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Right Turn
Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Witnesses up to the task of studying jihad recruitment

The Post editorial board rejects the knee-jerk opposition to the Islamic radicalization hearings to be held today by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and vouches for “the need for a candid conversation about the real phenomenon of homegrown terrorism.” But the editorial board also raises a concern about the witness lineup:

Among the witnesses scheduled to testify at Thursday’s hearing is Melvin Bledsoe, whose son converted to Islam and, now in custody, told a judge in a letter that he murdered a military recruiter in Arkansas in 2009 as a jihadist attack on infidel forces. Mr. Bledsoe’s testimony may be useful if it helps shed light on the process that led to his son’s radicalization. But more time should be spent understanding the role of Web sites and chat rooms in the radicalization of impressionable young men.

Let me put it more bluntly: The selected witnesses for today’s hearing are insufficient to the task at hand. It’s great to have the anecdotal accounts of those whose loved ones were recruited by jihadists, but shouldn’t there be a more sophisticated and analytical inquiry?

Perhaps there will be future hearings with other sorts of witnesses, but one wonders why the committee isn’t hearing from Andy McCarthy, author of multiple books on jihadism and the prosecutor in the 1993 World Trade bombing case.

I was at the Herzliya Conference in Israel last month and heard a panel on the issue of radicalization. It had an all-star lineup: Dr. Boaz Ganor, executive director, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fellow resident, American Enterprise Institute; Judith Miller, contributing editor, City Journal and Fox News contributor; and Dr. Shmuel Bar, director of studies, Institute for Policy and Strategy. The session can be viewed here. It is a fascinating program and well worth the time to view. The explanation for how Muslims migrate from peaceful, religious lives to ones of violence is essential to understanding and thwarting the danger we face.

King should have these experts testify. They bring the intellectual heft and expertise that is required if he wants to make headway and not just headlines.

By  |  09:02 AM ET, 03/10/2011

 
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