President warned US now 'exporting terrorism'
Published 27/12/2010 | 05:00
AMERICA'S home-grown terrorists are now a global threat and the US should look to Europe to learn how to deal with it, President Barack Obama was warned.
In a letter to the president, Sue Myrick, a prominent member of Congress who serves on the House of Representatives select committee on intelligence, said America was for the first time exporting Islamist terrorism.
She accused the US of complacency and said it was "far behind" Europe in having measures in place to deal with the growing radicalisation of young men and their willingness to carry out attacks.
Her letter marked a departure from a long-held view in the US that Britain was the biggest threat to it as a result of its position as a staging point for extremists from Pakistan, the Middle East and east Africa.
In her letter, Mrs Myrick said: "For many years we lulled ourselves with the idea that radicalisation was not happening inside the United Sates. We believed American Muslims were immune to radicalisation because, unlike their European counterparts, they are socially and economically well-integrated into society.
"There had been warnings that these assumptions were false but we paid them no mind. Today there is no doubt that radicalisation is taking place inside America. The strikingly accelerated rate of American Muslims arrested for involvement in terrorist activities since May 2009 makes this fact self-evident.
"What has been missed is that our home-grown terrorists are now becoming a global threat."
Among the cases cited by Mrs Myrick, a Republican, was that of David Coleman Headley, a US citizen who conducted the reconnaissance for the Mumbai attacks and also visited England.
She also wrote about Samir Khan, a propagandist with al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula who produces an English language online magazine called 'Inspire', and came from Mrs Myrick's home of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some of those arrested over the past year, including Faizal Shazad, the Times Square bomber, "embodied the American dream, at least socioeconomically", she said.
Mrs Myrick said the US knew little about the ideology that drove terrorism: "We are far behind our allies in Europe who have been studying extremist ideology for some time now.
"If we are truly to stem the tide of home-grown terrorism, we must follow the act of some European countries, we must move beyond addressing bombs and bullets to winning hearts and minds."
She called on Mr Obama to hold a bipartisan meeting on counter-radicalisation at the White House for congressional leaders to discuss the issues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)