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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  March 23, 2016 12:30am-1:01am EDT

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♪ >> thanks for being us for this america's tonight special report, i'm joie chen. it's a calling card as a merciless enemy, and isil was willing to take the vicious strikes on innocent had victim victims.
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a photograph by security cameras showing suspects walking side by side, refocused concern on the possibility of more strikes. we begin our coverage with a look at the day's events from al jazeera's neave barker. >> the immediate shock after the attack . a haze of confusion and chaos. and the realization of what just happened. once again, the routine of people's lives, making every day journeys shattered, and escaping the danger inside.
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>> i'm so scared. i feel like it's the end of the world. >> i hear an explosion, and now the facility is going down. i just go under the sink. in the second explosion went, and everything is dark. [ baby crying ] >> across the city another attack in the malebeek met tree station. men, women and children abandoned carriage, escaping as quickly as they could. [ sirens ] the injured treated on the pavement. the army keeping guard. the shock felt everywhere. an urgent shut down of the public transport system was ordered in brussels, and the possibility of further attacks and immediate concern one rescue operation appealed for people to stay where they were. belgium's federal prosecutor has now confirm thad this is the image of three suspects.
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the authorities say they're behind the airport blast. the shockwaves of this apparently coordinated attacks have rippled across the continent. the injured have been taken to hospitals. the dead to mortuaries. now the grim task of identifying those killed begins. just after months after the attack in europe, another has been realized. neave barker, al jazeera, brussels airport. >> sheila mcvicar joins us. now they referred to the last attacks in france. >> yes. >> and the concern, of course, that these folks might be in some way related part of a broader ring. >> there is nothing that specifically links the people who carried out this attack. we still don't know theiritis to those who carried out their attacks in november. let's put it in this kind of context.
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the attacks came out of brussels. that's where they were planned. that's the real organizing base. we still don't know where the explosives were made. or who made them. but it's very likely that they were made somewhere in belgium. so if you look at the relationship between paris and brussels in the november attacks, and you see this again today, you see the arrest of abdeslam, who has been on the run since november, found just four days ago in brussels, you can see this is another group of people who clearly did not decide after that arrest four days ago to carry out this attack, they were in planning. they clearly had a plan. they had acquired the means to carry out the plan. whether this was the full magnitude of the plan or this was everything that they intended or the date we don't yet know, but what we do know is that there is some how some linkage. >> what kinds of things do investigators look for at this point?
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>> here's the problem . there was what they knew and what they didn't know before the attack in paris. they had dozens of e-mails, burner phones that what were used once, dumped. they do know that during that time of france, that people were on the phone constantly. they knew that there was a real coordinated base, and they knew that that base was in brussels. they're looking for something that is very well sophisticated. it's disciplined in terms of planning and communication. that was something that we had not seen before. what they're looking for now? they're looking for the explosive. is it the same as the explosive used in paris? that will tell them something else about the bomb maker.
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they have two bombs that did not explode. that will tell them something else about the bomb maker. but again, they're very much playing catch up. counter terrorism officials are behind the eightball. one of the reasons they're behind the eightball is the difficulty tracking these people. when i was in bearries in november, a counter terrorism individual said it could take 20 individuals in a 4-hou ---in a 24-hour period to track one individual. depending on the languages they were speaking and how many people were involved with them. in the case of france, 11,500 people who were supposed to be under state surveillance because they posed or are pleased to pose a security threat to the state. >> a needle in the hay shack. >> impossible. >> sheila mcvicar, thank you.
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next we consider the impact of the brussels attack closer to home. why american muslims are braced for a backlash again. >> al jazeera america - proud of telling your stories. >> i wanted to dance, and eventually i started leaving the gangs in the street alone. >> we're pushing the envelope with out science every day, we can save species. >> i'm walking you guys! >> all i wanted to see was her walk. it was amazing. >> these were emotions that i had been dreaming about for so long. >> getting to the heart of the matter. proud to tell your stories. al jazeera america.
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>> was it a political shot across the bough or political targeting? over hours after the brussels attacks the republican presidential candidate ted cruz called on police to control and secure muslim neighborhoods. that proposal brout sharp rebukes including from a fellow g.o.p. contender john kasich. still, outside of political forums america tonight's visited a community where tensio between muslims and non-muslims rose to the surface after another violent attack. >> one suspect down in black clothing. something happen so close to home. >> we have at least 20 victims.
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>> after the shock it was more towards get ready for the backlash now. coming just weeks,he san bernardino rampage was carried out by two muslims apparentl sympathetic to the islamic state. it created a fear of islam not seen since 9/11. >> it was surprising to see it here. was i surprised at those kinds of incidents? no. >> one of the leaders of the red land red party patriots. they say there are reasons to fear islam in america. >> i think the fear comes from 9/11, it comes from san bernardino. it comes from down in texas where you know if you're exercising your first amendment rights and criticize islam or mohammed, some muslim may show up and try to kill you. >> he said that many also feel that the beliefs of islam are
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incompatible to the islam way of life. >> the concern of jihad, yes, that life is going to sub plant the american freedom and democracy. >> i'm a christian, and i believe that at the end of the day it is a fertile battle. it's a group of just concerned citizens, sharia law for dummies in a nutshell, jihad, to inform the implication slowly creeping into place here in america. >> suspicion of islam is widespread and growing. back in san bernardino those suspicious muslims cite poll
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numbers. >> 25% believe violence is justified against a jihad. many believe that it should not be permitted. >> okay. it's just funny. i don't know where they get this information from. i think there is a whole movement out there to specifically against islam. and they're doing a very good job of spreading these facts that are not true. >> born and raised in san bernardino. she said that the killings hit the muslim community just as hard as everyone else. >> it was a shock. we're a small, tight-knit community.
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we know our neighbors. we know one another. for this to happen here, it really shook us to our core. i feel so hurt first of all that something like this had to happen to my city. second of all, i feel the responsibility is put on me when i really don't want it, but it's there. >> yet, she said that she does understand where the fear comes from. >> if i wasn't muslim, and if i was watching the news, and i was reading all the newspapers, i would be afraid of muslims, too. i would be afraid because i wouldn't know better. >> social surveys indicate that 43% of americans harbor some kind of prejudice against muslims. >> brian levin teaches about extremism at cal state university in san bernardino. >> people are now empowered not by information, but by emotion. and that fear is driving
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prejudicial attitudes to targe target muslim americans here in the united states. >> but he said there is another factor flaming the fear. >> there is social media that capitalizes on identifying muslims as a whole as a threat as opposed to extremists in places where there has been a collapse of civil governance. >> no more. jihadist mosques. >> there is a connection of islamphobes who try to take discrete examples of muslim extremism and extrapolate it to all muslims in the world and say well, any real muslim is going to buy into this because this is what their faith is. >> and fear, inc. the center of american progress identified a small number of muslim activists that are pushing an extreme view
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of islam and spending tens of thousands of dollars to exaggerate the threat of islamic domination and the qur'an. >> this message, it says, is then pushed out through a fast network of media and grassroots organizations. >> okay, the teachings of islam does not say that it has to kill. >> it says to kill the infidels wherever you find them. >> ma'am, i'll lend you my qur'an. >> the leader of the counter jihad coalition the group that this woman is volunteering forgets its support from act america. >> if there is a danger of sharia law. you it's one of the largest anti-islamic groups in the reports. this extreme view of islam is being echoed at the highest levels of american politics. >> calling for a temporary
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shutdown of muslims entering the united states until we can figure out what is going on. >> when trump called for the ban he cited an internet survey from the center of security policy. >> seemingly endless apologies are offered by america's leaders. >> calling it the leading misinformation experts against jihad. >> last thursday, gafney was named by presidential candidate. ted cruz to his national security teams. >> when we make those kinds of broad-brush statements to the mainstream it sets stereotypes that label particular groups of people as legitimate targets of fear, mistrust, and aggression. >> every time trump says something we get more heat, we get more stares. people get more harassed.
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>> some protesters are even taking up arms to confront islam. a religion they say is violent and growing. >> what are you hoping to accomplish with this rally? >> five terrorists have come to this mosque in particular. it's about presenting facts. they want to kill infidels. this is what they're pushing. they're following the book as it's written. >> how big of a threat do you think islam is in america? >> huge, huge threat. it is proving that it cannot coexist anywhere in the world. >> the fear could already be lead to go violence. >> they want to kill all of us. >> in the month following the paris attacks we saw a near tripling of suspected anti-muslim hate times in the united states. in the week following the san bernardino attack, we saw almost as many hate crimes in that one week that we usually see in one collar month. >> i know that all delusions at
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some point are based in some semblance of reality. >> dr. faize part of a muslim-run group that has raised money for the families killed in san bernardino. >> we need to make a point to say that crazy extremism is just that, it's very isolated phenomenon. and that the main treatment cultural normatives is quite the opt of that. >> he said there is a small group. often disillusioned muslim youth who are susceptible to radical indication. >> a lot of this is taken off side and on the internet. what the mosques can do is bring those young people into the fold. organized reasonable provides a strong and good social platform for community building. >> he said that muslims can do a
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better job of keeping fear mongers from defining their religion. >> as it enhances interaction. instead of being in an isolated bubble, to do more community outreach. [singing] >> the islamic center of riverside is taking that message to heart. it's one of the mosques attended by the shooter sayed farouk. >> we said that the muslim community needs to start stepping up. and so the response of the islamic center in response is to please come talk to us, visit us, and ask us those questions. and we'll be able to answer them and give you the truth. >> we trust to see the good in us, not to let the media define us.
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i'm fear the fear will decrease as they talk to us, get to knows us and they find out we're just like them. we just have a different belief that we're all americans together, and we all care about our communities and our safety and our country together. >> erin one of the things that struck me about your report, the people you spoke to even though there might be beliefs that are strong and negative, you seem to take care to speak to people who are reason in their approach. we may not agree with them, but they're sincere in their belief. >> what i really wanted to do was to try to figure out even before the san bernardino attacks and the attacks in paris, there seems to be on the campaign trial there was this fear of islam that kept coming up. i really wanted to figure out where is that fear coming from? i wanted to speak to those of
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course within the islamic community who were on the end of some of the backlash, but i wanted to speak to those who were afraid of islam and asking them where does that fear come from? >> where is it coming from? >> the people i spoke with, they truly believe that there is a threat out there, and they're trying to tell americans that there is a threat of islam. they believe they're protecting america. but unfortunately, what their idea of islam is and, indeed, one of the groups counter jihad groups that i spoke with, they have a pamphlet that says, islam is isis, and isis is islam, and if you're a good practicing muslim you'll end up with beliefs something like isis. >> they make that association between islam, which is a faith practiced by more people than any other in the world, and this group. >> right, and they're very passionate about wanting to tell
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people. this is what is going to happen if you are--if you're a really true practitioner of islam. the problem with that, of course, is that we have over 3 million muslims in the united states. if you go to that assumption there are 3 million potential terrorists, here in the united states. they said hitler did a pretty good job with the jews in germany. that is definitely a fringe movement, but when i spoke to the muslim community, what they're very afraid of is that this idea of islam equaling isis or we need to be afraid of muslims is now filtering up to the mainstream. so you have people like donald trump who said that we should ban muslims from coming in to the united states, but we need
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to register them. >> aaron, thank you very much. from fear and discrimination in america, we turn next to ground zero in the latest attacks. a view from the very community's in belgium where isil has tapped new recruits.
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>> what happened in brussels is horrifying, devastating, but to many observers not a big surprise. even the belgium prime minister acknowledged something like this had been the big fear there.
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why would a young person join islamic state? in a recent documentary "my jihad" we heard some explanations.
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a mother's heartbreak. that is it for "america tonight." come back for more "america tonight" tomorrow. ♪
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caught on camera. belgian police say these are the men behind the deadly bomb attacks in brussels. the armed group i.s.i.l. claims responsibility for the blasts at the airport and the metro that killed at least 34 people. you're watching al jazeera live from doha. coming up in the next half hour, the u.n. refugee agency pulls its staff from lesbos and other greek islands in protest against the detention of refugees.