Last week’s election was incredibly emotional for me. With the support of my community, a kid from Pacoima won a seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) were surprised to learn last month that for the first time their professor for a course in contemporary Islam was, in fact, a Muslim. Ismail Bardhi had arrived as a refugee a few weeks before through the college's Scholar Rescue Fund. The former dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies in Skopje, Macedonia, Bardhi was beaten and stripped of his title because he refused to cede to the vision of Kosovar nationalists, who in rising to power were marginalizing secular Muslims and "Islamic humanists" like Bardhi.
How do you prevent that young Muslim from being lured by radical ideas? That was the question at the heart of a conference organized at The Hague recently by the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism. As Tariq Ramadan reminded the conference, preventative methods are bound to fail unless they include Muslims as part of the solution. To only view Muslims as potential radicals is the quickest way to alienate the very people needed to solve the problems.