Four Muslim men were charged in southern California last week in a terror plot to attack American targets overseas. Similar to other Islamic terror plots hatched in the U.S. in recent years, the suspects sought to join al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)'s Los Angeles office, attempted to minimize the significance of the arrests as it related to the American Muslim community. "It is important to keep in mind, that incidents of terrorism are rare, and thankfully this is not something that American Muslims have to deal with," Ayloush told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Ayloush characterized the threat of radicalization of American Muslims as minimal.
"The best way to prevent self-marginalization and disenfranchisement is to promote a culture of engagement within a community, especially within the most vulnerable, younger people in such communities and that empowers people and makes them part of a positive change with their society and community," Ayloush said.
Ayloush has his own history of disparaging law enforcement counter-terrorism efforts when they target Muslims and attacking America's support for Israel and its posture toward Muslims.
A U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report titled "Terrorist Arrests and Plots Stopped in the United States 2009-2012" identified suspects in terrorism related cases charged by federal authorities. It cited three additional suspects that were not included in the reports "listed" findings; those were the arrests of Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan, Little Rock shooter Abdulhakim Muhammed, and attempted underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who were not prevented from attempting or carrying out attacks by the FBI. However, with the identification of those additional three suspects, the total grew to 98.
An analysis of those 98 terror suspects/defendants from the 2009-2012 time period revealed 17 who were not Muslim and not connected to Islamic terror plots. Therefore, nearly 83% of the terror suspects involved in U.S. terror plots from 2009-2012 were, in fact, Muslim.
A report issued by the Department of Justice in 2011 relating to "National Security Division Statistics on Unsealed International Terrorism and Terrorism - Related Convictions 9/11/01 - 3/ 18/10" identified, after analysis, more than 80 percent of all such convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism involved defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report, that overlaps by 2009 and early 2010 with the noted DOJ statistical conviction report, clearly validates and continues the 80+% finding related to the post-9/11 case conviction analysis. These reports confirm that while the vast majority of Muslims in America are not terrorists, the clear and significant majority of terrorist plots and cases identified within the United States involve radicalize Muslims. For Ayloush and his organization to suggest otherwise diverts public attention from the truth.