Homeland Security Committee Hearing Examines Islamic Radicalism
Inside United States
(U.S. Sen. Lieberman) — The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs Committee, led by Chairman
Joe Lieberman, ID-Connecticut.,
and Ranking Member
R-Maine, continued its investigation into the threat of Islamic
radicalization inside the United States and the initiatives
the U.S. government is taking
to identify and combat homegrown terrorism.
and Collins cited the terrorist attacks in Europe as a reason
to be vigilant about radicalization and the development of
terrorist cells inside the United States. In both the London
and Madrid transit and rail bombings, the attacks were carried
out by citizens or long-time residents of the UK and Spain,
respectively. The witnesses, including Department of Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, testified that, while "homegrown
terrorism" presents a real and serious challenge, the
U.S. is fortunate that radicalization seems to have less appeal
here than in other parts of the world.
domestic threat to our safety will require a strong, comprehensive,
and creative strategy of homeland security," Lieberman
said. "Countering ‘homegrown’ radicalization must be one
of the Department of Homeland Security’s top priorities. This
will be an important, complex, and at times, difficult conversation.
But we must have this conversation and then act sensibly on
it if we are to preserve our security and our freedom."
Collins said: "For
the past five years, the federal government has attempted to
prevent terrorists from entering our country from abroad. Our
homeland security efforts have made it increasingly difficult
for foreign terrorist to infiltrate and operate in the United
States. Increased border security and screening of overseas
airline passengers, while critical to help keep out foreign
terrorists, do not, however, protect us from ‘homegrown’ terrorists.
The rise of domestic terrorist cells inspired by but not directly
linked to Al Qaeda is an emerging threat to our nation’s security.
We must combine vital and vigorous counter-measures against
terrorism with the kind of engagement that can help deprive
terrorists of their tools of fear and hatred."
follows a report from Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland
Security Advisory Council about the future of terrorism and
its impact on the United States. According to Lieberman, the
report called radical Islam "the most significant terrorist
threat to the homeland today, said that it is spreading, and
predicted that the number and magnitude of attacks on the United
States will increase."
examined the Department’s work in assessing and confronting
this threat and in developing ways to prevent radical beliefs
from crossing the line into violent acts of terrorism. Most
recently, DHS launched an initiative to reach out to state
and local fusion centers to address radicalization. Intelligence
and law enforcement personnel meet at these centers to discuss
and analyze what is taking place in their communities. The
Committee also probed DHS’s efforts to promote civic participation
among Muslim communities to prevent feelings of isolation and
society has welcomed Muslims, just as it has embraced generations
of immigrants of other ethnicities before," Lieberman
said. "There appears to be a greater level of assimilation
of Muslins into American society than in many other countries."
at the hearing in addition to Secretary Chertoff were Assistant
Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Charlie Allen, and
Daniel Sutherland, head of DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and
hearing was held in September 2006 on Islamic radicalization
in U.S. prisons. The Committee plans to continue its examination
of homegrown Islamic radicalization in hearings scheduled throughout