WASHINGTON — A witness at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Tuesday refused to say the Muslim community has a serious problem with radicalization.
Farhana Khera, Executive Director and President of Muslim Advocates, an organization that requested the FBI purge training material they believed to be “offensive and inflammatory” to Muslims, dodged questions relating to whether radical Islam existed.
When asked by several times by committee chairman Ted Cruz if she considered the term “jihad” used in the 9/11 Commission as offensive, she responded, “The use of the term in general by the 9/11 Commission report, I don’t think, is problematic in and of itself. I think it’s, in general, as officials talk about what the threat is, that’s what my concern is.”
“Well if it wasn’t a concern, then why would it be purged from 126 down to zero, zero, zero, zero?” Cruz asked, referencing Khera’s organization that requested the Obama administration “purge” offensive terms to Muslims in federal law enforcement training documents.
“I can’t explain the administration. It was obviously government agencies that decided to do that and what their thinking was in developing those documents,” she said.
Cruz replied, “This was in response to a request from your organization in writing calling for a purge.”
“We asked for a purge of bigoted training material. That’s what we called for,” Khera said.
Cruz went on to say, “The Long Island Press quoted Glen Khattan the legal director for your organization as saying, ‘Like what are you going to do about radicalization in the Muslim community? That’s nonsense. There is no such thing.’ I’m curious. Do you agree with the legal director of your organization that there is no such thing as radicalization in the Muslim community?”
Khera replied, “This is what we do believe, Mr. Chairman. What we believe, and this is based on attacks we’ve seen in our country in this year alone — whether it’s the Orlando shooting, the attack on a women’s health clinic, the attack on the AME Church in South Carolina, we know that extremist violence takes many forms and people are motivated regardless of their race religion or ideology — and what we also know is that there’s no pathway so to speak to get to that point in engaging in violence.”
She went on to say, “The national security law enforcement experts say is that there’s the common thread that you see is vulnerable individuals who are seeking a sense of purpose and so we totally disabuse and do not believe this canard that there’s somehow a pathway to radicalization and that’s what numerous studies have shown as well.”
Cruz asked, “Do you believe there is radicalization in the Muslim community?”
Khera said, “There are violent individuals in all communities, including the Muslim community.”
Cruz pressed, “Is it connected to any ideology?”
“There are some people where ideology’s a part but ideology is not the center part of the center of the causation for what causes people to engage in violence,” she said.