On November 3rd CAIR-Chicago’s Renner Larson attended “Terror Near and Far: The Global Jihadist Movement” hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs with speaker Daniel Byman.
“The event was a breath of fresh air,” said Larson. “So often with these events speakers emphasis the threat of extremist Islam in a way that inadvertently over exaggerates the threat of foreign terrorism and the Islamic nature of it. Byman was very clear that terrorism is, by definition, politically motivated not religiously motivated. He even ended his talk by specifically pointing out that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the United States since 2001 were committed by non-Muslim right wing extremists.”
A professor in the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Daniel Byman has a concurrent appointment with the Georgetown Department of Government. In addition, he served as director of Georgetown’s Security Studies Program and Center for Security Studies from 2005 until 2010.
Professor Byman is a Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 2002 to 2004 he served as a Professional Staff Member with the 9/11 Commission and with the Joint 9/11 Inquiry Staff of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Before joining the Inquiry Staff he was the Research Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation. Previous to this, Professor Byman worked as an analyst on the Middle East for the U.S. government.
When Larson asked him about how Islamophobia effects the fight against terrorism, Byman, saying “I’m glad you asked this question,” explained that one of the largest problems we face is the dangerous way Islamophobes and terrorist groups play off of each other to further alienate the Muslim community and strengthen the narrative that Islam is at war with the west and vice versa. He also mentioned that nearly all terrorist attacks that have been inspired from within the Muslim community have been reported and stopped by Muslims themselves. For that reason, he said, it is imperative that we strengthen and empower the American Muslim community not alienate it.
Image via Brookings.edu