I was born in 1981 in a conflict zone in Monrovia, Liberia. My parents fled with my brother and me to Lebanon. Lebanon wasn’t any better. I have seen extremism in the 3 major religions all my life. We ended up finding peace in America. A peace that a majority in the U.S. takes for granted. Over the years of growing up in America, I witnessed how it slowly changed. Not for the better, but for the worse. Now we are faced with a different form of extremism: Political Extremism.
I was born into war, bred into conflict zones. I have memories of soldiers getting blown up and artillery raining down on a mountainside. I remember running to my mother, crying hysterically, because some sort of militia came into our village in Lebanon. I joined the U.S. Army after 9/11 and went to war for our country. I wanted to show that not all people from the Middle East are radical Muslims. The extremists in the community told me of how I joined the enemy. In reality, I wanted to root out the evil that plagued the land, that these intellectual imams are the extremists, and use religion to mask their true desires.
How bad is extremism? Well for example, in Lebanon, Al Qaeda terrorists had spoons in their pockets because they were led to believe that if they died during combat they would dine with the Prophet. Now, this is just religion being extreme. How does it tie into politics?
The common theme I hear now in politics is fear-based. On both sides of the aisle. All of a sudden, politicians are the new priests and what they say is fact. People have stopped questioning politicians’ motives behind any claim they spout.
After 9/11, people looked to their elected leaders for some sort of closure, guidance, and resolve. The political war machine was fueled by the anger of the American public, and rightfully so. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” I believe the same thing happened after 9/11. The American people, no matter what color, creed, or religion wanted one thing.
Now let’s fast forward to current times in the United States. For the past decade or more, politicians have created a fear-based campaign. “THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE OUR GUNS.” Guns fly off of the shelves and people stalk up on ammo. That is the most common phrase that I hear from one side of the aisle. “POLICE MURDER ALL BLACK MEN.” Is the other one now. Now you are bombarded with “statistics” and so-called “experts” on the media that fan the flame for the political extremists.
It is no different from when I was at war. I remember sitting in a courtyard outside of our barracks in Mosul. I was listening to the evening prayers at a local mosque down the street. I remember the Shiekh or Imam speaking to the worshipers. He kept referring to the evil that has plagued the land, meaning U.S. forces and those that conspire with American forces, and how they need to banish this evil in the name of God at whatever the cost. It was their duty as Muslims. The conspirators he was talking about were interpreters and those who aided U.S. Forces to combat the radicals. This is a so-called intelligent religious figure who is preaching death to his followers.
Political extremism is just as dangerous as religious extremism. They both feed the people fear. They both use extreme measures to get their point of view out there. Just because religious extremism is more direct doesn’t mean that political extremism isn’t as dangerous. Political extremism took years to infiltrate society. It took time, strategy, and placing the right political figures in the right spots. Look at what we have now. Look at our so-called ELECTED leaders. They have caused this division, not the people. I have seen this in the past. I have seen this growing up in war-torn countries and I have seen it while at war.
It is here now at home.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on November 4, 2020.
Ayman is an Army Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of military service. He has worked in the patrol division, in a plainclothes anti-crime unit, as a Metro-SWAT operator, and as a detective in a major crimes unit, as a narcotics task force detective with the DEA, and as an operator with the DEA Special Response Team (SRT). He also helped organize SRT operations in Southern New England.
As an assistant team leader, he assisted and coordinated the planning of operations as well as conducted various aspects of training. He has investigated high-level drug traffickers, gang members, and conducted numerous operations. He is currently the Officer in Charge of the Problem-Oriented Policing Unit. Ayman is a law enforcement firearms instructor, a less-than-lethal weapons instructor, a certified use of force instructor at his police department Ayman’s hands-on experience with law enforcement operations at many different levels coupled with his compassion to save lives has brought him to coordinate “Project Sapient.”
This initiative is a joint effort comprised of law enforcement professionals of all levels combined with the Special Forces philosophy of winning hearts and minds. Ayman has found that to reach more officers and departments, it is important to share his experience with media outlets that reach law enforcement.
He regularly contributes to The Havok Journal, writing articles that provide insight into current law enforcement trends and methodologies to help officers become better equipped to handle an ever-changing work environment.
Project Sapient is currently a Podcast. Ayman’s vision of Project Sapient is to eventually train other law enforcement officers and civilians alike in stress inoculation. Something that is sorely needed in the Law Enforcement profession. In his writing, Ayman draws from his hands-on experience as both a law enforcement professional and his military service.
For years, Ayman has seen the trend in lack of training policing. Whether it’s budget cuts, political enemies, or ineffective policy, Ayman has made it his mission to bring innovation, unconventional policing methods, and to have those tough conversations and instruction to assist law enforcement to better relate with and advise communities.
He sees firsthand the need for better training and tools for law enforcement to serve their communities most effectively. A better-trained officer is what policing a free society requires.