The biggest obstacle we face in the battle against Islamic terrorism is law enforcement’s inclination to see all Muslims as dangerous or potentially dangerous.
This undermines our only chance for actual security, which is moderate Muslims helping the authorities by reporting suspicious behavior within their own communities.
If the vast majority of Muslims, who are moderate and decent people, can’t be part of the solution because they fear becoming suspects by unsophisticated and racist law enforcement, there is little hope.
And this is exactly what the terrorists want.
They want governments to see all Muslims as a threat, and for them to be isolated and distrusted. The more this happens, the safer they are to operate within the world’s large Muslim communities.
This is why any potential strategy against Islamic terrorism must start with saying to the moderate majority,
We know it’s not most of you. You’re the good guys, and we’re in this together. Help us protect us all.
Failing to say this, and failing to adopt this culture within the law enforcement community, will turn every Muslim into those that see, hear, and say nothing. Over time, and after a number of additional incidents, many in this silent majority of moderates will become less moderate—eventually turning into sympathizers, collaborators, and potential recruits for the extremist cause—all because we gave them no legitimate welcome on the side of good.
Let us not drive our friends into the arms of the enemy due to abject ignorance.
Let us embrace the moderates.