I’ve passionately labored to counter radicalization and extremist ideology points worldwide as a result of the vary of threats that our nation faces may be very actual — from the rise in lone wolf and homegrown assaults to the persistent existence of the ideology behind ISIS.

But these aren’t the one safety dangers which are holding me up at night time. Proper now, what considerations me most is the widening polarization in our nation, as a result of that is the form of division that feeds the seeds of hate on the root of each form of terror assault.

We are able to all agree that holding our residents protected must be our high precedence, and conventional counterterrorism work is crucial in preserving nationwide safety right here and overseas. True counterterrorism efforts determine pressing wants, devise options and mobilize sources, and we nonetheless want our intelligence and navy capabilities to thwart and forestall future tragedies.

However might I be so daring as to supply an extra resolution to the rising threat of hate and division in the US? It is one which works as a complement to conventional counterterrorism and counterextremism work — and it is one which makes use of extra coronary heart.

What if we took a step again and requested how we will cease somebody from happening the highway of hate, and get to them earlier than they mobilize to violence? What if we tried to construct wholesome resilient communities, ones the place everybody — whatever the coloration of their pores and skin or the home of worship they pray in — feels as in the event that they belong? What if we collectively held the duty of curbing hateful rhetoric in order that we change into a extra inclusive and accepting society?

I consider that in the present day we now have extra ideologies throughout all the spectrum of beliefs that promote hate or violence, together with white supremacy organizations and home terror teams, in addition to overseas terrorist organizations like ISIS or Al Qaeda. All of those teams — regardless of the ideology — thrive off a scarcity of social cohesion. That is crucial to those nefarious actors’ strategy — they want these divisions, and so they stoke them to additional their trigger.

How to stop the horrifying resurgence of anti-Semitism
In 2019 alone, we have witnessed firsthand what divisiveness and hate can convey, from the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, to a gunman firing upon worshipers in a California synagogue.
There’s the story of Mahud Villalaz, a US citizen who migrated from Peru, who suffered second-degree burns after being confronted and attacked by a person outdoors a restaurant in Milwaukee. Villalaz stated the attacker did not like the best way he parked his automobile and referred to as him “unlawful” earlier than he threw acid throughout his face.
A number of days prior, a man in San Diego beat a Syrian refugee teenager merely for talking in Arabic on a trolley.

This menace to our nationwide safety is evolving, and we now have to adapt and evolve with it — not by ostracizing or singling out the “different,” however by displaying extra humanity to those that might appear like us, and people who occur to look or consider otherwise. Our social cohesion is what makes us sturdy and resilient, and that is why it is crucial that we counter this polarized local weather with tolerance and acceptance.

The successes that we now have seen in countering these extremist narratives, or stopping individuals from mobilizing to violence, are a results of us all working collectively. Preserving our communities wholesome and protected and away from all types of extremism is a shared duty to which all of us should contribute.

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A couple of years in the past, I used to be sitting in a mosque in Los Angeles after the Charlottesville attacks. I listened to tales full of nervousness, and noticed tears fall down the faces of frightened native Muslims. But what I additionally witnessed within the midst of that tragedy was an outpouring of civility, as strangers from all walks of life got here collectively to rally round their communities within the identify of peace. That have cemented the significance of us coming collectively in an effort to restore our divides, to struggle this hatred that’s so current and rising in a few of our communities.

Collectively fostering an surroundings the place we’re inclusive and tolerant to others is not going to cease each terrorist assault or each mass capturing. However what if we every dedicated to nonpartisan dialogue, civility and world engagement? What if we took the time to pour out love or affirmation to somebody in our world who’s deeply eager for it? What if we put a layer of humanity onto our efforts to curb extremism of every kind?

What if we have been in a position to cease only one?

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