Mosque fight helps al-Qaeda, says former FBI interrogator(Spy Talk)http://blog.washingtonpost.
“There are many reasons for supporting the Muslim community's right to build a cultural center and mosque on private property, not least of all the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion,” wrote Soufan, a supervisory special agent with the bureau from 1997 to 2005, in an essay for Forbes and published online Wednesday.
“But from a national security perspective, our leaders need to understand that no one is likely to be happier with the opposition to building a mosque than Osama Bin Laden. His next video script has just written itself.”
Soufan, a Muslim himself who cracked some of al-Qaeda’s top operatives by rejecting harsh interrogation methods, noted that no American Muslims participated in the Sept. 11 plot.
But the current opposition to the mosque, mixed with “poor (and even harmful) leadership within the American-Muslim community and failed strategies from our government in dealing with the [terrorist] threat,” could be undermining young American Muslims’ support for their country.
“When demagogues appear to be equating Islam with terrorism, it's making young Muslims unsure about their place in the country,” he wrote. “It bolsters the message that radicalizers are selling: That the war is against Islam, and Muslims are not welcome in America.”
The proposal to build an Islamic center four blocks from a hole where the World Trade Center once stood in Lower Manhattan has fueled a Web-based furor driven by conservative activists, now joined by some influential Republicans and Democrats.
President Obama inserted himself into the debate, saying last week that the project has the right to go forward. Since then, the White House has been struggling to contain the domestic political fallout, but so far seems little concerned about the effects on the Muslim world.
“As President, what President Obama can do is make sure that we communicate exactly how we're feeling to the Muslim world, and we're focused on that,” Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters Aug. 12. “But I don't think that the boundaries are shifting in such way that that's dangerous.”
A half-century ago, another Democrat in the White House was slow to apprehend the threat of civil rights resistance to his foreign policy.
President John F. Kennedy was at first enraged by the sit-ins and "Freedom Rides," seeing them as undermining his ability to deal with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
But events, particularly the images of white cops unleashing attack dogs on black demonstrators in Birmingham, Ala., caused him to change.
“What a disaster that picture is,” Kennedy moaned. “That picture is not only in America but all around the world.”
Kennedy’s eventual support of civil rights legislation was inextricably linked with America's struggle against Soviet-backed liberation movements.
"We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home," he said in a major speech in 1963, "but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other, that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?"
Likewise, Soufan argued that inflammatory rhetoric against the mosque proposal and the struggle for the Muslim minds around the world are linked.
“The potential damage to our national security is not only to our work abroad," he maintained, "but at home too.”
“Some young Muslims are finding themselves increasingly isolated and marginalized -- and are becoming easy prey for radicals."