White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that up to 150 Muslims in America have joined, or have tried to join, ISIS in northern Syria, amid an intensive government-backed anti-radicalization campaign by U.S.-based Muslim groups.
The campaign “has been a successful, fruitful partnership that has protected the American people, including American Muslims,” he claimed.
The Daily Caller asked Earnest to explain how the attempted or successful effort by up to 150 U.S.-based Muslims to join the Islamic States is compatible with his claim of a successful anti-radicalization campaign.
“Check with Homeland Security on that,” Earnest replied.
Earnest did not say what an unsuccessful partnership would have accomplished.
Earnest’s declaration of success came a day after three Muslims in Brooklyn, N.Y., were arrested for conspiring to help the Islamic State.
Earlier, the federal government had allowed the problem to emerge by inviting the three Muslims from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan into the United States. The government gave residency to two of the men, and did not repatriate the third man when his visa expired.
That type of failure is not new. In 2001, three of the 19 jihadis who killed 3,000 Americans in New York were carrying expired visas.
One of the three men charged this week said in a monitored phone call that, “We will go and purchase one handgun … then go and shoot one police officer. … Boom … Then we will go to the FBI headquarters, kill the FBI people,” according to Fox News. Another said online that he would try to kill President Barack Obama, adding that the attack “will strike fear in the heart of the infidels.”
Earnest’s claims of success came during his daily press briefing when he was asked about Muslims living in the West who are joining ISIS.
“I believe that the latest assessment as it relates to U.S. citizens is about 100 or 150 individuals who have either traveled or attempted to travel to that region of the world to lend support to ISIL,” he admitted.
ISIL is the administration’s euphemism for the Islamic State, or ISIS, which is a collectivist group that is progressively trying to implement Shariah and establish a caliphatei n the Arab world, Africa and parts of Europe.
However, Earnest defended President Barack Obama by saying the president is working successfully with Islamic groups in the United States to manage Muslims in America.
“The U.S. government is working closely with local officials in communities all across the country to combat violent extremism and to try to counter the efforts from ISIL and other extremist organizations to radicalize vulnerable members of the U.S. population,” Earnest said.
That’s a difficult task, in part, because Obama has increased the number of Muslims living in the United States.
Under his pro-immigration policies, he’s adding around 8,000 people per month from Islam-dominated countries to the U.S. population.
From 2010 to 2013, the federal government accepted 295,000 migrants from predominantly Muslim countries, according to a September 2014 report by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The effort to counter radicalization among the newly invited immigrants “requires a lot of [government] work, but we certainly have gotten excellent cooperation from local law enforcement and from community leaders,” Earnest said.
The Muslim leaders of Islamic populations in the United States “want to protect the members of their community” from joining the ISIL, group, he said.
“We have been successful in working in partnership with leaders in the Muslim community to try to combat some of the efforts from extremist groups overseas to radicalize people in the Muslim community in this country,” he said.
However, police said they detected the three would-be jihadi men by monitoring conversations on jihadi computer sites. The statement suggests the men were not revealed by Muslims groups working in partnership with the government.
Some Muslim groups in the United States want police to except them from conspiracy charges if they talk to individual Muslims who are later charged with terrorism.