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Panel Discussion and Press Conference on “Ideological and Legislative Responses to Terrorism,” hosted by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance (IFUT). (Symphony Space, New York, 24 June 2017).

Panelists:
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Professor Jawad Syed
Professor Edwina Pio
Professor Tahir Kamran

A unique combination of academic and legislative efforts, this event presented a coherent response to faith based violence and terrorism.

In the past, we have seen sweeping generalizations about Muslims, Islamists or Sunni militants and false binaries between Islam and West, Muslims and Christians or Jews, Sunni and Shia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Haves and Have Nots, etc that misrepresent the specific issue of extremism and terrorism in certain sections of Wahhabi, Salafi and Deobandi (WSD) communities, driven by the exclusivist ideology of Takfir (Othering and violence) whose victims include mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Panelists at this event unpacked this complex issue by focusing on the book “Faith Based Violence and Deobandi Militancy in Pakistan,” a primer for governments seeking an integrated and contextual approach to addressing terrorism. The event provided a nuanced and updated narrative that’s unconstrained by political correctness or by suppression from theocracies and despots.

The panel included Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also explained her bill “Stop Arming Terrorists Act”. The bipartisan legislation (H.R.608 and S.532) would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.

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