Sunday, July 10, 2005

Will they finally get it?

How utterly foolish must Robin Cook feel? On Friday, he was pontificating in The Guardian with with this:
The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the poverty of back streets, where fundamentalism offers a false, easy sense of pride and identity to young men who feel denied of any hope or any economic opportunity for themselves. A war on world poverty may well do more for the security of the west than a war on terror.
Today, from the lead story in The Sunday Times, we learn:

AL-QAEDA is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in this country, leaked Whitehall documents reveal.

A network of “extremist recruiters” is circulating on campuses targeting people with “technical and professional qualifications”, particularly engineering and IT degrees.

The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the mosques which preach radical Islam, the attraction of which is not economic in nature. The sooner we accept that, the better off we will be.


Blogger Mick in the UK said...

"Will they finally get it?"

Some people already have got it, but they are afraid to voice their opinions for fear of being labled racist or they sit on the fence, and keep their mouths shut.
Thats the best way really, then the problems will go away.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might I suggest...

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

One of the first theories from the left in the U.S. after 9/11 was that it was the poor who attacked us, and that solving poverty in their home countries (through free trade) would really help our security. It was only later when I learned that the hijackers had college degrees and came from middle class families. I also learned from analysts on the Middle East that the real culprits were failed states that oppress their people and can't offer their population opportunities to better their lives. I've heard stories about Palestinian suicide bombers (who get caught before they can kill) who are college educated, but can't find any jobs in their homeland. So, perhaps they grew up in middle class families, but they don't see the same level of opportunities their parents had, perhaps.

They detailed how middle easterners migrate to Europe to escape the oppression or for opportunities they can't get at home, such as jobs and education. When they get there, they feel isolated. The reasoning was vague, but for whatever reason, some don't integrate well into European society. Their alienation and isolation leads to frustration. The radicals in their midst offer them an answer, and in a way, an out. They feel hopeless about their lives, and they feel that the world has gone wrong. The radicals offer them a way to "exit" this reality, which they hate, and a "holy" way to bring about the "right" change, through violence.

So there seems to be this cycle. First, muslims grow up in their oppressive homeland. They migrate to Europe to escape the reality they were in. They find opportunities when they get there, but feel culturally alienated, isolated from the people around them. This leads to resentment and frustration. They walk into the arms of radicals who give them an "answer" for their condition, and convince them to go on suicide missions.

So it would seem that the cultural alienation, at least in Europe, is the most important aspect that leads to radicalism, not poverty. And it's not to say that it's totally the fault of the European countries that this happens, because obviously not every muslim immigrant becomes radicalized. It's a minority among them that do. But the other aspect that needs solving is the oppression and lack of opportunity in their home countries. I think this is what the Iraq war is about.

The term "second-class citizens" comes up often in descriptions of how muslim immigrants are treated in Europe. Might this be something that needs to be addressed?

5:43 AM  

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