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A good step forward

Reader comment on item: Identifying Islamists through Interrogations

Submitted by WeMustResist (Australia), Jan 13, 2016 at 21:40

This is progress. It is useful and important. We must identify an enemy if we want to defeat that enemy. Finding the difference between Muslim jihadists and Muslim non-jihadists is crucial. We cannot wage war against all Muslims. We must focus on a narrow target if we want success. Even if Dr Pipes idea of polygraph tests does not become public policy we should develop the idea so that it could become public policy. It would help show the public two things: (a) Many Muslims do not have criminal thoughts and (b) This is what the criminal mind-set of the jihadis looks like. But the devil is in the detail. I imagine the experts on polygraph tests would want to improve on Dr Pipes idea. I also think it is easy to find several hundred questions for the test.

Those questions would have three things in common. (1) They would be sourced from Reliance of the Traveler (2) they would find out if the suspect is in emotional conflict with domestic criminal law (3) they would be limited to serious political or criminal issues, not matters of religious observance without serious political implications. For example questions about how to pray or how to eat or how to wash would not be needed. But a question such as "In your opinion should the law allow a man to marry a girl who is younger than seven years old?" is useful. It would not directly reveal whether the suspect is a jihadi, but it would reveal the degree of sympathy with criminality and Sharia. A jihadi is simply someone who is strongly committed to both crimes and Sharia. (At least for our purposes - the Muslims would define a jihadi differently). So indirectly the question would show if the suspect was more likely or less likely to become a jihadi, compared to other Muslims.

A list of good quality questions, just by itself and without it being part of any investigation, would lift the level of public debate. Many non-Muslims would be surprised by the wide extent of contradiction between Sharia and domestic criminal law, but they would also be relieved at how many Muslims secretly reject Sharia. At least they would today, when Muslims make up a small fraction of the people. In future, if Muslims become more numerous, they will become radicalized to a greater degree than their population growth, so fewer of them will reject Sharia. There are only two periods we can run Dr Pipes polygraph test: Before granting a visa and before naturalization. After the Muslims are citizens it is too late. They can raise all their children to be jihadis and all we can do is spend millions on investigations after the crime.

However the "in depth research and intensive interviews" are so expensive that they make Trump's 100% exclusion look sensible. If the enemy is so well hidden that it takes a fortune to uncover him then its cheaper to simply stop all of the wider group, If his proposal had been law in January 2000 then the Al Queada September 11 2001 attacks would not have happened. Likewise if Dr Pipes polygraph test had been in place they would not have happened.

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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