Almost two years ago, I wrote a column which dealt with the spurious notion that young Muslims in the West are not really responsible when they perpetrate terrorist atrocities. They are somehow the victims of unseen manipulators.
Tendentious opinion-molders and cynical agenda-pushers (like Barack Obama) maintain that these manipulators mustn’t be named. Others cautiously call them “radical Islamists.”
But both the Obama cheerleaders and the Obama detractors share the premise that young Muslims might be susceptible to radicalization – note the passive tone.
Something is done to these Muslim youths – they don’t freely choose their direction but are led down the dark garden path by nefarious others. The “devil” makes them do it…
A couple of years ago the notion that Muslims need to be “radicalized” in order to turn to terror became chiefly bon ton in Europe. It was handy to account for then-isolated terrorist outrages in that ultra politically correct continent. Meanwhile, in the ensuing 24 months, terror burgeoned (as some right-wing doom-mongers had the temerity to accurately predict) and the ISIS tentacles crossed the pond to the US and Canada.
But focusing on ISIS is in itself wrongheaded.
The assorted Islamic forces are all outgrowths of the same xenophobic beast regardless of whichever name they parade under – Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, etc. – ad infinitum. Muslim zealots latch on to the noxious flavor of the month, onto whichever grouping garners more glory at a given moment in history. They’ll meander to where the most inflammatory rhetoric is mouthed just then or they’ll hoist a new banner for the faithful to rally round. They seek out the extremists and not vice versa.
Distinctions between the various organizational frameworks are artificial. The synthetic hairsplitting is the specialty of western talking heads who need to show off with seemingly esoteric terminology. The differences they draw are every bit as inane as the jibber-jabber about the passive process of “radicalization.”
This is what I addressed in my column of two years ago where my operative question was whether “Syria radicalized Muslims from Europe or did they head for Syria precisely because they were radical to begin with?”
The same question needs to be repeated now but with America replacing Europe in the above sentence and with ISIS replacing Syria. European liberalism, needless to stress, is the equivalent of Obamaesque Newspeak.
But the essence is identical. Is someone snatching innocent impressionable Muslim souls and turning them into homicidal fanatics? Or was there a fanatic predilection to begin with that propelled these young Muslims to seek out radical Islamic mosques, mentors and websites? Do they follow their preexisting inclinations or are their inclinations malevolently tampered with?
Nothing much has changed since June 2014, except for scope, severity and emphases. The fundamental core is unaltered – radicalization shmedicalization is still a putrid load of…
Please read my column below, be reminded and judge for yourself:
Another Tack: The Chicken or the Egg?