US Congress Is Targeting the Wrong People in the War Against ISIS

At times it is mystifying for me to understand the logic and actions of the United States Congress. After the tragic massacre in San Bernardino by a Pakistani couple who had connections to Saudi Arabia, the ideological bastion of radical Islam i.e. Wahhabism, the House of Representatives has passed HR 158, a bill to ostensibly prevent acts of terrorism within the United States.

However, the bill even if it was in place now would not have prevented the San Bernardino massacre as it targets the wrong people. Those who will receive stricter scrutiny under HR 158 are not the citizens of Pakistan, the stronghold of the Taliban, nor Saudi Arabia, the ideological birthplace of 9/11 terrorists and home to most major Wahhabi ideologues, nor Turkey which is the eye of the tiger when it comes to logistic support for ISIS and its oil export channels.

One may ask what role Iran has played in committing terror attacks in America? Most credible reports would say none. So what is the number of Iranians or Iranian-Americans who are part of ISIS or the Taliban? How many Iranians or Iranian-Americans have tweeted pro-ISIS tweets? The answer to all of these questions and statistics is zero!

In 2002, Iran's assistance was crucial in defeating the Taliban. In 2003, the Iranian government even offered its assistance in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. That offer was turned down by George W. Bush and we saw the carnage that Al Qaeda left behind in Iraq. Once again in 2014 and after ISIS's unforeseeable rise on the scene, it was Iran that was willing to put "boots on the ground" to fight ISIS. Then why is it that Iranians and Iranian-Americans are being targeted by this HR 158, while countries that seem to have had close connection to terror attacks are given a proverbial pass? Our Representatives and Senators need to be able to answer these questions to the Iranian-American community which according to the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans is the second most successful immigrant community in the U.S., is being wrongly punished.

We cannot defeat terrorism if we don't understand its roots and the major players in this deadly game. We cannot defeat ISIS if we don't know its ideology and its enemies. It is my hope and wish that members of congress will heed the call of thousands of law abiding patriotic Iranian-Americans and will initiate immediate congressional inquiry into the ideological and financial roots of ISIS, and the role played by our allies in fomenting the hatred and zeal that can culminate in what we saw in San Bernardino.

I also hope that Congress will acknowledge that Iranian-Americans have been among the most peaceful, patriotic and entrepreneurial immigrant communities United States has ever seen. It would be a shame to squander the goodwill that has been generated between the Iranian-American community and the U.S. government just few months after signing of a historic accord which can bring the two nations closer to full diplomatic relations.