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Vol 2012 no 2 (Posted November 2012)
Education || Religion || Terrorism || Women's Leadership ||Human Rights||
Preserving Our Freedoms and Civil Liberties, Combating and Preventing Terrorism: The History Of Islam Among Urban Blacks In New Jersey
Mikal Naeem Nash, Professor, Dept. of History in the Division of Humanities, Essex County College
In light of the current ethical challenges facing policy makers in today’s world, where the growing threat of terrorism is seemingly on the rise, the need for global security of the world’s citizens is of paramount importance. How we approach these challenges must be rooted in our understanding of our history. As the late great El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X stated, “History is best qualified to reward our research.” Giving agency to that spirit and the remembrance of the history of the Islamic consciousness movement in African-America in particular and the United States of America in general, will provide some useful tools for adopting better approaches in policymaking. The history of Islam among urban blacks in New Jersey is a case in point. Failure to properly understand that history will only prevent us from establishing best practices in policymaking with regard to preserving our freedoms and civil liberties as well as combating and preventing terrorism. Stated another way, knowing the history can only empower us. And so, this paper will examine the background to the rise of Muslim communities, especially among urban blacks—whose history is not well understood outside its own circles.
The Transnational Element During the ‘War on Terrorism,’ 1920-2011
John A. Tures, Associate Professor of Political Science, LaGrange College
While the number of studies concerning terrorism have dramatically increased since 9/11, it is not clear that our analyses have matched our goals for curtailing terrorism. To date, we have seen religious and psychological studies, public opinion surveys, group observation, and hypothesis tests of events and countries attacked using statistics. Despite these valiant efforts, it seems we have come up short in what we’ve learned about terrorism in general, or specifically how groups have targeted a particular country.
Religion studies have shown how the role of such belief systems might be overstated. The psychological profiles have demonstrated that there is no profile. The study of group dynamics shows that the old models have changed, and continue to do so in response to the situation at hand. Terror motives seem murkier still. The statistical tests have yielded some fruit, but many of them suffer from employing data collected from sources where there may be a reporting bias. Additionally, many of them are conducted in a way that does not incorporate the transnational character of terrorism.
This paper may not address all of the shortcomings of terrorism studies, but it illuminates some findings and perhaps provides a path for future research on transnational terrorism in general, and how it impacts the United States in particular. It compares the domestic with the transnational examples of terrorism. It examines an area recently isolated by scholars as significant: the suicide terrorism strategy and whether it is deadlier than other forms of terrorism, without selecting on the dependent variable. It also provides some input on areas previously overlooked by most terrorism researchers: the location and timing of the terror strike. And while it only covers terrorism in the United States and American assets abroad, it offers a blueprint for future analyses tracking the transnational cases of terrorism.
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