Congress Must Act To Halt The Spread Of Islamic Extremism

Rep. John Ratcliffe Congressman, Texas 4th District
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A little over 15 years ago, the horrific events of 9/11 sent a clear signal to the world that the threats posed by radical Islamist extremism reach every corner of the globe. This tragedy that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people marked the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It was a moment and a day none of us will ever forget.

Following 9/11, I joined the Department of Justice as a terrorism prosecutor in hopes that I could do my small part to help in this important fight. And since coming to Congress, I’ve remained committed to this effort as a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel.

As we saw all too clearly during the end of the Obama administration, the undeniable reality is that this battle is far from over. The pervasiveness of terrorist threats beyond the Middle East was evidenced again just last week, when Britain experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on its soil since 2005.

Following this attack, I joined the rest of the world in solidarity with Britain, as we stood together in mourning over the young and innocent lives that were taken as the result of Islamist extremism.

The cowardly attack in Manchester wasn’t just terrorism. It was ISIS-inspired Islamist terrorism. And the political cowardice of refusing to make that distinction has allowed this twisted radicalism to proliferate.

This is precisely why my colleagues and I in Congress have been sounding the alarm on the very real dangers that can stem from ISIS’ ongoing efforts to radicalize people across the globe without ever crossing physical borders. The ability to rapidly disseminate information online has enabled ISIS-inspired attacks to become increasingly prevalent outside of the Middle East – and we are quickly approaching the alarming 200-mark for ISIS-linked plots in the West.

Now, more than ever, we must continue moving forward on legislation that will ensure we can finally put a stop to the rapid spread of terrorism across the globe. This means we must not only continue pressing forward to implement the actionable measures we devised in our work last Congress in the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel, but we must also continue adapting our efforts as the threat landscape continues to evolve.

And while we’ve been working on this fight in Congress for quite some time – the support we now have from President Trump makes me confident that we will indeed be able to turn a page in the battle against radical Islamist extremism. Unlike President Obama, who continually downplayed the severity of terrorist threats – too often putting politics above national security – our new commander-in-chief actually recognizes our enemies at face value.

In his first overseas trip as President of the United States, it gave me great comfort that President Trump visited Israel to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to this strategic partnership. This was a clear signal that the Obama-era approach to our relationship with the Middle East was over, and I am hopeful that we can work together alongside President Trump to bring stability to this region and see liberty and freedom triumph over radicalism in the most volatile parts of the world.