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"Cheat Codes"

Reader comment on item: Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting
in response to reader comment: religious tests vs ideological test

Submitted by Mark Hummel (United States), Jan 31, 2017 at 21:06

This pattern of questioning seems defeatable almost by design. On its face, these questions seem perfectly suited to establishing the nature of the applicant's belief structure, but as with any test, there are presumably right answers, and those taking it presumably want to answer "correctly" in keeping with their objectives of immigrating.

The difficulty lies in making sure that those who 'passed' the test (in whatever form it takes) cannot deliver a heuristic or formula for answering "correctly" to terrorist networks, or potential immigrant populations more widely. The time-separated, multiple questionnaire method might help, but only if carefully designed. Perhaps additional psychological or personality test formats unrelated to Islam may help cross-filter for deception also.

Presumably intelligent Islamists will easily be able to defeat even the most carefully designed questionnaire, as one can 'simulate' the belief structure of a law abiding moderate religious westerner with relative ease by simply erasing all coercive or radical Islamic precepts from their answers.

My sense is that in-person Arabic or native-language interviews with former Islamists will be an essential tool to reduce possible false-negatives.

The difficult truth is that many bedrock precepts of Islam by their very nature are completely antithetical to western secular democracy, and given the connection between beliefs and actions, the idea of merely 'holding' those beliefs inertly seems unlikely unless the Muslim self-describes as 'non-observant', or non-religious. As we have seen across Europe, the risk in bringing significant numbers of practicing Muslims into the U.S. is altering our secular society in regressive ways, leaving aside the risk of terrorism altogether.

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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