The number of Muslim-Americans indicted for violent plots and/or offering financial support to terrorism declined for the second straight year, according to a study released Wednesday.
“Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11″ (.pdf), the third annual report on this issue, states that 20 Muslim-Americans were indicted for violent terrorist plots in 2011, adding that while “this number is not negligible — small numbers of Muslim-Americans continue to radicalize each year and plot violence. However, the rate of radicalization is far less than many feared in the aftermath of 9/11.”
The report points to warnings about the “terrorist threat,” “the evolution of terrorist tactics” and “the extent of Muslim-American radicalization by al-Qaeda” by federal officials Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Congressman Peter King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House.
Terrorist plots have decreased in each of the past two years, since the spike of cases in 2009. Threats remain: violent plots have not dwindled to zero, and revolutionary Islamist organizations overseas continue to call for Muslim-Americans to engage in violence. However, the number of Muslim-Americans who have responded to these calls continues to be tiny, when compared with the population of more than 2 million Muslims in the United States and when compared with the total level of violence in the United States, which was on track to register 14,000 murders in 2011.
According to The New York Times, “Charles Kurzman, the author of the report for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, called terrorism by Muslim Americans ‘a minuscule threat to public safety.’ Of about 14,000 murders in the United States last year, not a single one resulted from Islamic extremism, said Mr. Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina.” The Triangle Center is “a collaborative effort between Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International.”
The organization’s report indicates that “2011’s Muslim-American terrorism suspects did not fit any particular demographic profile”:
- 30 percent were age 30 and older, as compared with 35 percent of all cases since 9/11.
- 70 percent were U.S. citizens, as compared with 68 percent of all cases since 9/11.
- suspects came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds – 30 percent Arab, 25 percent white, and 15 percent African-American.
- 40 percent were converts, as compared with 35 percent of all cases since 9/11.
Nezar Hamze, a registered Republican and the executive director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Florida Independent earlier this month that accusations tying his organization to Muslim terrorists are ridiculous.
“Unfortunately, right now, to bash Muslims, or bash Islam, has become mainstream GOP strategy,” Hamze said. “You have quote after quote from Republican presidential candidates that are absolutely ludicrous and fringe. It’s unfortunate because if you take those quotes and you replace Islam with Judaism or Christianity it is completely unacceptable, but for some reason it has become mainstream in the GOP to attack Muslims.”
The report issued Wednesday concludes that “almost 200 Muslim-Americans have been involved in violent plots of terrorism over this decade, and more than 400 Muslim- Americans have been indicted or convicted for supporting terrorism,” but it warns that over the decade the surge in Muslim-Amerian terrorism “has not materialized.”
“This study’s findings challenge Americans to be vigilant against the threat of homegrown terrorism while maintaining a responsible sense of proportion,” the report states.