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Paranoiamerica?

Reader comment on item: Catching Some Sleepers

Submitted by Rebecca Moulds (United States), Nov 3, 2008 at 09:58

Is there an intelligent and logical way to detect sleeper cells? Do they meet in private homes or mosques? If there is a large amount of cars outside a Muslim's residence, does that mean that there is a sleeper cell meeting in progress?

It seems to be almost impossible to find these cells, given the fact that we cannot assume that every Muslim we see is involved in terrorist operations just because he or she is a Muslim. Racial profiling, as well as being politically incorrect, won't work either as there are non-Middle Eastern terrorists. A Muslim woman can be easily spotted if she is wearing a hijab, but in this country Muslim men don't always sport the tell-tale full bushy beard.

We cannot fall victim to mass paranoia as a nation, just because most terrorists of late happen to be Middle Eastern Muslims. If members of sleeper cells are assimilating more into our society, then they will be much more difficult to detect. While living in Cairo, it was possible to detect which Egyptians were more devout Muslims just by physical appearance or the way they dressed, but does radical faith in Islam always lead to terrorism?

On the other hand, a moderate Muslim would most likely not wear an abaya or hijab. Ayman al-Zawahiri was a doctor in Ma'adi, the pleasant suburb that I lived in for ten years. He probably did not have a beard at the time he was practicing medicine and wore Western clothes, but grew a beard later and started wearing the abaya to show support to the radical cause. The would-be terrorist has learned to assimilate, both in dress and community activities, therefore blending in with the majority of the population he or she has chosen to live with.

If there is another terrorist attack on our country and it is certain that radical Islamists have been the perpetrators of it, then the relaxed attitude and acceptance toward Muslims in recent years will be replaced with suspicion and paranoia on a much larger scale than immediately following September 11th, 2001. Islam will have brought this upon itself because the moderates cannot seem to speak out against the radicals in its midst.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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