tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera December 4, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
her, to the last day, when she went, she was just. >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, the attack in san bernardino. what external forces could have driven two people to amass an armory of weapons and open fire on dozens of people? the grim story of the massacre in san bernardino, california now includes i.s.i.l. news reports say investigators believe the woman suspect, tashfeen malik, plenld pledged
allegiance to abd abd. abu bakr al-baghdadi. today a news agency that supports i.s.i.l. says i.s.i.l.'s followers carried out the attack. meanwhile, fbi said it is now investigating the attack as an act of terrorism. that brings me to some facts of terrorism in america. make of them as you will, there have been 26 deadly terror attacks on u.s. soil since 9/11. according to those to the left leaning america foundation, we don't know yet for certain whether san bernardino will become the 8th. there are two issues at play here though, as we learn more about syed frook and hi farook . was their act political in nature, stood in for larger group which they despised?
whether the couple went through some process that resulted in their heinous actions and whether that process can be identified and destroyed? despite the headlines in newspapers and banners you'll see on tv this is complicated. part of what makes it complicate said the process that i'm talking about. radicalization. it's not clearly understood and some people who have studied the issue don't like the term civility. that includes faisa patel, brennan center for justice, also a contributor for al jazeera. i asked faisa why she is so troubled by the term radicalization. >> i don't think radical or radicalization is helpful to understand the term. when you hear radicalization it suggests there's a five step program that an individual goes there that makes them become a terrorist. but when you look at the
empirical evidence that is not the case. the government itself indicates that there's no one route to becoming a terrorist, not one way that everyone follows but complex throts to terrorism. i just don't see that using radicalization simplifies it in a way but doesn't really explain anything. the second reason i have trouble with radicalization is when you look at some of the radicalization models that were put forward in the mid 2000s by the nypd and the fbi, they suggest there is a conveyor belt for radicalization. you wear a beard stop smoking and drinking -- >> all of which don't necessarily lead to violence. >> precisely. we have the ability to speak out in longer terminology.
something happens to people and sometimes it's because of islam and sometimes it's because of misogyny, sometimes it's extremism from a white supremist perspective. it does appear that that is a legitimate fear, whatever name you want to give that process. >> well so i think you have to locate the current kind of terrorism that we're dealing with within the sort of spectrum of political violence. political violence has been with us for centuries, right? and if you look at political violence and there's been studies down of the ira, the weather underground, the red brigade, all these groups from the 70s and 80s that were so fearsome right? what you find is there's a complex of factors that leads a particular individual to become violent, right? so one of factor may be ideology
or political belief, but there are also personal factors and your individual situation. and so all of these come together. >> almost always they combine. >> and they combine, right? so the difficulty is when you try pick out one strand right and say ah-ha, this is the strand that connects all of throws, you focus only on this and forget all of the others. most importantly when you look at al qaeda inspired vinyl violr i.s.i.l. inspired violence, you stop talking about political issues that are driving a lot of these movements as we know. and you really do ourselves a disservice because we're not actually confronting the full scope of the problem. >> but let's distinguish between some of the groups you named, we can include the black panthers, or things like that, people who were convicted of or charged with or being members of that
cause, what we are seeing here in the case of home grown terrorism in some cases you probably don't like the word lone wolf, but people creating their own interpretations of something and carrying them out. we don't know if that was the case in san bernardino, but the concern about radicalization, some of it is formal. i think the real fear is when it's inforl. informal. what we're worried about is it happens in these haphazard ways, that people could be amongst us. >> we face a range in the united states, we face a range from gun violence, the statistics if you compare gun violence to terrorism are just horrific right? >> let's examine thos that for a second. you describe the varied process by which somebody becomes violencviolent or a killer.
if some of these apply to all of these, gun violence, it is the same thing, someone who has become disenchanted with their life, maybe there's a mental illness, something lacking that they latch onto, again we see it's a hatred of women, a hatred of minorities, sometimes you don't know. >> sometimes you don't know. >> right. >> the thing i say is you've got keep threat in perspective, the range of threats we face as a society and you've got to be able to say these are the people who have carried out the most attacks or these types of people. and these are the people who have the most resources and these are the people who are the most committed. and you have got is weigh all of those factors rar rather than politicizing the debate. the response depends on whether it's labeled terrorism or not. i think when you come back to the issue of the sort of home grown terrorism, the lone wolf
terrorism one of the things you find if you look at the cases that have been brought in the last few years, is that something like 75 to 79% of those are sting operations, carried out by law enforcement. and sting operation he are always a little bit difficult to evaluate. it's always difficult to know you know was this person actually going to to do something or was this a loser mouthing off. so you have to put that into perspective. you can't treat that category of cases as being if operational connections to al qaeda and were actually plotting a conspiracy to actually blow up real things. >> here is the one real benefit, if i'm going to argue politicizing it a little bit, there are clear examples of a young man comes here, goes to a mosque that is known for putting people through a religious
questionnairconveyor belt, assoh the radicalization of people specifically. >> really? >> there were mosques in brooklyn who were responsible creating people who were involved in the world trade center first bombings. if you don't politicize it then you can't say maybe there is a place where we could focus our attentions. >> i think if you look at religious institutions just as you look at any other organization, you should focus your attention if you have some evidence or suspicion of illegal activity. if you think that the imam in a particular mosque is sending money in a designated terrorist group, i have no trouble you going in there and targeting that imam. what has been happening is you've had years-long investigations of mosques particularly in the new york area that have extended seven, eight, nine years where there's never been any charges brought and the investigation is not of
any particular individuals but of the whole mosque. that means everybody who goes there is subject to investigation and their license plates are collected and their nationalities and et cetera, et cetera. that seems to me to be too broad a response. >> agreed agreed. we do know that in some mosque $in americsin america and some u know we've had sting operations -- >> we know this from previous years. i have not heard or seen of any moving in the united states, in at least the last decade, where you have any imam calling for violence. they wouldn't dare. >> understood. but accepting the fact that it did happen, i don't know it's fair to say if we're not efficient at gathering this kind of information the way we should be, that we go to the point that we don't. isn't it useful that there is some process, isn't it worth
looking into whether or not there are people in an organized fashiofashion, insighting peoplo violence? it doesn't have to be religious violence but if we can sense it is a trend shouldn't we be going after it? >> there are certain things baked into your question, we know about i.s.i.s. social media presence, we know about their propaganda and we had the same concerns about al qaeda five years ago. >> that's correct. >> it's not exactly a new story. we know there are forces outside is united states that are trying to insight muslims in the united states to commit acts of violence. how ineffective have these people been? the number of cases as you just pointed out is actually very, very small, right? that's one thing. once you get out of that realm and people are, i mean the fbi
and the police departments are obviously keeping tabs on the people who interact with these particular actors. but once you get out of that then if you are going into a community to look for something, that's a very different thing than going into a community because you have suspicion. and i think that's the key issue to keep in mind. >> coming up: fighting extremism. we'll try explore the attraction of a radical ideology. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
suspect in the case pledged her allegiance to i.s.i.l. before the rampage with her husband. daisy khan, is executive director of wise, peace building, equality for muslims around the world. daisy good to see you. you have really been part of that movement, people always say, why don't muslims say this isn't us, you have been doing it for a long time. >> since 9/11. >> media all around america have spoken to you. when they say there aren't muslims who come out and say we're muslims and this is bad, you do do that. that doesn't look like that has much effect. >> we are speaking out but we're not getting the coverage. in recent times i have seen that really the media is trying to understand the issue from a nuanced point of view, not just viewing it as an islamist
attack. there is a first in america, people are fearful and they really want too know. this recent since paris, i know muslims like myself who have been on the media quite a bit trying oexplain th to explain tt causecauses of what is going on. that is a big job. >> fundamentally does it change anything from the perspective of those committing these acts? i mean they don't really care whether you think they're muslims or not or whether you think that they're good or not, you know what i mean? are we having -- does it matter that we are having this discussion for those who are willing to have it but people are still committing crimes in the name of islam? >> well, the people that you're talking about, the people that are spearheading this, you know, i -- earlier you said that the earlier guest didn't like the term radicalization. >> right. >> whatever trerm yo term you ut
might be satisfactory for textbook or wikipedia, the term is they're terrorists, and they are using social media to recruit people to their cause and their recruitment is extremely sophisticated. it's almost like 16 steps of recruitment. and what i say on television is not going to impact that. >> right. >> but what i say on television may impact somebody a parent who may have a child who may be leaning in that direction who may be seeking a solution or answer, and also the general public needs to know this is not really islam the religion, these are people who are using islam or distorting the teachings of islam to forward their own political agenda. >> they had a symposium earlier this year to talk about whether you use the word radicalization or not, to prevent people from doing this or get involved or try oget in the way of it. does that sort of thing work?
have you seen it work? i'm talking about parents who have trouble talking to their kids about dating and drinking and sex and all of a sudden we're now expecting parents to be having a conversation with their children about whether or not they're becoming radicalized? >> first of all people have to understand that there are very sophisticated recruiters on the other side recruiting individuals. and the people they recruit is called the discontent. there can be eight steps of discontent. for several reasons, because you don't like the injustices that muslims feel all over the world. there are all these images that you see whether it's in syria or iraq. that's one discontent. somebody can pull you into their direction by saying, what are you doing about this? or you are shown images of bullying or alienation or the press showing you a certain way, that can be enough of a
discontent for somebody to trigger and say you know what i belong over there i don't belong here. >> and yet we live in a society that is really based on the freedom of speech and there's nothing a presidential candidate should say that could cause someone to move towards violence. >> we are living into a globalized world now, you don't want to give the terrorists a recruiting tool. which is exactly what is happening, something said against islam or against muslims, the recruiters use that, they put that on their social media and they run with it. what is needed now is a community-led initiative. and i'm working on an niive that is going to be launched in a couple of months which actually shows how the terrorists are using the ideology of islam or teaching of islam and distorting them and how they are recruiting people and how we can empower parents, community leaders to push back against that. that work can be done in conjunction with law enforcement. law enforcement needs us and we need them.
the ideal way to do this is to do in conjunction with one another but not as a way of sort of encroaching on the muslim community. really muslim community needs to be empowered to do its own work because they are the best people to create the interference. >> you think it can be done. daisy, thank you for being with us, the executive director of women's islamic initiative acknowledge that's wise. young men leaving their home towns to go to fight for syria and iraq. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
and that's what we're doing at xfinity. we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. ahead for you ali. >> right after "on target" at 9:30 eastern.
>> in the wake of the san bernardino attacks we are exploring radicalization tonight. rudy is a belgian journalist who has covered conflict in lebanon israel and syria. his new documentary my jihad airs this weekend. it explores how some young muslims are leaving to fight for i.s.i.l. how some of them are becoming radicalized and house muslim leaders are attempting to counter it. >> rudy joins me now, rudy good
to see you. i just had a long conversation with a woman who does not like the word radicalization because she says it oversimplifies a process for different people. you watched this process or you talked to people about many different young people. who had gone through this process. is there a similarity between them? >> the similarity or the one thing that combines all of them, the ones from europe who leave, is the void in their identity. so they have -- they seem to have a problem. but you don't have one exact profile. i try to profile them but you have maybe six big types of profiling. but the common thing is the lack of identity. they have all a father that left them or they feel expelled by school or they have a social problem. often a family problem. but then, at the end, this void is filled with radical islam. >> got it.
what are the differences and similarities how they then encounter islam. they didn't have a background of even particularly religious islam. >> true true. a lot of them are second or third generation. their parents are not that religious. so they are discovering their own religion as they feel it. then you have a lot of converts also who live, from christianity and then they go. as a social structure it is not only the guy from the you know from the suburbs or from the lower areas, no, they are sons of professors. you have a lot of kind of types who go. and suddenly they start radicalizing. and there are a few things that combines them. it is like they go to the internet. >> i was going to ask you is it social media, is it the internet? >> it is the first step. they meet friends they know. it is a lot of peer pressure. a small place near brussels where in aa certain moment in
one year's time half of the guys who played football outside on the little places they left. so half of them left for syria because they pressured each other. so you have this social pressure. sometimes, in one street, in every third house there is a son who left. >> how interesting. and in one case you spoke to a woman a mother salia, her son left in brussels and went off to fight and she said she had no idea this was happening. i've seen this over and over again in your documentary, other profiles, the mother, the brother, the sister, they have no idea this is happening. how is that possible? >> that is very strange. for me the difficult part is, the strange thing that we never discovered is that how does it come? you ski this hemorrhaging. you have to imagine in a small country like belgium, 500 jihadis left. in a a city like new york, 500 people leave in one year's two
year's time to go there. how is that possible? we have a problem because we don't deal with it. but who can tell us that? let's speak to the parents. it was very strange, until that time nobody spoke to the parents. they were ashamed they stayed inside the louse, they asked themselves the questions, how did we fail, where did it come that we didn't see this happening. >> what is the answer? what is the failing of parent, society, whomever? >> the answer is multiple, they feel not fitting in in school. or they feel for example in certain areas, they had problems with the police who were maybe religious and racial profiling and putting again too much pressure so you have all these things combined and then suddenly they become calm. the moment they rediscover their religion they become calm. they go in mayor room, they stay, they have no more trouble on the streets. this mother, she said when he became 18 years old, my son, he
said mom i am 18 years old, i have never brought police to our house. >> never had trouble with police. >> now i'm on a good track, a few months later he was gone. >> how interesting. in europe you don't have the same problem as much as we did in the united states with mass shootings but you did have a skin head problem and one could have said a lot of things that led these kids to radicalism is the same thing, the voids in their life, they felt outsider, and i'm trying to figure out what are the threads you see involved religiousness around radicalism? >> the feeling i got after charlie hebdo, or the man who was trying to kill cops and things like that, you had this jihad come home, this is difference with america, here you have the insight problem,
with us you have these kids who go to syria who radicalize before, who are real jihad, in their heads they think they're going on a real jihad, they go there and then they come back. for us, syria is nearby now so the world became with the internet with the traveling too much one. so this jihad from outside came back. religion is the binding factor for these kids. >> rudy, the film maker of my jihad. it airs on sunday on al jazeera at 10:00 eastern. that is our show, the news continues here on al jazeera america.
>> ali velshi on target. >> on "america tonight": who were they? investigators on the search for an explanation. and a few contacts the san bernardino killers had in the community, tell "america tonight" what they know. >> educated ignorant people who do those things. he was very educated. >> our investigation from san bernardino and where the trail may lead. and, million dollar blocks. >> black women are left to hold the fort down as we say. >>he