For almost a decade, American Muslims have seen a growing debate in their communities about the radicalization of Muslims in America and how to combat it.
Since its inception in 2003, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) has been one of the lone voices publicly waging a contest of ideas with Islamist organizations in the U.S.
The crux of our mission is that the ideology of political Islam (Islamism) is the root cause of extremism that threatens Americans' security as well as the faith of American Muslims. Most major American-Muslim organizations hatched from the Muslim Brotherhood are advocates of political Islam and will always refuse to acknowledge the need to separate mosque and state.
The recent Christmas Day airliner attack, the earlier December arrests of American Muslims in Pakistan, and the Fort Hood massacre moved that debate into a new phase. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) have begun to acknowledge for the first time that Muslim communities are facing a "radicalization" problem.
These organizations recently announced they are pursuing "anti-radicalization" programs. This is certainly an important change in their rhetoric, but sadly, window-dressing.
These Islamist groups have simply recognized that their post-9/11 apologetic messaging is not resonating with the general public. To solve the problem, they co-opted the rhetoric of curbing radicalization. But absent real, honest reform against political Islam, their rhetoric is vacuous.
The question that begs to be asked of any Muslim group touting these programs is: What will be the structure and substance of your campaign, and will you confront, renounce and reform the ideology of political Islam?
CAIR and MPAC have typically renounced the use of terror and violence, but they have never taken a position against the ideology of political Islam. They have also been constant antagonists to efforts by law enforcement to understand and mitigate the real stages of radicalization of Muslims in America. Just recently these groups called for government to naively "decouple religion from terror."
If the root cause of Muslim radicalization is Islamism, what good is any counterterrorism effort that decouples religion from terror? How can law enforcement effectively counter terrorism in our country without recognizing the slippery slope of political Islam and its separatist narrative is the core ideology that drives the mindset of the extremists as they radicalize?
Pragmatically, and I say this with tough love for my co-religionists, many American Muslims need a 12-step program to recognize the driving separatism of political Islam.
So many American Muslims have gone down that slippery slope of political Islam to radicalization that the connection cannot be denied.
Until the majority of American Muslims can reform their theo-political ideas against the growing global power of the Islamist movement, home-grown terror will only increase as it has. There must be a public war of ideas within the Islamic consciousness promoting liberty over Islamism, freedom over theocracy and secular law over Sharia law.