Building Bridges to Strengthen America

Building Bridges to Strengthen America

In July 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered a speech in which she stated, “For too long, we’ve treated the public as a liability to be protected rather than an asset in our nation’s collective security.” Written from a Muslim American perspective, the goal of this report is to outline a suggested “blueprint” for how Muslim American communities can be an asset in securing our nation and preserving the rights of all Americans.

MPAC offers this policy product as a way of engaging security policy discourse through fresh and constructive ideas from Muslim Americans. Addressed to policymakers and the public at large, this report is one part of a larger response from the Muslim American community.

This report is a condensed version of a larger report to be released later. This version focuses on two key components:

  • A hybrid theory of radicalism. Grounded in the latest field research, empirical studies and literature reviews, Building Bridges pieces together its own theory of radicalization and terrorist recruitment.

    Radicalization is a multi-faceted process that cannot be boiled down to a single factor. As such, policy responses from law enforcement, the government and communities must reflect this complexity. This must include recognition from policymakers that stamping out terrorism cannot be done by law enforcement without community help.
  • A counterterrorism enterprise based on community policing. This enterprise is similar to a “product-extension merger” that requires both a division of labor and cooperation between law enforcement and Muslim communities.

Law enforcement and Muslim communities need to strengthen their relations and recognize the separate but interrelated roles they play in safeguarding America. This relationship must be built on a firm foundation of trust and that trust must be premised on a respect for civil liberties. By involving all citizens – communities and law enforcement alike – in the effort to defeat terrorism, America can remain both safe and free.

All files are in PDF format and require Adobe Reader for viewing (download Adobe Reader).


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