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Hussein Hamdani’s PowerPoint presentation to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on how the government should interact/outreach with the Muslim communities
Original address: http://muslimlegal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Conference-v21.ppt
HTML version of the PowerPoint file: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vB4idAbgVtkJ:muslimlegal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Conference-v21.ppt+http://muslimlegal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Conference-v21.ppt&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca
Author: Hussein Hamdani (Naseer Irfan Syed identified Hussein Hamdani as the author of the Powerpoint presentation to Minister Toews on his blog muslimlegal.ca.)
Date: June 8, 2012
Meeting between representatives of the Muslim community and Minister Toews
June 8, 2012
How should the government interact/outreach with the Muslim communities?
How can we make Canada and Canadians safer?
3 pronged approach to make any society safer:
Government must bolster efforts and not take any steps that targets one class of people or community;
Communities must police themselves and have a zero-tolerance for inciting hate; and
All citizens must make active effort to get to know one another.
Government must bolster outreach efforts and target communities
While there is not clear, consistent path to why some people engage in violent radicalization, there are some common threads:
Sense that the country is at war with your religious community
Racial or religious profiling
All levels of government, especially federal government must ensure that it does not take any action or inaction that will directly target a specific community.
Doing so would lead to disenfranchisement and alienation.
The Importance of Language
In July 2010, the Victoria Police and the Australian government released their Talking About Terrorism in Australia Guide
The aim of the guide is to assist governments and their representatives to make informed and considered decisions when employing terrorism-related language during the course of public pronouncements.
In preparing terrorism related messages, the following principles should be considered:
Disassociate terrorism from any religious, national or cultural community as a whole;
Acknowledge the motivation of terrorists;
Emphasize inclusiveness and commonality of purpose, rather than encourage divisiveness
Deprive terrorists of legitimacy and discourage the propagation of their worldview
Avoid using excessive vague, unfamiliar and extraneous language
Be mindful of your audience
Adopt a holistic approach
US vs. Canada
US: In August 2011, US released their “Empowering Local Partners To Prevent Extremism”
“Protecting American communities form al-Qa’ida’s hateful ideology is not the work of government alone. Communities – especially Muslim American communities whose children, families and neighbours are being targeted for recruitment by al-Qa’ida – are often best positioned to take the lead because they know their communities best. Indeed, Muslim American communities have categorically condemned terrorism, worked with law enforcement to help prevent terrorist attacks, and forged creative programs to protect their sons and daughters from al-Qa’ida’s murderous ideology”
“Most of all, this strategy reaffirms the fundamental American principles that guide our efforts. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we remember that al-Qa’ida tried to spark a conflict between faiths and divide us as Americans. But they failed. As this strategy makes clear, we will not waver in our defence of our country or our communities. We will defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates. We will uphold the civil rights and civil liberties of every American. And we will go forward together, as Americans, knowing that our rich diversity of backgrounds and faiths makes us stronger and is a key to our national security”
UK’s Prevent Strategy
In June 2011, the UK released its “Prevent Strategy” which was meant to articulate the strategy for CVE.
In the executive summary, the first line reads, “The UK faces a range of terrorists threats. The most serious is from Al Qa’ida, its affiliates and like-minded organizations.”
“there is evidence to indicate that support for terrorism is associated with rejection of cohesive, integrated, multi-faith society and of parliamentary democracy. Work to deal with radicalization will depend on developing a sense of belonging to this country and support for our core values”.
The executive summary of our “Building Resilience Against Terrorism: Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy”. states “Violent Islamist extremism is the leading threat to Canada’s national security… violent “homegrown” Sunni Islamists extremists are posing a threat of violence.”
“Working through partnerships is central to the success of the Strategy. It would include collaboration with Canada’s international partners, security intelligence and federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies, all levels of government and civil society.”
Words of the Leaders
“As extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with the respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction, that Muslim Americans are part of our American family”
President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 2011
Words of the Leaders
Near the 10th anniversary of 9/11, PM Harper indentified “Islamicism” as the single largest threat to Cdn security.
Why would the PM continue to propagate a religious dimension to violent extremism when over a year and a half ago even the American president decreed that the word “Islam” would be banned from describing terrorist enemies as part of official White House policy?
You will not find the following words in US Army’s counter intelligence manuals “Islamic insurgents”, “Islamic extremists” and “Islamic subversives”.
So where do we go from here?
Muslims need to develop a strong and sustained counter-narratives to violent extremist ideologies as a means to increase community resilience to violent extremist ideologies. These counter narratives should be able to engage violent extremist messages on a number of fronts, including from political, historical, socio-psychological, theological and instrumental dimensions.
Gov’t may have a role in supporting capacity building programs, or programs that cross ethnic or religious lines.
Some Practical Steps the Gov’t can take include:
- use better language (stay away from alienating language and employ more inclusive language)
- support moderate and moderating voices in the Muslim communities through grants and funding [war for the hearts and minds]
- help fund a 3-year leadership and civic engagement project for Muslim youth in between Toronto and Hamilton
- establish a Muslim community working group that meets with the Minister of Public Safety on a biannual basis.