Nigeria is on the verge of fracturing along religious fault lines. Ethnic and religious minorities in northern Nigeria face systemic and systematic discrimination. Muslims and Christians in northeastern Nigeria are profoundly and negatively impacted by the terrorist violence pursued by Boko Haram. Christians risk extinction in Nigeria's northeast.
Ten years ago we found evidence that al-Qaeda was far more organized and adept than we had realized. It took us nearly that long to locate and execute their leader, Osama bin Laden, and we are far from finished. Al-Qaeda has morphed into a much more dangerous, menacing threat: ISIS. Defeating these radical Islamists will require decisive action.
Andrew C. McCarthy III is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Our legal architecture for fighting the infiltration of radical Islam is stuck in a pre-1993 Cold War framework that prohibits the exclusion of aliens on the grounds of ideological animus against the U.S. as opposed to terrorist activities. We face an ideology that promotes acts of mass terror.
The media and the current U.S. administration have struggled since 2014 to define ISIS. Some have said it is not Islamic at all, which, while well-meaning, seems to fail on its face as ISIS draws upon Islamic texts to justify its actions. ISIS is an apocalyptic, genocidal, Islamic cult. We must address and combat ISIS as a cult to defeat it.
Sunni and Shiia religious extremists in the Middle East have succeeded in weaponizing memory. They wield historical precedence to inform and legitimize their actions and strategies. Nibras Kazimi, an Iraqi citizen, will discuss how they do this and how to undermine their legitimacy by de-weaponizing precedence. His blog Talisman Gate was one of the most riveting Baghdad blogs, written in the midst of its drama and turmoil, providing acute political insight.