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A bizarre report from NBC News by Ayman Mohyeldin this morning broadcast during Meet the Press highlighted the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which has the highest Muslim population concentration of any city in America, as a beacon of American Muslim integration.
As Jeffrey Myers at Newsbusters observed, Mohyeldin blamed U.S. foreign policy for increased radicalization inside the Muslim community:
For some, radicalization and attacks against the U.S. stems from anger at American foreign policies and wars in the Middle East. While the overwhelming majority of muslims have successfully assimilated and integrated into U.S. society, the challenge remains to find individuals who may be on the fringes of the communities and are also alienated.
There are some curious omissions from Mohyeldin’s report that directly question his claims of successful assimilation and integration of Muslims in Dearborn.
For instance, last August The Intercept published an internal assessment by the National Counterterrorism Center showing that Dearborn — a town of less than 100,000 — had the second largest number of known terrorism suspects in the country behind New York City.
Needless to say, the Muslim community in Dearborn expressed outrage at the NCTC’s data analysis. And despite the fact the NCTC report was the Obama administration’s own document and the finding was the expression of raw data, Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade joined local activists at a news conference to denounce those findings.
Also missing from Mohyeldin’s Meet the Press report is that the most influential Islamic cleric for Western supporters of terrorist groups, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate), is Dearborn-based Ahmad Jibril.
As the Detroit Free Press reported last May:
Jibril, 43, acts as a “cheerleader … a benevolent father figure” to foreign fighters motivated by Islam, said the report released last month by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Based in London, the center is a partnership with five universities and for the past year has been studying the role that fighters from the West are playing in the Syrian war. Titled “#Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks,” the report created a database of 190 fighters from the West (Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand).
Using social media sites, Jibril has built up a following among fighters who look to him for religious guidance, said the report.
“He provides the political and theological justification these guys are looking for,” said Peter Neumann, a professor of security studies at King’s College in London and director of the International Centre, who was one of three authors of the report. “He’s someone who’s important to the movement. … He articulates what they think. He provides comfort.”
Jibril is not the only extremist, terror-supporting cleric in Dearborn. CBN News terrorism reporter Erick Stakelbeck noted that Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of Dearborn’s Islamic House of Wisdom, purportedly the largest mosque in America, was a disciple of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini who was regularly pictured meeting with senior Hezbollah officials:
As I noted here at PJ Media back in March 2011, when CNN ran an hour-long program on alienation in the Muslim-American community, an accompanying blog post featured Imam Elahi, this even after Dearborn residents poured into his mosque for a heavily attended memorial service for Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Fadlallah.
And in 2010, Dearborn made national news when 11 Arab-American students at Edsel Ford High School wore sweatshirts mocking the 9/11 attacks:
Another widely reported national incident occurred when Christian preachers were stoned in June 2012 at Dearborn’s annual Arab festival as police stood by and did nothing:
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So while Ayman Mohyeldin and Meet the Press would like to claim that Dearborn represents a success for the integration of Muslims into American society, there’s ample evidence to support those who would claim that it represents an emerging problem that reflects integration problems seen in France and other European countries.