Governmental Reforms Needed in the War Against Extremism

by Mohamed Amin Ahmed aka: Average Mohamed

After every extremist attack, questions arise. What are Muslims doing to stop it? These are valid questions when the culprit is a Muslim who has just killed randomly man, woman and child. As a Muslim leader and activist, we are always ready to condemn the act of extremism. Our organization labelled Average Mohamed. In that an Average Mohamed counters the ideology of extremism of faith, particularly the Islamic faith. We have reached a million Muslims on social media, spoke to over 50,000 kids in over four years just on this issue. We believe it takes “An idea to defeat an idea”. The ideas we promote is Peace, Democracy and Anti- Extremism. We are so efficient that we scared ISIS and AL Qaeda to them sending us death threats. Here is a Muslim American leader response to that question. What resources have you ever given us to counter the ideology? As a nation we put the burden on our Law Enforcement Agencies and our Nobel Soldiers. Never bothering to empower Muslim led organizations to help with resources. We at Average Mohamed believe that counter ideology is needed to counter investments made by ISIS and Al Qaeda ideology that targets our youth globally daily. When ISIS spends 3 million dollars on Hollywood style video of propaganda that seems to reach our youth. How much have we spent as Americans countering that message? As practioner of counter ideology work we face hurdles.  We have learnt to build bridges with other communities. Our Jewish community facing an avalanche of Anti-Semitism, our African American community on racism, our Christian community because true believers in Christ their lord practice loving one another, no matter who we are. Our atheist community because freedom of faith means acceptance of those without.

As for resources, all know of us within our government. We get access and kind words but the resources we need to counter extremism is none existent. How can we as Muslims fight state sponsored extremism. ISIS and Al Qaeda control lands, tax and peoples to call them states now. They are no longer men and women in caves. When our state as Americans is not investing in our efforts. We go to foundations and organizations for resources. They send us right back to our government. One foundation head was polite he said if you were tackling global warming, diabetes, wealth equity we have resources for you, but fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS ideology, that is governments work. Go to your government.

We try explaining to our government that we want to help in this fight give us resources but do not compel us into surveillance as a result of your funding. We cannot in good conscious accept that. We speak to all mosques in Metro area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Our Imams handle 500 kids they are teaching to over 1500 kids for large mosques. They too want to join the ideological warfare against ISIS and AL Qaeda. They are best equipped to debunk the ideology. But they are scared because talk about extremism can land one in jail as its proponent. We do not have in our country a mechanism that offers the clergy a way to deal with it. Imams tell us when they come across an extremist all they do is expel them from the mosques and get a restraining order put on the individual from coming to their mosques. Putting the burden yet again on law enforcement when they could de-radicalize the individual themselves.

The question of what are Muslims doing to help against extremists? We are doing all we can given our circumstances and the sheer lack of resources or trust coming from our government. Trust us Muslims to do this work. Allow Imams leeway to talk about extremism without them getting a National Security file on them and surveillance that follow it. Let them know it. The costs for Average Mohamed 0.07 cents to reach our youth with an idea promoting Peace, Democracy and Anti- Extremism to stop recruitment. It costs our government over trillions of dollars fighting the results of this ideology. We need new thinking to win this war.

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