Ayaan Hirsi Ali warns: Radical Islamist ideology must not take root in U.S. as it did in Europe

by WorldTribune Staff, March 29, 2017

British officials have acknowledged that Islamist indoctrination by “non-violent extremists” was key in influencing terrorists who carried out attacks in the UK.

Activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in an opinion piece for The Washington Times on March 28, wrote that “it is important for the United States to tackle radical Islamist ideological indoctrination — dawa — before it takes root to the extent it has in Europe.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Somali-born activist noted that “since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials have focused on countering and disrupting individual acts of violence committed by Islamic extremists, but they have not countered the ideology that justifies and encourages such acts of violence and rejects assimilation into American civic ideals.

“By focusing on the tactic of terrorism, successive U.S. administrations have largely ignored organizations whose primary function is the dissemination of radical Islamist ideology in the United States.”

Ali continued: “Although many Americans have heard of jihad, few have heard of dawa. In theory, dawa is simply a call to Islam. As Islamists practice the concept, however, dawa goes far beyond an invitation.

“Islamist dawa is a process of methodical indoctrination — brainwashing — that rejects assimilation and places people in opposition to Western civic ideals. If the indoctrination is severe enough, dawa can place individuals on the path to militant jihad.”

Ali said that President Donald Trump’s approach to terrorism marks a “welcome change from prior administrations.”

During a campaign speech in August 2016, Trump said he would seek to counter Islamist ideology if elected president. In his words, the “hateful ideology of radical Islam [with] its oppression of women, gays, children and nonbelievers” could not “be allowed to reside or spread.”

Ali said that “it is in countering radical Islam as an ideology that the new administration can learn from the European experience. Yes, European countries have made mistakes, but there are also good policies that can be embraced in the United States.”

In the 2000s, the British government was embarrassed to discover that “non-violent” Islamist groups it had funded were, in fact, “espousing extremist ideology,” Ali wrote.

“Then-Prime Minister David Cameron memorably described the attempt to partner with Islamists to counter violent Islamists as ‘like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.’

“Recognizing the link between radical Islamist indoctrination and violence, Mr. Cameron noted that of individuals convicted of terrorist crimes in Britain, ‘it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called ‘non-violent extremists,’ and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence.”

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. senators such as Jon Kyl, Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer held congressional hearings on the “problematic role of Wahhabi ideology in the United States,” Ali wrote. “Yet efforts to push back against Islamist ideology were not carried through to completion by either the Bush or Obama administrations.

“Today, Islamist foundations and individuals in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait continue to contribute to the dissemination of radical Islamic ideology in the United States and other Western countries. These funding flows should be mapped and curtailed. The U.S. should use all means of public diplomacy to give a voice to non-Islamist Muslims. And it should recognize, as the British have, that partnering with nonviolent Islamists is not a viable path toward winning the war against radical Islam.”