By Raheel Raza
02 August 2017
I testified before Congress Thursday on the
subject of radical Islam, “Home-grown Terrorism” and “Countering Violent
The key message I delivered was that, if we
want to combat radical Islam and “Counter Violent Extremism,” we need to
confront these radicals before they become violent, before they adopt a radical
and violent ideology.
Before World War II, Nazism was an ideology
expressed in “Mein Kampf.”
Before 2 million Chinese died in the
Cultural Revolution, ideas were written down in a “Little Red Book.”
And in 1928 another ideology appeared, with
the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks a totalitarian system of
government and forced implementation of Shariah law.
This ideology fuels ISIS and al-Qaida,
subjugates women, executes homosexuals, kills Christians and inspires some
“home-grown” American Muslims to commit acts of terror.
I was in a Clarion Project short film
called “By the Numbers,” which put numbers to these assertions based on Pew
27 percent of Muslims, or 237 million,
believe that non-believers should be executed; and
26 percent of young American Muslims
believe suicide bombings against non-Muslims “can be justified.”
Not all Muslims hold this radical ideology,
but millions do.
Some claim ideology is not a clear
predictor of terrorism; they are dead wrong.
A 2016 study traced the path of 100 violent
jihadists. Fifty-one percent of them began their journey in non-violent Islamist
The issues of home-grown terrorism and the
ideology that spreads it are of critical importance to America’s national
security and the American way of life.
The congressional committee I testified
before is bipartisan, and this is a bipartisan issue – one lawmakers from both
sides of the aisle often misunderstand.
When a home-grown terrorist attack happens,
The left blames it on too many guns.
The right blames it on not enough security
(cops, laws, walls).
But the truth is, we need an entirely
different approach. We need to fight this ideological war – on ideological
By the time an extremist becomes violent,
it is too late. As such, the U.S. must defeat, humiliate, destroy and discredit
this poisonous, radical ideology.
When we defeat radical Islam on ideological
grounds, it won’t matter how many guns or laws or walls there are. The enemy
will have been defeated.
Raheel Raza is a Pakistani-born Muslim woman, president of Muslims Facing
Tomorrow, founding member of the Muslim Reform Movement, and Board member of
the Clarion Project, a nonprofit that educates the public about the dangers of
radical Islam while giving voice to moderate Muslims.