not heard this kind of conversation anywhere else. Thank you

Maryam Ismail, A Muslim in and out America

Sep. 16 2010 01:40 PM
Elise B from LES

Whenever I see or hear the phrase "home grown terrorist" I immediately think of the KKK - one of our first group of home grown terrorist and I often muse about what brought them down - a children's radio show.
We have been very vocal about our fears - the mosque being just one example. Since fear is the currency of terrorist, I wonder what would happen if Americans refused to be afraid anymore.

Sep. 15 2010 09:05 PM
Paul from NJ from Across the hudson in NJ

The fear many have of estabishing the cultural center near the WTC site is the exact 'terror' response that the terroists desire - we should not sucumb to their goal. It is a difficult thing to do, difficult for Americans, to open their hearts and minds and welcome the center, as America has stood for, and difficult for muslims, to assure that this center is, does, in fact, clearly denounce the acitons of the radical few, and opens THEIR arms to like-thinking Ameircans, serviing an interfaith role.

Sep. 15 2010 09:03 PM
Terry from Bronx

American Muslims have to separate themselves from traditional Islam the same way protestants separated themselves from the Catholic Church, and publicly, collectively disavow the tradition of jihad, and embrace tolerance, diversity and democratic values. This would go a long way to convincing Americans that Muslims are western, are modern, are part of America.

And existing Americans have to cut this judeo christian crap and embrace the idea we are a nation that tolerates all religions, so long as their members want to make money and rack up their credit card debt along with the rest of us.

Sep. 15 2010 08:55 PM
Lynn B

Anyone who knows Debbie knows she is a thoughtful, supportive and intelligent advocate for understanding among and between people. She deserves respect and honor among the communities of Brooklyn and New York. Anyone arguing otherwise is displaying a dismaying ignorance of what she has done in her life. And yes, I am a white male raised in a Protestant household.

Sep. 15 2010 08:52 PM
Leslie from Manhattan

As I listen to this, I think what would heal the divide between those Americans who believe all Muslims are terrorists are those Muslims who are not stand up against those who are. Stand up and in a loud and cohesive voiceagainst those in your community who are. You are Americans, we have a separation of church and state. I understand that life has been very difficult for the entire Muslim community. Imagine how I feel, as an American, when I hear friends from Morroco, and Pakistan, agree with the actions of terrorists. To them I say, you are making your living in this country, if you feel that way, you SHOULD go home. If Muslims don't stand up and openly disagree with the actions of terrorists, and can people disearn the difference between those who are and those who are not. Terrorism is not ok, not anywhere, Muslims were killed in 9/11. It is time for the Muslim community to say enough, we will not tolerate Muslims who ARE terrorists.

Sep. 15 2010 03:52 PM
john from office

The danger lies with the extent of the threat. Not being careful may result in massive loss of life.

Sep. 15 2010 03:31 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by