Sunday, July 10, 2005

London 6 

Put this one into "poverty as the root cause of terrorism" file:
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.
I can't say I'm surprised, not just specifically because majority of prominent Middle Eastern terrorists, both secular PLO-types and religious Al Qaeda-types, were never theology graduates, but engineers, doctors and allied professionals, but also because the leadership, if not the foot soldiers, of all the major revolutionary, guerilla and terrorist organizations over the past century and a bit has always come from universities and not from among the downtrodden. That's what Lenin had in mind by "the vanguard of the party".

Anyone who has spent any time at university will attest that it's every nation's intellectual elite that is most susceptible to a siren song of some crazy ideology. The privileged intellectuals also think they have to prove to the world that they're not some bookworm sissies and so with gusto embrace violence. Don't take me wrong, youthful violence is a common enough phenomenon that cuts through all the socio-economic lines, but it becomes a major headache when combined with an ideological commitment. It's a difference between a punch-up outside a night club over a girl and planting a bomb to change the world.


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