on citizenship and terrorism


Here’s the thing about the current line of questioning that wonders how Faisal Shahzad was able to be a naturalized citizen, or in other words was the pathway to citizenship too easy for him. That line of thought acts as though Shahzad came to the United States ten or so years ago with the intention of waging war against this country. It presumes that he married an American and had two children while lying in wait to strike at the first opportunity. That’s just silly and what evidence we do have shows nothing of the sort.

But here’s why we’re spending so much time asking inane questions and retracting rights: we do not want to deal with the more troubling question, which requires a more sophisticated answer. What turned him?

I’m not at all concerned about paths to citizenship. But I’m very concerned about disaffected immigrants and citizens. Our real question should be, in my opinion, what’s going on in our country that turns people off so much as to turn them towards the Pakistani Taliban.

There will be no one answer to this. But I do think we need to start a conversation about how our actions abroad might be affecting communities here. And, as I’ve been saying for years now, we need to do as much as we can to make it clear that we’re fighting against jihadi groups, not Islam.


5 Responses to “on citizenship and terrorism”

  1. 1 whitheramp

    well, we not only need to make it clear, some members of the U.S. and major media need to stop actually attacking Islam, and focus on attacking radical groups.

    not to detract from your personal posts, but i always really like and learn from your political posts. can you please find something to post about kagan? thanks. 😉

  2. You’re absolutely right, we need to stop attacking Islam. I do think there are things about Islamic practice that can be critiqued but I’m much more inclined to listen to Muslims’ critique of their own faith than that of some blowhard Protestant. (Not that there aren’t Protestants who have taken the time to learn a lot about other faiths but they tend not to have the loudest voice.) But I think we’ve lost the right as a country to make proclamations about the Muslim world and I suspect that the reason it’s not clear whether we’re attacking Islam or radical Islamist violent groups is because there is a decent portion of people who would like to see Islam gone as a faith entirely with a level of vehemence they might not approach other faiths with.

    And yeah, I like my political posts too but I’m aware not all of my readers share my political beliefs so I’m trying to strike a balance. But I’ve become incredibly worried about where the US is headed in the wake of the Arizona immigration legislation and the political response to the Shahzad plot so I expect these posts will be more frequent. On Kagan, I don’t know enough to write anything but that should change in a few weeks. I feel ambivalent about her, possibly leaning more to the side of not thrilled. My view on this is entirely shaped by Salon and Slate so I don’t want to speak too strongly but I’m concerned that we don’t actually know how liberal she is or isn’t. Also, the hiring record of minority professors during her tenure as dean of Harvard Law was abysmal, which gives me some pause.

    My bigger problem is this, though. I was fine with Obama, even though I knew he wasn’t “progressive.” At the moment, it’s impossible to truly be a progressive and have any political power but I’m afraid the Tea Party and the emergence of a newly extreme conservative movement is moving us all to the right. Things are getting toxic and I feel like Obama is reacting by conceding somewhat, rather than taking firm stands on issues of importance. I still don’t know why nobody has made the argument that we’re in serious danger of losing who we are as a nation with our panicked responses to terrorist plots, which is exactly what these groups want us to do. Meanwhile there are all kinds of threats we’re ignoring b/c we’re too caught up with reacting to what’s past.

  3. 4 whitheramp

    oh, but it’s ok that she only hired white men at harvard because she was “building bridges.”

  4. Not one Cool one. We need peace in the world

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