Are Muslims nuts?

The last time I visited Pakistan was in 2007, soon after I’d started my Ph.D. My topic was Muhammad Iqbal, the philosopher and poet who gave intellectual heft to the Pakistan movement. Not surprisingly, my family was intrigued by my choice of topic. They were however less amused by my choice of residence: I lived at the edge of Columbia campus, near Harlem, an arrangement that elicited respectful horror.

“Isn’t New York so dangerous?” they asked. (A Pakistani was asking me if my city was dangerous?) In their minds, New Yorkers had only to exit their apartments and they would immediately be subjected to random muggings, extortionate kidnappings, spectacularly explosive car chases, or Allah knows what else. Probably their idea of the city had been formed by and remained stuck in Coming to America.

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FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’

The FBI is teaching its counter terrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.

“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”

The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands.

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