Here is the dichotomy, Muslim brothers and sisters.
One one hand, if Muslims do not report dangerous ideas and an investigation ensues involving a load of agents that don’t know the people, culture, faith or religious idea and even the meaning of Arabic words, there is a greater chance of the government getting it wrong and building a case against a person out of ignorance or misunderstandings.
On the other hand, if Muslims do report it, members of our community look at us as government spies who was only there to “entrap” innocent Muslims, nevermind that they were out training in jihadi camps, had radicalized online, had tons of evidence against him/her proving otherwise.
Important things to note:
1. The Muslim community in the US (since I am from the US), is largely distrustful of law enforcement.
2. Most convictions in the community are not entrapment, especially ones involving Muslim agents/informants. If they are entrapped, then the convictions can be overturned on appeal.
3. People around those individuals who have been convicted or carried out a terrorist plot all report seeing signs of radicalism but few report (out of apathy or distrust of authorities) and the cases (or attacks) could have been averted.
4. De-radicalization programs are relatively new and most people (Muslims and FBI) rarely look at those as options, if they even know about them.
In my opinion, especially in this climate of fear and mistrust of Muslims, we need to embrace a pro-law enforcement view rather than a distrustful one (not just pay lip service to it). We need to police our own communities otherwise people in law enforcement agencies who don’t know our faith will trample it trying to solve the problem of extremism which leads to attacks, a problem that only we can solve. If we all don’t take a part, even if it be against our own flesh and blood, then the system fails, mistrust grows and more idiots call for Muslims to be banned, rounded up, interned or even “ethno-religiously” cleansed through mass deportation. Dare I even mention (aside from what Nazi Germany did to the Jews) what happened in Bosnia to cite as one example. In the end, clowns like ISIS will win through our apathy.
Some of my long time friends suggest that it is not our responsibility to be proactive but passive in our action to confront extremist ideology that can lead to attacks. It is totally backwards from the teachings of Islam in my opinion. The Prophet (pbuh) not only established a system of social justice by founding Islam as the religion, but he actively set in place guidelines among Muslims to regulate our behavior. He actively corrected the Sahabah (companions) when they were in error. Allah also made us responsible to protect each other from anything amounting to evil
“The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.” Qur’an 9:71
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” Qur’an 3:110
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” Qur’an 4:135
We are to avoid suspicion and spying for the purpose of gossip and fault finding, but we still have an Islamic duty to confront extremist ideology and to protect, not only Muslims, but society at large from criminal acts and terrorism.
“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!”)” – Sahih Bukhari Book 78, Hadith 94
In light of all of these evidences, we need to be diligent and proactive. Our reactive behaviour that has been our modus since 9/11 is creating huge problems for our communities.
Our survival depends on it.