Some Muslim-Americans are outraged that President Obama asked them to help get rid of the jihadists in their midst.
“We would never ask any other faith community to stand up and condemn acts of violence committed by people within their groups,” Palestinian American and Black Lives Matter activist Linda Sarsour told NPR. “The fact that this is only directed at the Muslim community is something that I personally can’t accept.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson echoed the president’s call for the assistance of Muslim-Americans in battling radical elements during an appearance he made at Virginia’s All Dulles Area Muslim Society on Monday, according to NPR.
“I have an ask,” Johnson told those in attendance while insisting that he would continue to be outspoken about what he said is discrimination faced by Muslims. “It is an ask of the people in this room and all Muslims across the country. Terrorist organizations overseas have targeted your communities. They seek to pull your youth into the pit of violent extremism. Help us to help you stop this.”
Washington D.C based Muslim-American entrepreneur Shahed Amanullah was insulted by the ask.
“We’re not law-enforcement officials,” Amanullah told NPR. “We’re community members and Americans like everybody else and we should have the same relationship with law enforcement that everybody else has. To expect us to be on the front lines without having the capacity or the support would not be [productive]. It wouldn’t be productive with any community.”
Afghan immigrant Ahmed Hahsy told NPR that he does believe it is his duty to confront radical Islamists but not because of his heritage.
“It’s everybody’s duty,” Amanullah said, “not Muslim or Christian. As Americans, it’s our duty. I just told my wife, ‘You’re not Afghan anymore.’ I’ve been living in this country for 25 years. We are first American, then Afghan. This is our duty, to protect this country.”
Bassam Issa, who serves as president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, Tenn., agreed with that sentiment and said that his group’s communications with the FBI and law enforcement have been more frequent since a Muslim killed five servicemen in July by shooting at a military recruitment center and Navy reserve center.
“When that happened, we contacted each other more often,” Issa told NPR. “We’ve been working together very closely. They know that anything they want from us they’ve always gotten, and we will always be there for them.”
Bob Marro, who is in charge of the government relations committee at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society where Johnson spoke, said it might be time to start working more closely with authorities.
“We see these people close up,” Marro said at Monday’s meeting according to NPR. “If [we] see something a little bit out of character, maybe the time has now come to say something to somebody else.”
Gee, you think?
Listen to NPR’s report below.
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