5 Critical Takeaways from the Islamic 'Radicalization Report' the NYPD Is Deleting From Its Website

New York City has caved to the demands of Muslim groups in connection with its intelligence and surveillance activities of the Islamic community. In a politically correct move, the city is resorting to self-censorship over safety.

As part of its settlement with plaintiffs in the cases of Raza v. City of New York and Handschu v. Special Services Division -- coincidentally, the settlement was released within hours of the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett by a self-identified American jihadist -- the NYPD will be removing Radicalization in the West, the groundbreaking 2007 report on the “homegrown” jihadist threat, from its website.

Plaintiffs in the Raza case argued that the report reflected the “analytic underpinnings” of New York’s so-called “Muslim surveillance program.” The plaintiffs deemed the report unlawful on account of its alleged “religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers” based on a “false and unconstitutional premise: that Muslim religious beliefs and practices are a basis for law enforcement scrutiny.”

Supposedly, the NYPD radicalization report “stigmatizes an entire faith community and invites discrimination. It specifically singles out Muslims for profiling and suspicionless surveillance because of their religious beliefs and practices.”

In spite of the fact that New York did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in its practices nor disavow the “radicalization report” on its analytical merits, the city is pulling the report. Further, the city also represented in the settlement that it does not, has not, and will not rely upon the report to open or extend investigations.

Yet much of what is contained in Radicalization in the West would appear to have value in a world in which Europe’s violent Islamization continues apace. Americans are awakening from their post-9/11 slumber to realize that perhaps something is awry in light of the jihadi carnage wrought in Boston by the Tsarnaev brothers, by San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, by would-be Philly cop-killer Edward Archer, and by many others nationwide -- not to mention the suspected jihadis in the more than 900 active investigations of ISIS-linked individuals across the 50 states.

The report, which analyzed almost a dozen cases of “homegrown” jihadis across the U.S. and Europe in order to provide “a conceptual framework for understanding the process of radicalization in the West,” contained a variety of still-relevant and oft-ignored findings.

Here are five of its most critical takeaways.

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1. Jihadis are chiefly animated by their theo-political Islamic supremacist ideology.

Radicalization in the West draws forth a fundamental insight that our national security and foreign policy establishment -- under administrations Republican and Democrat -- continues to ignore to America’s great detriment.

The report explicitly states:

Radicalization in the West is, first and foremost, driven by:

Jihadi-Salafi Ideology. What motivates young men and women, born or living in the West, to carry out “autonomous jihad” via acts of terrorism against their host countries? The answer is ideology. Ideology is the bedrock and catalyst for radicalization. It defines the conflict, guides movements, identifies the issues, drives recruitment, and is the basis for action. In many cases, ideology also determines target selection and informs what will be done and how it will be carried out.

The report notes that there is a religious and political dimension to this ideology:

The Religious Dimension. Jihadi-Salafi ideology is but one stream of the broader Salafi movement. The general goal of this Sunni revivalist interpretation of Islam, is to create a “pure” society that applies a literal reading of the Quran and adheres to the social practices that prevailed at the time of 7th century Arabia.

Implementation of sharia law and replacement of the system of nation states with a worldwide Caliphate are the ultimate political aims. While other Salafi currents encourage non-violent missionary or political activities to achieve these religious/political goals, jihadi-Salafis utilize endorsements of respected scholars of Islam to show that their aims and violent means are religiously justified.

  • Contemporary Saudi (Wahhabi) scholars have provided the religious legitimacy for many of the arguments promoted by the jihadists.1
  • Extreme intolerance and hostility towards unbelievers, including Jews, Christians, Hindus and Shiites, is a core doctrine provided by Wahhabi religious thought. It provides the primary theological foundation for jihadi-Salafi causes and reduces the barriers to violence.

The Political Dimension. The political aspect of jihadi-Salafi ideology is heavily underpinned by the work of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian author, Islamist, and the leading intellectual of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He believed that Islam was under attack from the West and divided the world into the Muslim and the non-Muslim. To Qutb, democracy challenged the sovereignty of God’s divine law and should be resisted. Moreover, he also contended that militant jihad had to be used to attack institutions and societies in order to overthrow non-Islamic governments and to bring about a “pure” Islamic society. [Emphasis mine]