LNS Fellow Michael German testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, in a hearing entitled "Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism" on June 28, 2016. Fifteen years after declaring the prevention of terrorism our government’s highest priority, it is necessary and appropriate to carefully examine whether the methods currently in use are working. This hearing provides an opportunity for the Committee to investigate the deficiencies in the rhetoric surrounding the United States government’s counterterrorism efforts.
A number of policy makers, anti-Muslim organizations and self-styled terrorism experts have ensured that “radical Islam” has remained a significant part of the public debate regarding terrorism since the 9/11 attacks, despite President Obama’s reluctance to use the term. The Brennan Center’s testimony respectfully disagrees with the notion that the Obama administration’s reluctance to identify “radical Islam” as the focus of our counterterrorism efforts is part of the problem. The testimony explains that the term “radical Islam” lacks objective meaning and serves to stoke public fear, xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. This rhetoric offends American values of equality, religious liberty, and free expression, and undermines the national unity and international unity necessary to effectively counter terrorist violence at home and abroad.
Read the full testimony here.
Watch video of Michael German’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts here.