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Muslim leaders speak out

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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In plainest terms, yes, they've hijacked Islam. But they don't speak for Islam. I pity them.

A fear for many Americans, and I have read, of many American Muslims, was realized when it was discovered that Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, or the Tsarnaev brothers of the Boston Marathon bombing, had been self-radicalized. What do you believe compels an American born or American-raised Muslim to radicalize? How often is that happening?

Sometimes it's what they watch. I know for a fact these people who were radicalized were not consistently going to mosques. They were people who decided to just live their own lives.

You would see things in common with these people. One is that they had to go through certain challenges. Two, none of them knew much about the religion to begin with. You could see by their appearances, or they way they acted, the way they would speak. (They were not becoming more religious) – not at all. They were people who had access to certain websites. The common factor was they were not going to mosques, where they could listen to a religious leader who could empower them, or maybe address their challenges, or if they came up with these radical ideas, let's address them as community members. More lost souls.

OSMAN: This is something that we have been trying to tackle for some time. Our youth association came out with a seminar symposium called Stop the CrISIS. We talk specifically about youth radicalization and how youths become radicalized. It doesn't have to do with religion; it has to do with being disenfranchised. Not being satisfied with the way one may see it.

Was Timothy McVeigh tortured as a young kid? Was he abused? Was he part of a gang? They say you step on a cat's tail, and you wonder why he's shrieking. Did he have a cat's tail? I have no idea. We don't know what goes through the mind set of a crazy individual. That's why it's important for Muslims to properly teach their youth what the religion teaches. And be nurturing. Be loving to those youth. To your children. Here at the mosque, we're one big family. I'm in charge of these children just as much as anyone else might be. We have an active youth group. We try to show our youth there is more than just video games and television. It's giving back to mankind. It's doing what you can to your fellow human beings.

Do many American Muslims identify with the desire to reject westernization and want to go back to the Middle East, or to strike back utilizing terrorism against western targets and people, or is it an isolated segment?

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