TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the world reacts to the Brussels attacks, research is underway here in Tampa at the University of South Florida’s Global Initiative on Civil Society and Conflict. The initiative studies civil conflict but also provides research on terrorist organizations.
“Very focused on data analysis related to ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and the Taliban. It really uses the latest technological tools as related to get special mapping, to get very granular data on these kinds of extremist movements,” said Durriya Badani, the director for the Global Citizens Forum with GICSC.
Badani said GICSC has the ear of the government, providing stats for US intelligence operations.
But Badani warns statements from politicans, including one from Senator Ted Cruz, feed into ISIS recruitment stratgies. Cruz, a presidential candidate, said, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
“It simply allows ISIS to reinforce the message, ‘You are not accepted in America. You are not respected in America,'” Bandani said.
Pro-Islam and Muslim activist Hassan Shibly, with Council on American-Islamic Relations, is pouncing on the generalization of the religion.
“Every single group has criminals who do horrible acts in its name. We can’t allow blanket blame an entire religious group for the horrific disgusting actions of a few,” Shibly said.
Instead, Badani urging now it’s up to everyone to keep an eye out everywhere.
“Anyone of your friends or your neighbors or your parishioners that you see who is feeling much more isolated or marginalized, how do we bring them back in?” he asked.