Don’t make San Bernardino a victory for ISIS

Haider Ali Hussein Mullick writes: I am an American Muslim. I have spent my adult life teaching and advising senior military leaders in the fight against terror. On Wednesday night, as I watched representatives of the American Muslim community in San Bernardino, Calif., denounce the shooters who had just killed 14 people in their city, I recognized in their bearing and words their feelings of humiliation, horror and loyalty to the United States — alongside a great fear that a new round of Islamophobia will now follow.

I know from my own experience that more Islamophobia would be the worst outcome for American efforts to defeat the Islamic State.

As a naval officer I’ve taken an oath to defend the American Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I’ve trained members of the Navy SEAL teams, and my mentors include the former head of the National Rifle Association, the supreme allied commander of NATO, and the commanding general of the war in Afghanistan.

I have been deeply troubled by the anti-Muslim vitriol in our country since Islamist fanatics wreaked havoc in Paris. Fearmongers have already called for registering Muslims and closing mosques. The F.B.I. has warned Muslims about possible attacks from white supremacist militias.

If we don’t want to play into the hands of Islamic State propaganda that America is at war with Islam, we must stand up against Islamophobia. We should separate the few extremists from the vast majority of law-abiding patriotic American Muslims by working with the moderates, not against them.

The Islamic State has little to no support in most Muslim-majority countries, according to a Pew Research Center poll after the Paris attacks. Instead, with more than 60 countries aligned against it, the Islamic State is banking on Western societies to alienate their Muslim populations to increase recruitment. [Continue reading…]

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