U.S. Ties Own Hands, Blindfolds Itself Regarding Religious Extremists

By David North on June 11, 2010

The news article from Germany carried a chilling lead sentence:

The more devout a young Muslim male in Germany is, the more likely he is to resort to violence, according to a federally financed study...

The "federal" mentioned in the story is the German federation, not our own, and it serves to remind us how reluctant our government is to examine the impact of religious extremism.

Can you imagine the U.S. government funding a comparable study? Even at a time when U.S.-raised Muslim extremists – like the two from New Jersey arrested as they were heading for Somalia – are clearly becoming a threat? I cannot.

Unlike most of the advanced democracies in the world, our census does not even ask a simple question about religious preferences.

Our government's reluctance to go after religious crazies operates across the board. Note, for example, the continuing presence of polygamous, ultra-orthodox Mormons in those little towns at the Utah-Arizona border. Polygamy is against the law, and the resulting big families in those communities are, apparently, largely on welfare, but governmental intervention is rare, even though the welfare claims certainly could be challenged, as this site indicates.

This reluctance to know about how a few religious groups misuse our federal programs extends to the field of immigration, as I reported in an earlier blog. USCIS, deliberately, does not keep statistics on which fringe religious groups are misusing the R-1 program for nonimmigrant religious workers, a program that often, later, brings green cards to the people involved. At the appeals level, USCIS goes so far as to eliminate any reference to the name of the church appealing a staff decision that an R-1 petition not be granted.

These are the decisions of the Administrative Appeals Office. The texts are partially available, with the reasoning displayed, but the names of the aliens, the churches, and even the churches' lawyers are obliterated with sweeps of black ink. Sometimes the AAO clerks are careless and references to the churches in the texts of the decisions survive.

How can you manage a decision-making program when you do not inform all concerned that applicants from camp P, for instance, are much more likely to be questionable than those from camps A-O and Q-Z?

Getting back to the German study, based on thousands of interviews with boys 14-16, it concluded that "male supremacist views and a preference for violent videos and computer games link closely with mosque attendance among the young....the study also argued that agnostic migrant children were the fastest to integrate, readily considering themselves as German and aiming for the highest educational achievements. By contrast, only 16 per cent of young Muslims aimed for the highest school-completion certificate."

You can bet that our government would not even consider funding such a useful study.