Day By Day

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Domestic Roots of Islamism

The Times has a profoundly disturbing story on the appeal of radical Islamism for disaffected youth.

“Often disaffected lone individuals unable to fit into their community will be attracted to university clubs based on ethnicity or religion, or be drawn to mosques or preaching groups in prison through a sense of disillusionment with their current existence.”
“We’re looking at a new generation of terrorists — people who are not directly linked to Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda so they can slip under the net of the security services. These are people born or brought up in western Europe, so they fit in but are infected by Bin Laden’s ideology.”
Increasingly, hundreds of young Muslim men, most of them British born, were being drawn to the cause of fundamentalism. Radical websites and imams in mosques in London, Luton, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester were preaching holy war to disaffected young Muslims who were looking for a purpose.

Unlike the September 11 hijackers, the new terrorists did not have a rigid leadership structure. The majority of them had no criminal record and did not appear on any intelligence data bases linking them to terrorism. They were, in effect, “clean skins” and they were much more difficult to detect.


“Whilst many have grown up in Muslim households, a significant number come from liberal, non- religious Muslim backgrounds or only converted to Islam in adulthood. These converts include white British nationals and those of West Indian extraction.

Read the whole thing here.

Is this really all that different from the skinheads, the radicals of the Sixties, the juvenile delinquents of the postwar years, or the campus commies of the thirties? Could it be that the radical disaffection of youths is something that each generation has to confront?

This is the price we pay for prolonging adolescence indefinitely and denying young people the opportunity to participate fully in productive activities that would bind them to the larger community? Just a thought.

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