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Archive for April, 2016

The Indigo Economy

Saturday, April 30th, 2016


As Global Instability Spreads, the “Indigo” Economy Rises
By Mikhail Fridman
April 29, 2016

Something strange is happening to our world. The basic principles, rules and values that have long served as the foundation for our lives are falling apart. Fragility and instability are spreading like a virus, infecting countries and continents. Those who only yesterday were on the margins of European politics are bursting onto center stage. Some are left-leaning, like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain. Some are right-leaning, such as the National Front in France, Fidesz in Hungary or AfD in Germany. But all are populist and anti-establishment. And it is not just Europe that is being shaken up.

The United States of America, which was built on the principles of free markets and openness, is rallying to presidential candidates who are either propagating socialist views or arguing for isolationism. This populist advance reflects an obvious and sad fact: Old and tested truths no longer satisfy modern societies and need to be reviewed and redefined.

The economic outlook is also unstable. Extreme volatility in the markets has become the norm. This instability is usually attributed to two main factors: the sharp decline in the price of natural resources and the slowing of China’s economic growth. These two factors are actually contradictory. Cheaper resources should, in theory, benefit China, the largest importer of natural resources. Western economies, which are the main consumers of Chinese exports, should also be helped by cheap energy, but there is no sign of that either.

Volatility in politics and markets is a sign of a major tectonic shift that is happening before our eyes.

We are entering a disruptive era driven by extraordinary levels of human creativity. A new generation of curious, strong-willed and talented individuals is unhindered by convention or the past. This new “Indigo” generation is now shaping tomorrow’s economy and creating national wealth. I use the term Indigo because it has been used to refer to children with special or unusual abilities. This is an era where abnormally talented individuals and entities are now able to realize new levels of human potential and economic achievement.

How is the Indigo era different?

Over thousands of years, human history has been defined by the struggle for access to natural resources, or to put it simply, for land that contains those resources. Whether it is fertile soil, access to trade routes, gold, minerals, or oil and gas, land has always been a primary source of national wealth. The sanctity of national borders, which is the cornerstone of national identity, is a reflection of that idea. Fear of shortages has created cyclical bubbles in commodity markets and has inspired Hollywood thrillers about the war for oil and gas. It seemed that sooner or later the economy would run out of something essential for its growth. Yet every time these bottlenecks – be they in rubber, Indian spices or conventional oil and gas – were resolved by finding an alternative.

This new Indigo era undermines the hypothesis that depletion of natural resources is imminent. The innovative potential of developed countries has allowed people to find alternatives to any such shortage. This does not mean that the world no longer requires natural resources. But it eliminates the real or imagined shortage of those resources and deprives commodity exporters of what have been super profits. Oil and gas was the last bastion of these bottlenecks and it too has crumbled, thanks to Indigo economies.

The main source of national wealth is not the resource rent but the social infrastructure that allows every person to realize his or her intellectual and creative potential. It is for this reason that Exxon, once the world’s largest company, has been overtaken by Apple and Google. This represents a paradigm shift in which creative, non-linear thinking and random ideas are turned into new scalable services in a short space of time.

Requirements for developing an Indigo economy

World-leading firms such as Apple and Google have introduced revolutionary changes in business through innovation. So let’s call them Indigo companies.

One can see three main interconnected factors that have led to their achievements.

The first requirement is intuitive individual talent and a high level of education. The originator of an idea has to be not only creative but also well-educated and able to form a team of equally educated and gifted people.

Second, to realize an idea, even the brightest innovator needs the cushion of a “cloud,” a sophisticated infrastructure for doing business. This includes a legal system that can protect both physical and intellectual property rights and a competitive environment that allows small companies to turn into giants without fear of being swallowed by larger companies at their initial stages.

The ecosystem of an Indigo economy requires thousands of suppliers and subcontractors that can provide competitive, high-quality services ranging from venture financing to marketing and Web design. This cloud of available services allows users to benefit from all these technologies without the need for deep knowledge or expertise from any of them.

Third, a global digital infrastructure is needed to distribute new products and also to accumulate customer data and new levels of insight. This enables the Indigo generation to understand customer behavior and to create new services even before there is a demonstrated demand.

How easy will it be to replicate this Indigo ecosystem?

The global digital world already exists, and the Internet and cellular networks are reaching the most remote corners of the world.

We know from biology that human intelligence, talent and creativity exist everywhere and are equally distributed among all nations and races. Good education is not available everywhere, but all large developing countries have serious universities. Moreover, people from these countries have a chance to study abroad or take online courses provided by the world’s best universities.

The most problematic area for the functioning of the Indigo economy is the creation of the “cloud” as well as the social and institutional environment that is congenial to innovative companies. The “cloud” cannot be built overnight. It has evolved as a result of a profound social and political development that Western societies have experienced over centuries. A firm legal system, competition rules and a system of checks and balances do not automatically result in the creation of a Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, the West has the best conditions for making breakthroughs in different spheres of human activity, be it biotechnology, robotics, logistics, or transportation. (Full disclosure: I recently invested $200 million in Uber.)

It is also clear that countries lacking Indigo-friendly infrastructures are disadvantaged. The creation of a balanced social system and a competitive, rule-based environment requires some shifts in values and thinking as well as the breaking of stereotypes.

How Indigo will influence the world economy

The past few decades have been characterized by globalization and economic cooperation between the developed world and emerging countries. Emerging nations exported commodities and cheap labor to the developed world and used the proceeds to build roads, airports, cities and logistic centers. This has produced new jobs and attracted foreign investment, which, in turn, boosted the growth of a modern middle class.

Governments typically favored fast physical infrastructure projects at the expense of building institutions, independent legal systems and encouraging competition. These seemed like long and difficult tasks that did not match traditional values and often contradicted the interests of the ruling elite. The most obvious example of this approach was China.

China, where the development of institutions was sacrificed for the sake of building new cities, has already run into difficulties trying to build an Indigo economy. Having realized the scale of problems related to the weakness of its institutions, the government has responded in its usual way: employing its usual tactics of further centralization and repression.

With the possible exception of India, a repeat of China’s economic miracle or another emerging markets boom is unlikely. Economic growth in emerging markets will slow down as a result of shrinking natural resource revenues and a decline in people’s incomes. The chances of these countries pulling themselves out of corruption and protectionism are remote.

This means that the rate of economic growth in emerging markets will increasingly lag behind that of the developed world, further widening the gap in incomes and standards of living. The mutual resentment driven by the inability of emerging markets to catch up with the developed world will increase. Emerging countries are likely to feel increasingly jealous and hostile toward rich countries while rich countries will try to isolate themselves from their poorer and embittered neighbors. This could heighten the tension in international affairs.

A few years ago, globalization contributed to the narrowing of the gap between emerging markets and the Western world. Now it could be used as a channel for selling the products of Indigo economies to the countries that cannot compete in quality or price. Heightened resentment and tension could further empower political populists who exploit the feelings of fear, jealousy and inability to change one’s circumstances to fan hatred toward the more prosperous and successful, and a desire to destroy their riches. These populist politicians are already among us, promising simple solutions to complex problems. It is a dangerous recipe.

But there is also a ray of hope

For two-and-a-half centuries, it has been apparent that successful societies depend on having the rule of law, fair competition, and citizens’ basic rights. The U.S. was formed on this basis. As a student in the Soviet Union, I once explained the benefits of the socialist economy which, in contrast to the chaos of capitalism, could plan precisely how, when and in what quantity any goods had to be produced. The only problem was that these arguments were accompanied by endless lines for fast-disappearing food in shops. As a result, the socialist economic theory did not inspire much confidence in my listeners.

Nonetheless, the short-term economic successes of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes create a longing for a “strong hand,” which can compel people to sacrifice their civil liberties for the benefits of economic security. But even in theory, one cannot build an economy based on the creative energy, free spirit and self-fulfilment of millions of individuals if they are cut off from making the most important decisions about their own society. I hope that the era toward which we are heading will finally end these dangerous misconceptions. The future Indigo economy is an economy of free people. And this means that the world will become more and more free.

Mikhail Fridman is chairman of LetterOne, a privately owned international investment business headquartered in Luxembourg with offices in London (More).

Houston’s Muslim-Led Plan to Protect the Homeland

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

The following might be hopeful in an otherwise worrisome scene concerning Muslim-Americans and their status within the wider U.S. community

The Heritage Foundation/The Daily Signal

Houston’s Muslim-Led Plan to Protect the Homeland

Josh Siegel / April 17, 2016

HOUSTON—It’s rush hour after a 9-to-5 cycle at his day job, and Mustafa Tameez is forcing his massive Infiniti SUV through traffic, passing the time by talking about how to fight terrorism.

Tameez isn’t talking about this mission in fighting words, though. He’s throwing out terms like “community engagement,” “grassroots,” and “sustainability,” as if he’s describing a neighborhood gardening project.

Tameez is not being asked to lead this effort, and a suave, 46-year-old, slick-haired political consultant and Muslim American is not the person you’d expect to carry the message.

But this is how it goes in localities across the United States, where Muslim leaders are developing innovative solutions to defend their communities against the threat of extremist ideology.

“Countering violent extremism requires engagement with the community,” Tameez says in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding:

It’s more of empowering the community to come up with solutions, not imposing them. What we are doing is making the community resilient to make sure they know how to protect their kids [from radicalization]. And it’s not a religious thing. As Americans, it’s all of our responsibility, obligation, and part of the fabric of our country to ensure safety for all.

In a time when groups such as the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban terrorize the world in the name of Islam, America’s 3.3 million Muslims often are asked to respond, diagnose, and fight back.

The calls for action are especially powerful after domestic terrorist attacks such as the one in San Bernardino, Calif., in December, when a married Muslim couple killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in a mass shooting.

According to Heritage Foundation research, more than 80 Islamist-inspired terrorist plots against the U.S. (including attempted and completed attacks) have come to light since 9/11, and more than 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, the terrorist group also known as ISIS.

Interviews with more than 40 Muslims in Houston produced not one who said he or she ever met or encountered someone with radical Islamist views. They said they don’t recognize the religion the terrorists claim to practice.

In Houston, America’s fourth-largest city, tens of thousands of Muslims—more than 60,000—live in any and all neighborhoods, working and worshiping how they choose.

“We’re 60- to 70,000 people in a city of 2.2 million folks and most of us are taxi drivers, teachers, doctors, and lawyers,” says Tameez, who has worked as a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security and State Department on counterterrorism issues.

“Nobody here went to school to study how you counter radicalism,” Tameez adds. “That’s just not what we know how to do. The whole Western world is struggling with this. To think a bunch of doctors and taxi drivers will figure out how to do it—it’s tough.”
Mustafa Tameez, a Muslim community leader, launched a program to protect Houston and Harris County from extremism. (Photo/Scott Dalton)

Mustafa Tameez, a Muslim community leader, launched a program to protect Houston and Harris County from extremism.

But being a regular guy hasn’t stopped Tameez—and other community leaders across the country—from trying to do something to overcome the extremist message.

In December 2014, Tameez and another local Muslim leader, Wardah Khalid, created a plan to counter violent extremism for Harris County and its largest city, Houston.

Tameez and Khalid did not act in response to a problem—Houston and Harris County have never experienced a terrorist attack—but rather meant for the plan to be preventative.

The 19-page document, which was the result of 25 interviews with Muslim community leaders, and written in consultation with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, goes beyond counterterrorism.

“You don’t just want to make these efforts about counterterrorism or as an anti-Muslim effort,” says Khalid, 29, who most recently worked as a Middle East policy analyst at the Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund, a Quaker lobbying group in Washington, D.C. She adds:

That doesn’t really help the issue. So the idea was to build a comprehensive community plan that makes the Muslim community more resilient in all aspects, like building a stronger capacity for mental health services, prison rehab, community initiatives offered by mosques, financial training, and guidance on how to address bullying in schools.

Tameez and Khalid’s plan is the result of an effort that the federal government has encouraged since after the 9/11 attacks, when America’s leaders began to try to facilitate Muslims’ cooperation in countering violent extremism in the United States.

The idea was more nuanced than simply getting Muslims to snitch on each other.

President George W. Bush previewed the approach he would take when he visited the Islamic Center of Washington six days after 9/11 to famously declare that “Islam is peace.”

Michael Chertoff, who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Bush from 2005 to 2009, tells The Daily Signal that the former president was strategic in reaching out to the Muslim community in this way.

Chertoff says Bush wanted Muslims to feel like a part of the broader U.S. community, thus encouraging them to acclimate. That way, Muslims would become comfortable, with deep ties to their surroundings, and more likely to help in the mission of countering radicalization.

“We thought it was important to reach out to the Muslim community in a welcoming way,” Chertoff says.

“The issue of outreach to the Muslim community was an important element of what we did with homeland security, recognizing that the vast majority of American Muslims are loyal, prosperous, and successful, and are full participants in the American experience,” Chertoff adds:

We found the community very cooperative in terms of carrying out the message that many of these recruiters [for radical groups] give a very distorted and one-sided presentation of Islam that is not true to the mainstream religion but reflects extremist ideology. So we reassured them we were not focused on religion, but on behavior.

Former Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said the administration of President George W. Bush deliberately reached out to America’s Muslims in a welcoming way.

Michael Chertoff says the administration of President George W. Bush, which he served as homeland security secretary, deliberately reached out to America’s Muslims.

But while some local Muslim communities early on worked to create their own programs, the federal government was slow to support them, according to counterrorism experts, as the effort suffered from a lack of focus and coordination.

“Going back to when we first had the conversation within government about whether or not we needed a domestic strategy to prevent violent extremism—that was in 2006—there was a decision made that we did not have the same level of challenge as Europe did,” says Quintan Wiktorowicz, a counterrorism expert who most recently served in government as the senior director for community partnerships at the National Security Council.

“Some of us were advocating at the time for a preventive approach that builds on the strengths of Muslim American communities in particular, but also all of our communities, recognizing we have a lot going for us when compared to Europe,” Wiktorowicz tells The Daily Signal. “But the decision back then was, well, we don’t have as big a problem as Europe, so let’s not do anything.”

The Obama administration recently accelerated its support for community-driven approaches to counter extremism.

In September, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the creation of the agency’s Office for Community Partnerships.

With an emphasis on community engagement, as its name suggests, the office has a different focus than a traditional investigative body like the FBI.

For the first time, Congress this year appropriated money—$10 million—for grants to states and local communities with programs for countering violent extremism, what government officials call CVE.

In addition, Johnson set up an interagency task force led by the Department of Homeland Security and including officials from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and other agencies to better organize how federal law enforcement assists counterterrorism efforts in U.S. cities.

George Selim, director of the new Office for Community Partnerships, also leads the interagency task force. Previously, he worked under Chertoff in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

For the past 15 years, Selim, 36, a first-generation American of Egyptian and Lebanese parents who was born in Cleveland and raised on football, has made it his life to build relationships with Muslim community leaders across the country.

Through his career and upbringing, which has included frequent trips to the Middle East aided by his ability to speak Arabic, Selim learned that building trust with Muslim communities is a better approach them surveilling them.

Selim, who is Catholic, also realizes the federal government does not have the credibility to force Muslims to cooperate in confronting extremism. George Selim leads a new Homeland Security office meant to engage Muslim communities across the U.S. George Selim leads a new office designed to engage Muslim communities across the U.S.

About 10 formal CVE programs exist across the U.S.—with federal, state, and local collaboration—including the one in Houston initiated by Tameez. Other cities with programs: Los Angeles, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Tampa, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio. Counties include Montgomery County, Md., Loudoun County, Va., and Cook County, Ill.

“The key theme on this effort is that it be the local community leaders like Mustafa [Tameez] and others that generate the ideas, produce the content, and implement these programs,” Selim tells The Daily Signal in an interview, adding:

It’s really federally driven and locally implemented, on a completely voluntary basis. The difference between what Europe has done and what the U.S. is doing is that this has been a bottom-up approach that has been a result of requests from communities. This is part and parcel of how we protect the homeland—engaging people within our homeland of all faiths, stripes, and backgrounds.

As a pioneer in this community-driven approach, Houston—where leaders boast of its being the nation’s most diverse city, with the largest Muslim population in the South and more than 100 mosques—is a showcase for how ordinary American Muslims and initiatives to counter extremism can coexist.

“In my state of mind, I am a kid from Queens,” says Tameez, who moved to New York City from Karachi, Pakistan, when he was 8 years old.

As Tameez made a life in Houston after moving there in 1994, he witnessed from afar as radicalized Muslims committed terrorism in the West. He began to appreciate a different approach to confronting the threat domestically.

“If we don’t want to turn into Europe, then we have to elevate our engagement with the Muslim-American community at every level,” Tameez says. “We have to make sure they are not marginalized and have good, strong ties to the broader community.”

Tameez came to recognize that Muslims face challenges just like any other Americans, and that facilitating a communitywide response to those issues would leave everyone better off, and serve as a bulwark against extremism.

For example, in their counterterrorism plan, Tameez and Khalid recommend that mosques offer free or low-cost mental health programs, including a proposal that imams obtain a basic counseling certificate.

They also encourage Muslims to promote interfaith dialogue with other religions, and religious leaders to teach Muslim youth how to talk about their faith, to “prevent misperceptions.”

Many of the initiatives already existed, but spelling them out in one place was supposed to accelerate how they interact with each other.

When Tameez and Khalid created the plan, they had buy-in from local law enforcement.

The Harris County sheriff at the time, Adrian Garcia, partnered with Tameez in pursuing the idea of completing a community counterterrorism plan.

With Tameez’ help, Garcia and the Sheriff’s Office launched an initiative called the incident response forum, where local law enforcement, community leaders, and a representative from the FBI would come together after a terrorist attack anywhere in the world and share information.

Garcia was known to keep fast during Ramadan as a signal of solidarity with Muslims, and was a frequent visitor to the city’s mosques.

“Once you are engaging the Muslim community in the same way you would approach any other segment of the community, you create believers that you do care about me as a citizen in the community and respect me as a Muslim,” Garcia tells The Daily Signal. “Then you create much more open minds, and the relationships are much stronger.”

But community-driven counterterrorism plans are also fragile and dependent on individual leaders, some of whom are elected or appointed and thus come and go.

Harris County’s current sheriff, Ron Hickman, appointed last year, has not made counterrorism a priority, according to Tameez, and isn’t actively following the plan. The incident response forums started under Garcia do not happen anymore, he says.

Hickman did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.

Tameez says he is engaging Houston’s new mayor, Sylvester Turner, elected this year, and the Houston Police Department, which has an interim chief, about how they can work together to implement the plan.

Yet despite the best efforts of Selim at Homeland Security, who Tameez says he knows and respects, Tameez believes the federal government needs to commit more to community-driven counterterrorism efforts nationwide.

“It shouldn’t be that I know everybody’s name doing CVE,” Tameez says, explaining:

It’s such a small world for such a great need. The government is set up to kill the terrorists where they are. But long term, that’s not how we stop this thing. What do we do when ISIS’s message attracts non-Muslims? Because this is where it’s headed. There are more mentally ill people than there are Muslims in the U.S.

Another Model

Hedieh Mirahmadi is the author of a similar community-led program to counter extremism in Maryland’s Montgomery County—the first of its kind to receive federal funding.

“Homeland security models up to now have been, ‘See something. Say something. Call the police,’” Mirahmadi tells The Daily Signal. “Our idea is, ‘See something. Say something. Call a therapist or call a counselor.’ You are intervening not when someone is in the middle of committing a felony, but way before that point—in the precriminal space, before that person turns to violence.”

Mirahmadi, a lawyer in her mid-40s who has worked in counterterrorism for more than 20 years, devised her plan after 10 years traveling to Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia to observe other programs to engage Muslim communities. She says:

Some of the most important things we found is, No. 1, the police shouldn’t lead the conversation all the time; they should be equal, but trusted, partners. No. 2, this shouldn’t be about just Muslims. That was creating all types of stereotypes and stigmatism. No. 3, it needs to be about something other than terrorism. And No. 4, you need to apply metrics, so we can evaluate what we are doing.

The “Montgomery County model,” as Mirahmadi’s plan is known, has operated for three years under a partnership her nonprofit, the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE), has with the Montgomery County Police Department and the county government’s Faith Community Working Group.
Hedieh Mirahmadi is the author of a countering violent extremism program in Maryland’s Montgomery County that is the first of its kind to receive federal funding. (Photo courtesy of Hedieh Mirahmadi)

Hedieh Mirahmadi created a program to counter violent extremism for Maryland’s Montgomery County that is the first of its kind to receive federal funding. The Department of Justice recently provided a grant of about $500,000 to Mirahmadi and Montgomery County to help implement its program.

The model encourages early intervention by educating faith leaders, school resource officers, teachers, sports coaches, social service providers, law enforcement officials, and parents on how to recognize the early signs of extremism.

It asks them to refer a person who could be at risk for radicalization to WORDE, which does a clinical assessment to determine that person’s mental health, support structure, and other risk factors.

The Montgomery County model is meant to be preventative, so those receiving treatment have not demonstrated an imminent threat—or capability—to do harm.

“You try to get them on the path of integration and self-sufficiency, and then you discharge them,” says Mirahmadi, who grew up in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Those who are clearly radicalized and dangerous would be reported to the FBI, per statutory protocol.

But those who get treatment through WORDE do so voluntarily, and many of those seeking help are suffering from issues unrelated to extremism.

For example, Mirahmadi says her program sometimes treats refugees who are struggling to adjust to American culture as well as teens who feel disenfranchised and disconnected with society. She would not say how many have gone through the program, citing confidentiality.

“It’s important not to describe this as deradicalization,” Mirahmadi says, explaining:

We are treating people facing more holistic issues, such as mild mental illness, sociological challenges related to assimilation, and economic challenges for people feeling a sense of relative deprivation because they can’t get things they think they should have. Like, ‘I can’t get a job because I’m Muslim, or I can’t earn a living for my family because I am being discriminated against.’

Although law enforcement is used to being on the front lines, Lt. Michael Ward of the Montgomery County Police Department says the police force recognizes that a third-party community organization like WORDE may be better suited to handle challenges facing Muslims and other minority groups.

“Our model is to use this agency [WORDE] as a third-party intermediary, which benefits law enforcement by creating a trusting relationship with a community we didn’t have much of a relationship with,” Ward tells The Daily Signal. “As law enforcement, I would always want to know first, but for people torn between notifying the FBI and not notifying anybody, it’s helpful to have a nonthreatening middle ground.”

And according to one former agent, the FBI is beginning to realize its limitations and learning to embrace the intervention approach.

“CVE will die if we don’t do two things,” says Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, who was the first-ever Muslim FBI agent and retired last year after a career focused on community engagement in Dallas.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Abdel-Hafiz, 57, outlined two key elements in countering violent extremism, or CVE:

One is that we have to have continuity. You can’t start something and forget about it. Then the community will know we are not serious or the previous push for CVE was to flush out someone in the community so we can arrest them and they will not trust us again.

The second part of this is to get a commitment from DOJ [the Department of Justice] that if someone comes to us and says, ‘I think my son is thinking about becoming radicalized but hasn’t done it yet,’ that person’s son won’t be thrown in jail. No one in the FBI ever got a promotion because they were great at CVE. The FBI is an enforcement investigative agency, not an engagement and outreach unit. But it’s an important concept.

Community leaders such as Tameez, Khalid, and Mirahmadi worry the federal government is not moving fast enough to support local counterterrorism programs.

“I think our inertia in developing domestic CVE programs has scared the American public,” Mirahmadi says, adding:

The American people are angrier and more scared than after 9/11, and people have a right to be afraid. So it’s important for Muslims to let people know the real concrete way—it’s not just speaking up; people are condemning terrorism every week—at this point we should be past that, but intimately involved in the solution.

Houston community leader Wardah Khalid says her American pride drives her to confront violent extremism. Wardah Khalid says her American pride drives her to confront violent extremism.

The Obama administration, for its part, recognizes the need to assist local jurisdictions in developing a counternarrative to extremism.

Johnson, the president’s homeland security secretary, is asking Congress to allow him to redirect funds in the 2016 budget to offer more than the $10 million in grant money already programmed for community-led counterterrorism programs.

“If people are saying Muslims are not cooperating, and should do more, well, what should we do?” Tameez says. “Tell us. If people came out and said here’s the three-point plan, here’s what the Muslim community should do, I think people would do it. That’s the challenge after all this time. We as the community are still figuring it out on our own.”

If the federal government gets too involved, though, it risks backlash from Muslims who say they would feel like they are being used to fight terrorism.

But other Muslim leaders say programs to counter violent extremism should more directly address the issue of radical Islamist terrorism, and deliberately be framed in that way.

“There’s no doubt cooperation and programs like this that pick up on warning signs when someone is becoming radicalized are helpful and necessary, and I wouldn’t demean the effort,” says M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who argues his fellow Muslims have a “responsibility to root out radicalization.”

“But from a counterterrorism perspective, it really needs to be called CVI: Countering Violent Islamism,” Jasser tells The Daily Signal. “You cannot have an effective program against terrorism unless you directly counter the bigger issue, which is political Islam—the ideology that fuels radical Islamists.”

Houston’s Tameez and Khalid, however, view their identities as American Muslims in a more nuanced way.

Khalid is a young woman of Pakistani descent. She says she lived a “very normal” upbringing in Spring, a town near Houston, with dreams of working in government.

As she went through public school, students were “oblivious” to religion. She had Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, and other Christian friends, and their differences didn’t matter. But when she graduated college in 2009, she recalls, she began to sense “Islamophobia,” and started a personal blog called “Young American Muslim.”

“The thing I want to emphasize is, Muslims don’t have a religious obligation to counter terrorism,” Khalid says:

“I don’t do CVE work because I feel obligated as a Muslim to do it. I do it because I feel obligated as an American too—because I am concerned about keeping my community safe. That’s why it’s important to approach this from the community perspective.”

Hopefully, similar programs will blossom all over the U.S.

Don’t You See? He’s a Trojan Horse

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

If anyone who reads my blog had any question about my post entitled “A Dark Political Future” on March 28, please it read again and then this post. Without a question, Donald Trump is the Democrats’ Trojan horse. How else does one rationally explained what has happened to Trump during this past week. No one, unless totally psychotic, would have said the following, which I will paraphrase:
1. In an interview with Chris Matthews, Trump was asked that if abortion were made illegal, and women had to undergo “illegal” abortions, who would be liable and who should be punished. Trump responded that the women should be punished!!! It’s certain that he’s crazy! No one, even the most staunch pro-lifer would indicate that. And he’s not psychotic he’s doing this on purpose. How better to alienate scores of women voters than to blame them for having the abortion and that they should be punished? Of course his handlers must have had an epileptic fit and got him on the trail to walk back his stupid statement. So now, he is blaming the physicians who did the abortion that they should be punished. Too late.Women are, understandably, fuming with many of them likely flocking into the Hillary Clinton camp.

2.Trump, when asked, about NATO, he indicated that the United States should get out of NATO! That the Europeans should pay for their own defense. How about that? Is there a better way to see Europe implode and the United States be more threatened? It just indicates that he knows little about foreign affairs except that we pay too much for it. Not a good prospect for the presidency.

3. When asked, Trump thinks that Japan and South Korea should develop their own nuclear weapons (since China and North Korea have theirs) and that the United States should stop protecting them with our nuclear umbrella. How’s a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula sound to you? With a dope like this, perhaps you might change your mind about voting for him.

4. Trump continues to use inflamatory language to excoriate Cruz, Cruz’s wife, and Kasick. Does a person seeking the presidency of the United States respond in such a way? Of course not. It is clear that Trump does not want to become president but only to sabotage the GOP.

5. Trump continues to soundly support the head of his campaign staff, Mr. Lewandowski, who isalleged to have committed battery against a female reporter. And on film, no less. Hey! Let’s enrage more women!

Heap upon these latest follies with his bungled efforts to denounce the KKK or his John McCain insults or his Megyn Kelly insults or his failure to even know what the nuclear triad is (a rock group perhaps), or his threats that there will be riots if he is not the nominee.These all, I think, alienate some who now support him, women, Republicans who support the other candidates and now there is a poll indicating that he is negatively viewed by over 60% of likely voters. Well, nominate him, he’ll lose, and Hillary will become president. Job well done, Donald.

What more does anyone really need to convince him/her that Trump is a “stalking horse,” a “Trojan Horse,” destroying the Republican party and ensuring a weak, possibly indicted Hillary Clinton’s victory. I wonder what she and the Democrats promised him for him to do this?

To save us: 1) Let’s find some good investigative reporters who can obtain the evidence that Trump is indeed a Democrat “plant.” 2) Republicans should come together and support Ted Cruz and give up the animosity directed toward him. He’s a 1000% better candidate than Trump and a real conservative. He’d be a good president. 3) If not Cruz, who? Not Kasick who is sort of a RINO. Rather, go into an open convention, nominate Paul Ryan, and pull out all the Republican national committee and super- pack resources, and more; try to reverse some of the Trump damage; and do whatever it takes to get Ryan elected!

William S. Frankl, MD, All Rights Reserved