Paris attack sparks questions about US anti-terror strategy

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 8, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the Paris attack proving that it's time we get our head out of the skies, quite literally.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says we have been so focused on terrorists and planes that maybe we have lost sight of real bad guys right here on the ground.

Governor, Secretary, good to have you.


CAVUTO: You do -- it is an interesting point, that we -- that the conventional fear has been certainly and understandably in this country since 9/11, look at the planes, look at the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, all the other threats

But it's right here, and we learned in Paris, where they can do a great deal of damage, huh?

RIDGE: Well, we learned in Paris. We learned in Toronto when they stormed the parliament. We learned, frankly, at Fort Hood.

One of the interesting things that the detective said that I hope your viewers and maybe the administration picks up on is, they're not criminals. They didn't care whether they were caught or not. They didn't care if they died at the scene of the atrocity. At the end of the day, they are terrorists. They're not criminals. It's a global scourge.

CAVUTO: So, you believe that, then Secretary, that they were...

RIDGE: Absolutely. It's an entirely different mind-set.

CAVUTO: They expect to be taken out, they were surprised that they weren't?

RIDGE: Well, I don't know if that's the case, but what we have seen in many of these instances, in most of these instances, whether suicide bombers or elsewhere, if they die in the perpetration of that evil, they have been promised a bigger reward in the hereafter.

And it's this nonsense to suggest that they're not part of a group that has perverted a historic religion and wrapped their righteousness around this perverted interpretation of the Koran. They're not criminals. They are Islamic terrorists. And the challenge that I think no only public officials have, but the broader Muslim community has, is to elevate their voices and sustain their voices and be far more cooperative in working in collaboration, whether it's the police in Paris or in Canada or in the Western world, because they're undermining this religion and creating a stigmatization around people who practice this very religion.

CAVUTO: You know, we had Nigel Farage here yesterday. Many say he -- with the notoriety he's getting, he could be a future prime minister of Britain.

But one of the things he was raising, Secretary, is this notion that assimilation and how some groups don't assimilate. He was talking about Muslim groups certainly in England that they have experienced firsthand, in this case in Paris, six million strong right now, that that's something you have got to watch and you have got to go where the -- where the trouble is.

That's not say -- and he stressed yesterday -- that all Muslims mean ill will either in England or there, but that these guys come from those regions, come from those areas, French nationals or no. But leaders in France are still reluctant to do just that, as they are in England.

What do you make of that?

RIDGE: It's a huge -- I think it's a huge mistake.

You know, the buzzword, the politically correct word in the European community for years has been, we're -- multiculturalism. That's fine. We are pretty multiculturalist in this country as well. As a matter of fact, the United States looks more like the U.N. sometimes than the U.N. does in terms of the diversity.

But multiculturalism does not mean that you segregate people, particularly the Muslim community, in little enclaves and don't work with the religious leaders and the economic leaders and the political leaders to assimilate them into the broader national fabric. That has not been done. And all of a sudden, then you have an enclave that breeds -- that breeds terrorists, it breeds this kind of chaos, and it rears its ugly ahead in the atrocity of yesterday.

CAVUTO: Secretary, thank you very, very much.

RIDGE: Oh, it was a good pleasure to be with you. Sorry it's over this subject.

CAVUTO: I hear you, my friend, Tom Ridge. All right.

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