In the aftermath of one of Islamism’s bloodiest summers, Western countries are stepping up efforts to filter for potential threats. Germany has held raids targeting Islamist preachers suspected of recruiting ISIS supporters. Belgium launched a police hunt for an imam’s son who walked down the street loudly praying to Allah for the annihilation of all Christians. And France recently banned the “burkini” – the Muslim adaptation of a swimsuit. At this point, it’s a bandage on a gaping wound. More aggressive and strategic measures need to be taken to target the environment where Islamic supremacism flourishes, rather than just the behavior it produces. One place is in U.S. mosques.
For the last year, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has rallied for greater U.S. mosque surveillance. He’s introduced a series of ideas that are both shocking and bold in a climate where one more serious domestic terrorist attack could very likely escalate the situation beyond our control.
Principal among them, Giuliani proposed electronic monitoring tags and bracelets for Muslims on the terror watch list. The problem with this is ensuring the right people are on that list. If that watch list is anything like the TSA no-fly list (easy to get on, impossible to get off of), we have a problem. And just like with mosque surveillance that is made public, tracking radical threats doesn’t deter their activity. Islamic extremists have a start-up mentality: they are extremely flexible and expect to adapt to the environment. In the case of next generation Muslims, that activity will shift to universities, social venues, and online. This is why announcing a surveillance program is an ill-advised move. Don’t announce it, just do it.