“We must root out the fringe elements in the Muslim community”
As many have pointed out, we must work together with the Muslim community to root out the fringe elements. At home, this ideology must be fought using counterarguments that are both rational and spiritual in nature, based on the Koran and Prophetic traditions. Imams must continue to denounce extremism at Friday sermons, as they did in a historic national statement last summer in the wake of the London bombings. Ignorance must be countered with sound knowledge and appeals to the conscience.
The politics of grievance, combined with the reliance on victimhood espoused by a minority, do little to empower the Muslim community. Feelings of despair and helplessness must be replaced by proactive, workable projects to help Muslims – especially energetic youth – channel their talents toward helping the disenfranchised. In this regard, elements of the highly successful social projects developed by Amr Khaled (akin to Oprah’s Angel Network) might be developed here. Mr. Khaled’s programs are rooted in Islamic teachings, providing a sense of identity aimed at helping all human beings.