News / USA

    Experts Say Strong Muslim Communities Help Prevent Radicalization

    Three men from Raleigh, North Carolina, went on trial September 19 on charges of plotting terrorist attacks overseas. They are among around 200 Muslims who have been arrested in the United States on suspicion of terrorism since the September 11, 2001, attacks. One research group says that strong mosque-centered communities may be more effective than law enforcement in preventing radicalism.

    Abdulrahman Asal, 4, is all over the playground at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, after a day of pre-school here.  And he gets encouragement from his father, who is an imam at the center's mosque.

    Egyptian-born Sameh Asal came to North Carolina three years ago after theological training at the Al-Azhar university in Cairo.

    Asal says the Islamic Center of Raleigh is a place of peace, not a training ground for terrorists. He says it tries to combat radicalism by educating well-rounded Muslims.

    "It's not just educational, we have sports going on, we have social activities, we have picnics sometimes, we have youth camps, so the youth do not feel alienated," he said.

    Some think a sense of alienation is what landed three young men who attended this mosque in court.  Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, Ziyad Yaghi and Hysen Sherifi are accused of plotting terrorism overseas.

    A fourth man - Daniel Patrick Boyd, the alleged ringleader - has pleaded guilty. Prosecutors say he left the Raleigh mosque because he felt it was too moderate.

    As a result of the terrorism-related arrests of nearly 200 Muslims since 2001, some Americans are wondering what goes on inside of mosques.

    Inside the one in Raleigh, Imam Sameh Asal preaches about charity.

    "To feed the poor and the needy, and to help others out, is also an act of worship that brings us closer to Allah," said Asal.

    He says Islam teaches acceptance of other faiths, and obedience to the law of the land.

    It is a message that researchers at the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security near Raleigh say is taught at mosques throughout the country.

    Duke University professor David Schanzer is one those researchers. He says strong communities can do more to prevent radicalization than law enforcement.

    "So a lot of things that are done whether it be opening community centers, education, food banks, things of that nature - you build a stronger community, a broader network, that's going to help make sure many people don't fall through the cracks, become isolated, and then maybe subject to this kind of open radical narrative," said Schanzer.

    Since 2001, Schanzer says, many mosques have grown into multi-faceted community centers like the Islamic Center of Raleigh.

    And he points to research that shows that Muslim communities themselves have been the largest source of initial information leading to the arrest of Muslim terrorism suspects in the U.S.

    Schanzer sees that as evidence that the frequent condemnations of terrorism by Asal and other American imams are not just for public consumption.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora