University of Arizona experts weigh in on terrorism prevention d - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona experts weigh in on terrorism prevention debate

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How to end terrorism and mass shootings in the U.S. and around the world is being hotly debated. Political candidates and citizens seem divided as to what should be done.

Observing the debate from the University of Arizona, professors and students have their own ideas as to why ISIS has become so strong, and how we all can help end their reign of terror.

Charlie Mink is a PhD student at the University of Arizona. He specializes in countering violent extremism. As an interrogator in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, Mink talked to hundreds of terrorists. He said he found one thing in common.

"They joined because it was cool," said Mink. "It was a fashion and it was a way for them to get camaraderie and brotherhood and intimacy and have an affiliation."

ISIS boasts tens of thousands of supporters. Mink believes blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few could actually be making the ISIS problem worse.

"It does play into the enemy's hands," said Mink. "They want us to turn away Muslim immigrants, and they want us to let our Islamophobia get the best of us."

He said ISIS wants a world divided between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"It does make us less safe because it gives those who are rejected by us an incentive to go to their side," said Mink.  

In a time when some consider policies to keep Muslims out of the country or making lists of names, Dr. Alex Braithwaite, a terrorism expert with the University of Arizona, wants to see a humanitarian reaction.

"It’s tempting at a time like this to think in an isolationist manner to think that we ought to protect our own first. Protecting the homeland is intrinsically tied to what we do overseas," said Braithwaite.  “I think our energies and our focus ought to be on trying to convince people in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere in the world to not support ISIS, and to recognize that the greatest benefit comes from the West helping out.”

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