U.S. Muslim Groups Walk Fine Line In Efforts to Confront Extremism

April 19, 2010

Author: Raja Abdulrahim

Source: Los Angeles Times


For the last decade, U.S. Muslim organizations have faced criticism that they don't do enough to condemn -- or prevent -- extremism and terrorism.

But now that many of the groups are speaking publicly about the radicalization of Muslim youths and even developing scared-straight-type programs to steer young people away from extremism, they are being criticized in their own community for saying too much. 

Critics contend that organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Muslim American Society are pandering to outsiders who equate Muslims with extremism.

"Muslims don't really mind if Fox News says something crazy, because you don't have as much an affiliation with Fox News," said Suhail Dar, president of the national Muslim Students Association. "But if it's someone you know, or you think they know you . . . it definitely hits closer because you wouldn't expect it."