Linda Sarsour and Brigitte Gabriel, a terrorism analyst and founder of ACT for America, debated radical Islam on CNN. It should be noted that Brigitte Gabriel is a Lebanese-American immigrant and survivor of terrorism.
Gabriel begins by defending a statistic she retrieved from multiple national intelligence agencies. According to their estimates, an estimated 15-25% of all Muslims in the world are radicalized. This statistic does not mean that all Muslims in that category want to blow themselves up, rather, that ratio includes Muslims who either support or are sympathetic towards terrorist organizations. Gabriel stresses that the majority of Muslims in the world are peaceful people.
Sarsour responds by challenging Gabriel about not including moderate Muslims in the terrorism debate. Gabriel states that her organization works with many moderate Muslims and even has many moderate Muslims speak at her organization’s national conference. She explains that the discussion of moderate Muslims is completely separate from the research she conducts as a terrorism analyst. In addition, Gabriel asks Sarsour about the collective voices of moderate Muslim when human rights atrocities are committed in the west.
Instead of answering Gabriel’s question, Sarsour reacts defensively by stating that she does not owe anybody proof that she is a U.S.-born citizen, even mentioning that her parents voluntarily immigrated from Palestine to the United States. Sarsour also attempts to reframe the conversation by bringing up the terrorism committed by white supremacists. However, according to a study conducted by the Cato Institute, almost all terrorism within the past 25 years has been committed by radical Muslims.
The host of the show, Brian Stelter, asks Gabriel if the American people will look back at this time as a gross overreaction to the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Gabriel responds by factually pointing to the historical acts of terrorism committed on American soil. Between 1979 and 2001, the United States was attacked several times by Muslim extremists. However, as Gabriel mentions, the United States has been relatively safe since the 9/11 attacks due to the programs put in place by American first responders and the FBI.
Afterwards, Sarsour asserts that conservative media outlets, such as Fox News, run hit series on “people like her” for “speaking her mind and practicing her American patriotism.” Sarsour also slanders Gabriel as a pseudo-expert, inferring that people only take her seriously because she is Arabic. She also poses doubt regarding whether Gabriel was actually a prisoner of war.
Gabriel concludes by factually stating that the terrorism committed on a mass scale is done by Muslim extremists, arguing that this type of violence is unacceptable in civilized societies.
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