On September 18, 2016, a Somali-American Muslim man went on a rampage and stabbed nine people in Minnesota, before being shot by an off-duty police officer. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and both presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, weighed in on the attack.
Clinton’s remarks deliberately misled Americans that she had a tough plan using law enforcement to deal with terrorism.
Her statement read:
“ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Minnesota, and this should steel our resolve to protect our country and defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups. I have laid out a comprehensive plan to do that. This includes launching an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out, and to spot lone wolf attackers.”
A casual reader would imagine that Hillary is planning on relying on a range of security personnel in an “intelligence surge” to protect Americans from local radical jihadists.
They would be wrong.
On December 15, 2015, Hillary Clinton was in Minnesota where she discussed her detailed plan to thwart ISIS in America. Her three-part plan included an effort to prevent attacks before they could be carried out, which was based on Muslim Americans reporting on fellow Muslims who were becoming radicalized.
“Here in the Twin Cities, you have an innovative partnership that brings together parents, teachers, imams, and others in the Somali-American community with law enforcement, non-profits, local businesses, mental health professionals and others to intervene with young people who are at risk.
It’s called the Building Community Resilience Pilot Program, and it deserves increased support. It has not gotten the financial resources that it needs to do everything the people involved in it know they can do. And we’ve got to do a better job of supporting it.
Now I know that like many places across the country, there’s more work to do to increase trust between communities and law enforcement. Just last month, I know here a young African American man was fatally shot by a police officer. And I understand an investigation is underway. Whatever the outcome, tragedies like this raise hard questions about racial justice in America and put at risk efforts to build the community relationships that help keep us safe from crime and from terrorism.
When people see that respect and trust are two-way streets, they’re more likely to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement. One of the mothers of the 10 men recently charged with conspiring with terrorists said, “We have to stop the denial,” she told other parents that. “We have to talk to our kids and work with the FBI.” That’s a message we need to hear from leaders within Muslim-American communities across our country.”
Hillary Clinton’s plan relies on Muslim Americans reporting on fellow Muslim Americans to the police.
As discussed in “Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota,” Donald Trump does not believe that law enforcement can rely on the Muslim American community to squeal on its bad actors. He relies on reports that state the “Islamist terror threat in the U.S. homeland has escalated dramatically,” and summations from fellow Republicans like “Republican Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and long a hawkish critic of the Obama administration, said the report proves “homegrown terrorism remains a serious issue in Minnesota.””
Donald Trump’s statement about the Minnesota attack in September 2016 was shorter on details, but more aggressive in stance. Trump did not suggest waiting passively for Muslims to mention possible attacks, he put the onus directly on law enforcement including “extreme vetting for immigrants from troubled parts of the world where terrorists live and train.” He went further to attack Clinton’s approach: “We will not allow political correctness and soft-on-terror, soft-on-crime policies to threaten our security and our lives.”
Therein lies the fundamental difference of the presidential candidates in fighting Islamic terror in the US. Both want to stop terror, but Trump will rely completely on law enforcement, whereas Clinton will seek to empower the Muslim community in the hopes that fewer people will become radicalized and more Muslims will be inclined to report on fellow Muslims.
Many Americans will only be comfortable with one of these approaches.
In September 2016, as the presidential race tightened and a series of attacks occurred in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey, Hillary Clinton concluded that she needed to appear more bold on fighting terror, and less reliant on the Muslim community’s cooperation.
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