Islamist extremism and public naivety

Young people are made of soft clay. Sometimes we adults forget just how soft. And we don’t take seriously enough the absolute commitment that sometimes characterizes their enthusiasms.

The combination can be highly dangerous when a young person lives in a culture where there are plenty of adult mentors ready to channel this enthusiasm into jihad rather than skateboarding.

Ed HusainThis is the situation today in the ‘Asian’ Muslim community in the UK, as described by former jihadi Ed Husain.

Husain’s book, recently published in the UK and yet to appear in the US, is horrifying precisely because it documents so candidly the smoothness with which Husain was recruited to such misguided ruthlessness. He was gradually drawn into ever more intolerant circles, and became prominent within them – helping to galvanize the process by which the racist, misogynist and thuggish ideology came to dominate various colleges in East London a decade or so ago.

Husain himself was thus instrumental in the trend that saw Islamist separation politics rise and thrive; hatreds inculcated among thousands of recruits against nonbelievers and against Britain; the adoption of Islamic clothing by female students on campuses, open confrontation with utterly overwhelmed and impotent college authorities and, in what was for Husain a climactic, epiphanic incident, a murder just outside the grounds of his own Newham College for which he holds himself partially, indirectly responsible. “It was we who had encouraged Muslim fervor,” he writes, “a sense of separation from others, a belief that Muslims were worthier than other humans.” — David Horovitz [entire article recommended]

Husain confirms what we already know, which is the “staggering naivety on the part of the government, law enforcement and the educational authorities” about the seriousness and dimensions of the problem.

So far we do not have this kind of problem here in the US, because of the nature of the Muslim community here, which is smaller, less concentrated, and better integrated.

However, we have the same kind of naive attitude in some circles, which (for example) view any kind of profiling as tantamount to racism.

So for example, when an Israeli visitor explained El Al’s security procedures (which are entirely based on profiling) to some American friends, they were horrified. But by the simple process of subjecting individuals to greater or lesser scrutiny depending on who they are, El Al — unquestionably the most coveted target for terrorists in all of aviation — has chalked up an impressive safety record.

I’m looking forward to reading Husain’s book, and I would hope that politicians and educators will do so as well.

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