Homegrown terrorism, a result of a combination of factors: Ex-Pak envoy

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Washington, June 5 (ANI): Pakistan's former envoy to Great Britain and current Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University's School of International Service, Akbar Ahmed, has expressed the view that homegrown terrorism is the result of a combination of factors.

"Muslim Americans feel discriminated against and misunderstood by their fellow Americans. There is a definite lack of understanding about the Muslim culture in the United States. This leads to various forms of discrimination and results in Muslim Americans feeling ostracized and frustrated," he says.

Ahmed also believes that there is a major need for more prominent leadership for Muslim youth in America.

"There is a dangerous lack of relevant leadership for young men in the Muslim community. As a result of this problem, young men are many times isolated and confused which makes them vulnerable to on-line activist groups and other anti-American extremists," he said.

In his effort to build bridges among Christians, Muslims and Jews, Professor Ahmed and his team of five American research assistants took a year's sabbatical to learn what people think and feel about their Muslim American neighbors.

Led by Ahmed, the team traveled to more than 75 different cities and visited more than 100 individual mosques. They conducted thousands of interviews with Muslims and non-Muslims on the subject of what it means to be an American Muslim within the context of American identity.

They visited mosques and communities that "intelligence agencies would only dream of meeting," he states.

"For the first time, American Muslims are given the opportunity to speak for themselves and non Muslims are given the opportunity to have their thoughts and concerns heard in an honest and unfiltered way. This is the heart of our research," said Ahmed.

After they returned, Ahmed compiled his research into a new book entitled Journey into America: the Challenge of Islam, which will be available in June.

In his new book, Ahmed warns both Muslims and non Muslim Americans of the urgency of the problems.

He says: "By ignoring these issues, American leaders are turning their backs to the root of what causes such tragedies as 9/11. If we do not gain a clear understanding as to why these issues continue to persist, the relationship with Muslims living in the United States and their American neighbors will only continue to weaken the already fragile and volatile relationship that exists."

Ahmed's book is a follow up to his widely hailed Journey into Islam: the Crisis of Globalization , and takes readers into the heart and minds of American Muslim communities. (ANI)

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