Thursday, July 14, 2005

The end of business as usual 

James Taranto writes that the new phenomenon of home-grown terrorists, or terrorists-next-door, presents "a potentially a huge problem not just for Britain but for Continental European countries that also have large populations of unassimilated Muslim citizens."

That might be truer for the continental Europe, where there are indeed large populations of unassimilated Muslim citizens, but as if that phenomenon wasn't enough, what we're also seeing is dessimilation -– seemingly ordinary suburbanites suddenly rejecting their former life and going radical.

"Ten days ago Shahzad Tanweer, a 22-year-old British Asian, was playing cricket in the local park with his friends. It was something he loved to do. He was a sporty young man who loved martial arts, drove his dad's Mercedes and had many friends in the Beeston area of Leeds," wrote Sandra Laville and Ian Cobain in "The Guardian" in their profile of one of the suspected London suicide bombers. They also noted that Shehzad's friends they interviewed "dress in jeans and T-shirts and seem to shun traditional Islamic dress."

Another report, this time about the youngest of the human bombs recounts that "[Hasib] Hussein had gone 'a bit wild' as a younger teenager, but had became devoutly religious about 18 months ago." (hat tip: Tim Blair)

As I wrote yesterday, "young people make perfect recruits for suicide bombing - for the same reasons that young people do other stupid thing like becoming a Marxist revolutionaries at university, joining a gang, or speeding while high on drugs - because they are idealistic, rebellious, impressionable, and careless about own safety and well-being."

Certain proportion of every young generation will always rebel strongly against "the society", or their parents, or the authority in general, whether by growing hair long, getting drunk and getting laid, joining a commune, joining a rock band, becoming a Goth, or becoming an anti-globalization activist. Increasingly, in our secularized society, young people are rebelling by "getting religion". This is also a part of the common youthful quest for meaning (just recall the attraction of Eastern religions and New Age spirituality to so many young baby boomers). Getting religion usually isn't - and shouldn't be - a problem, whether you discover Jesus, or Allah, or for that matter the Goddess. The problem arise when a low-life exploiter comes into the process of religious re-awakening and convinces the impressionable seeker after truth that the whole religious deal involves not just leading a virtuous life but trying to blow up infidels.

Those Pied Pipers must ruthlessly rooted out, and they must be primarily rooted out by members of the very communities they fester upon.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it was considering a plan for a national demonstration of protest against the terrorists behind the London bombings. The inter-faith event, which has yet to be agreed, would involve marches in the capital and other cities across the UK.
That's good news, but only if

1) the inter-faith event includes the British Jews - that would satisfy critics like Christopher Hitchens about inclusiveness,

2) the protest against terrorism doesn't become another "we condemn terrorism, but..." event - another occasion to remind the world that Bush is a terrorist too, Palestinians need a state, occupation of Iraq has to end, and we should make poverty history,

3) the efforts don't stop with just the rally.
Shahid Malik, a member of Parliament from Dewsbury, a suburb south of Leeds where one of the suspected bombers lived, told the House of Commons that the disclosure of their identities posed "the most profound challenge yet faced by the British Muslim community."

"This is a defining moment for this country," he added. "Condemnation is not enough, and British Muslims must, and I believe are prepared to, confront the voices of evil head on."
Indeed - a civil war has been going on for quite some time within the world of Islam, between Al Qaeda-style radicals and more moderate elements. For far too long everyone has been kidding themselves that the problem could be minimized by exporting it - the Muslim governments from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan by letting their radicals go off on jihads against Israel and the West; the Muslim communities in the West by letting their radicals go off on jihads throughout the Muslim world, be it Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kashmir or Iraq.

(This has been the thinking behind the now-infamous "covenant of security", under which the radicals would not attack the society where they lived - presumably leaving them free to go and attack somebody else's society.)

Both are now realizing that this strategy is untenable. In the words of Salmah Nematt, "Mistaken are those who deem that there is a delightful terrorism and another condemned one. Terrorism is of a single cult - it will return to consume it own spawns."

In other words, forget all the cliches about the "Afghanistan blowback" (you know, how the CIA supposedly created Al Qaeda by supporting anti-Soviet mudjahedin) – this has been the real deal. Which is why countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan seem to have become a lot more serious about fighting terror on home ground; and which is why, after London, so will have the British Muslim community.

On that point, read Boris Johnson's piece in today's "Daily Telegraph". And Anatole Kaletsy's in "The Times":
Just as conservative America totally isolated the white supremacists and neo-Nazis after the bombings in Oklahoma, the rational Muslim community in Britain must be forced to reject completely the small minority of Wahhabi fanatics who boast that they "love death".


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