Muslim leaders look inward after arrests…
The adults thought they’d done all they could. They had condemned extremist ideology, provided ski trips and scout meetings, and encouraged young people to speak openly about how to integrate their religion, Islam, with the secular world.
But since five college-age Virginia men were arrested in Pakistan earlier this month after allegedly being recruited over the Internet to join al-Qaeda, many Washington area Muslims are questioning whether mere condemnation is enough.
Until now, many Muslim leaders have focused on what they saw as external threats to young people, such as Islamophobia or the temptations of modern secular life. Now they say it is time to look inward, to provide a counterweight to those who misinterpret Koranic verses to promote violence — and to learn what rhetoric and methods appeal to young people.
Radicals “seem to understand our youth better than we do,” said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.