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Islam, East and West

As sympathy for Islamic extremism wanes in the Middle East, young Muslims in Europe are growing more enamored with radical Islam. Consider this contrast. In today’s New York Times there’s a chart monitoring several areas of progress in Iraq. Under the heading “Sunni Volunteers Working With U.S. and Iraqi Forces (in thousands)” you’ll find an updated figure that’s staggering: 80. That’s a self-organized Muslim army, 80,000-strong, working with American and Iraqi forces toward the common goal of stamping out extremists. (For more on the broader regional significance of this go here and here.)

Now onto the less promising case of Great Britain. England’ Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has unveiled the findings of a new study on Muslim attitudes in London, Birmingham and Oldham. From today’s Telegraph:

The report, which is being distributed among senior officers, Whitehall officials and ministers, finds that:

·Anger and disaffection are “widespread in sections of Muslim youth”.

·There is tacit support for extremist violence within sections of the Muslim community.

·Police need to do more to win the trust of Muslim communities if they are to tackle radicalisation.

·Many Muslims distrust police and are reluctant to inform on extremists, preferring to deal with problems inside their communities.

[...]

It concludes: “Increasing numbers of young Muslim people are becoming sufficiently disaffected with their lives in liberal-democratic-capitalist societies that they might be willing to support violent terrorism to articulate their disillusionment and disengagement.”

In some sense this is an old story. It has always been easier to dream about twisted utopian ideologies in Western liberal societies than to live under their nightmare manifestations in other parts of the world. However, those who wished to preserve Western freedoms half a century ago were not automatically charged with hate crimes. Debate about the actions and legacy of Joe McCarthy is ongoing, but at least one side of that debate has never been silenced with a ridiculous term such as Communistaphobia. While substantial numbers of Muslims in Iraq fight for a decent future, an increasing percentage of their Western co-religionists foster Islamist dreams under the protections of liberal society. It is a strange point in history that finds Muslims in Birmingham and London heading toward the seventh century while the armies of Mesopotamia discover the benefits of moderation.


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