Monday, August 14, 2006

The "Root Cause" of the Airline Plot

In the wake of last week's discovery of the UK airline bombing plot, once again the same questions are being asked. Just as after the July 2005 London subway attacks, many are asking how young, seemingly well adjusted British born Muslim males could have been willing to murder their fellow citizens while killing themselves in the process?

Of course, some argue that young Muslim males are inspired to turn to terrorism by British foreign policy, specifically by the UK's steadfast support for the US campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's undoubtedly true that anger over specific actions does help inspire some young Muslims to become terrorists. However, there's one problem with this thesis. As Mike Palmer points out, Muslims aren't the only ones who hate the West or Western policies, yet they are the only ones producing anti-Western suicide terrorism:

This brings us to the question that we do need to ask: “Why is it that of all the people in the world who hold grievances against the West or the United States, only (some) Muslims believe that they are justified in killing western civilians? It is this question that brings us to a critically important point: the fact that many hate us, but only (some) Muslims kill us, suggests that there is something peculiar about Islam. We need to ask: “Why do (some) Muslims believe that it is legitimate for them to kill non-Muslim civilians?

The problem for Muslims and many westerners is that such questions lead you away from western actions as a cause, and toward Islam as the legitimizing agent. There are plenty of people who do not want you to go down that road. But, like it or not, that’s the only interpretation that makes sense. If western or American policies were the cause of terrorism, where are the Chinese 9/11s? Where are the Hindu 9/11s? Where are the Mexican 9/11s?

The difference is that young Muslims in Europe and elsewhere are being seduced by the totalitarian ideology of Salafist-jihadism. Followers of Salafist-jihadism, according to PBS Frontline, "see life as being divided between the world of Islam (dar al-Islam) and the land of conflict or war (dar al-harb). Through jihad, they wish to extend the Muslim world so that all of humankind can live under its umbrella." Of course Salafists hate the foreign policies of Western states, since such policies are seen as manifestations of those countries' "infidel" nature.

As Douglas Farah points out, even in Western Europe young Muslim males are being indoctrinated in Salafist-jihadism through a network of radical mosques:

What is taught in these mosques, to young people already feeling aggrieved, is not new. They are told that assimilation is wrong and that the more alienated one feels, the closer one is to Allah. Western civilization is degenerate, filthy and full of sin. Rejection of the non-Muslim society in which one lives is a duty, and alienation and hatred a sign of favor from Allah.

Those who are open to this teaching are often then offered special classes and other teaching and opportunities to expand on this concept.

Much of the social isolation surrounding those in these mosques, particularly the UK and the Netherlands, is self imposed. Why integrate or seek to accomodate yourself to the world you live in when alienation is a mark of piety and devotion? How far of a step is it from that to the next logical conclusion? True piety is demonstrated by attacking the oppressive infidel who persecutes Muslims worldwide.

Unfortunately, it appears that this globalization of radical Islamism is bearing fruit. A recent poll reveals that 22% of British Muslims approve of the July 2005 bombings, including 31% of young Muslims. Europe, and the UK in particular, has become a major source of both Salafist-jihadist ideology and the terror attacks that it inspires.

In short, then, those Muslims in Britain and other Western countries who have become involved in jihadist terrorism have done so not because of specific Western policies, but because they have been indoctrinated to see those policies as proof of the evil nature of our "infidel" societies. When someone is taught to hate you, he or she will have no problem finding reasons to justify that hatred. It is not our policies, but the totalitarian ideology of Salafist-jihadism that is the "root cause" of radical Islamist terrorism.


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

I like your analytical analysis. I hope some of our moderate Democrat Senators might read, and mind, it before they consider kow towing to the left wing fringe element in their party.

10:32 AM  

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