August 16, 2007 Thursday
SHOW: AMERICAN MORNING 7:00 AM EST
At Least 337 Dead in Peru Earthquake; Stocks Plunge: Asian Markets Tumble on Credit Fears; Tropical Storm Erin Makes Landfall This Morning
BYLINE: Kiran Chetry, Rob Marciano, Alina Cho, Sanjay Gupta, Ali Velshi, Sean Callebs, Kelli Arena
GUESTS: Electra Anderson, Kareem Shora, Giorgio Ferrario, Nick Thompson
SECTION: NEWS; International
HIGHLIGHT: At least 337 people are dead after a 7.9 earthquake in Peru. Some Asian stocks are having their worst day since the attacks of September 11th. Now U.S. stock futures are sliding again, and it follows another triple digit plunge on Wall Street that sent the Dow below the 13,000 mark. Tropical Storm Erin makes landfall this morning. The threat of a homegrown terrorist attack could now be greater than an attack from a terrorist organization overseas. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the New York City Police Department.
MARCIANO: Kiran, the threat of a homegrown terrorist attack could now be greater than an attack from a terrorist organization overseas. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the New York City Police Department.
Kelli Arena is in our Washington bureau with more in our “Terror Watch” this morning.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rob.
You know, the New York Police Department did a pretty comprehensive study on how people’s beliefs are radicalized, which would drive the formation of terror groups. And it’s an effort to basically explain what happens before rather than after a homegrown attack and what law enforcement can do to prevent the process from going forward.
Now, one of the report’s main findings is that homegrown terrorists are younger. They are getting radicalized more quickly than they have in the past. And that could actually make it harder for police to prevent or to interrupt the type of radicalization that could lead to potential attacks.
In another observation, New York’s police commissioner Ray Kelly says that the individuals just don’t stand out in any way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND KELLY, NY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I think the unremarkable nature of the individuals, they are truly ordinary citizens, they don’t stand out because they’re impoverished. They don’t stand out because they are particularly radical in their — in their youth, that they’re — you know, they are very ordinary people that somehow become radicalized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARENA: Kelly says that homegrown terrorists are most often not directed by al Qaeda or any other group. They’re just ordinary people who become radicalized and are willing to act out violently. The report also says that individuals who are most prone to homegrown attacks are Muslims between 15 and 35 men who live in male-dominated Muslim communities — Rob.
somehow become radicalized.
MARCIANO: Kelli Arena on our “Terror Watch” this morning.
ARENA: You’re welcome.
CHETRY: Well, this report is not being received well by a lot of Muslim-Americans. They say that it paints Muslim-Americans with a very broad brush, really essentially turning everyone into a possible suspect.
Joining me now, Kareem Shora, the executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Thanks for being with us.
KAREEM SHORA, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Thank you for having me.
CHETRY: You know, you have a lot of concerns about this report. One of the things, the controversial sections — and I’ll put it up on the screen — is where they talk about where the places that likely homegrown terrorists may choose to hang out — book stores, cafes, hookah bars, Internet cafes. It says, “They can serve as locations for indoctrination and compromise a radical subculture within the city.”
What was your objection to that assessment?
SHORA: Well, Kiran, we don’t want to undermine any form of effort by law enforcement. The threat is here and the threat is real. But the language, the unfortunate language that the NYPD chose to use in this report seems to really contradict what the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told us. And to really counter what the FBI has done…
CHETRY: Why? What is different based on what you have heard from the FBI, as well as the national intelligence estimate?
SHORA: According to the national intelligence estimate released last month, as well as the regular dialogue that we enjoy with the FBI as a community, as we saw in Kelli Arena’s earlier piece, we helped assist the FBI in a visit to Quantico by young Arab Muslim males and females to help provide them with opportunities, to show them that there is social mobility, to show them that the American system works. And I think — I think the past six and a half years have proven that we have not faced any serious terror attacks, and it’s a result of the fact that our system works. CHETRY: You just said the threat is here and the threat is real. What is that threat, in your opinion?
SHORA: The threat is against — against all Americans. It’s against everyone in the United States, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or what have you.
We are all facing — we live in the same country. We are neighbors. We are all Americans first.
I’m just as concerned about the threat as anybody else is. And so our job as Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans, South Asian-Americans is to become assets for our government. And we have been assets for our government. We are not a liability.
CHETRY: You know, I think one of the things that they brought up in this report was that there are some who don’t feel that they are Americans first, and they bring this subsection of 15 to 35-year-old Muslim men who live in mostly male-dominated Muslim communities.
Do you believe that that threat is real?
SHORA: There might be a threat, but this threat exists everywhere. The situation is that — I read the report, and what they did was they looked at the situation in the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, even Turkey, I think. And then they tried to implement that model here.
And we know the numbers don’t show that. We know the fact is that Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans are extremely well integrated in society. In fact, we are a success story in this country. And it’s a testament to the success of the American system.
CHETRY: Another one of the criticisms of this report, it seems, is that they listed these types of places and these types of people but then really were unable to say how you can identify a person who would possibly become a potential terrorist.
So is there a way to identify, not necessarily based on race or sex, but who could possibly become a potential terrorist?
SHORA: Absolutely. Again, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security use behavior profiling, not necessarily racial or religions in nature. And that works.
And again, our system seems to have worked simply because social mobility is there, simply because society is able to accept diversity a lot more so than the United Kingdom or Spain or elsewhere. And again, we can’t sit here in New York City or elsewhere and say we are the same as the United Kingdom. We’re not.
We’re Americans first. Our system works. And the report is simply false in its assertions that mosques or hookah bars or schools are hotbeds for extremism. That is not true in the United States.
CHETRY: Kareem Shora with the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Thanks for giving us your perspective on this today.
SHORA: It’s a pleasure
ADC on CNN’s American Morning