How Modernity ‘Radicalizes’ Western Muslims

shariaA new Danish statistical study finds that “Muslims [are] 218 percent more criminal in second generation than first.”  While some of these crimes are clearly related to Islam—such as attacks on Muslim apostates to Christianity—others, such as rampant theft of non-Muslims, would appear banal, until one realizes that even robbery and plunder is justified by Islamic doctrine—as one UK Muslim cleric once clearly said

The interesting question here is why are second generation Muslims, who are presumably more Westernized than their Muslim parents, also more “radical”?  Lest one dismiss this phenomenon as a product of economics or some other “grievance” against European host nations, the fact is, even in America, where Muslims are much better assimilated than in Europe, they too are turning to “radicalism.” 

For example, some time back, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “the threat [of terrorism] has changed … to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens—raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born.”

Around the same time, Sue Myrick, then a member of Congress, wrote a particularly candid letter on “radicalization” to President Obama:

For many years we lulled ourselves with the idea that radicalization was not happening inside the United Sates. We believed American Muslims were immune to radicalization because, unlike the European counterparts, they are socially and economically well-integrated into society. There had been warnings that these assumptions were false but we paid them no mind. Today there is no doubt that radicalization is taking place inside America. The strikingly accelerated rate of American Muslims arrested for involvement in terrorist activities since May 2009 makes this fact self-evident.

Myrick named several American Muslims as examples of those who, while “embodying the American dream, at least socio-economically,” were still “radicalized,” astutely adding, “The truth is that if grievances were the sole cause of terrorism, we would see daily acts by Americans who have lost their jobs and homes in this economic downturn.”

Quite so. Yet, though Myrick’s observations were limited to the domestic scene, they beg the following, more cosmic, question: If American Muslims, who enjoy Western benefits—including democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression—are still being radicalized, why then do we insist that the importation of these same Western benefits to the Muslim world will eliminate its even more indigenous or authentic form of “radicalization”?

After all, the mainstream position evoked by most politicians maintains that all U.S. sacrifices in the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) will pay off once Muslims discover how wonderful Western ways are, and happily slough off their “Islamist” veneer, which, as the theory goes, is a product of—you guessed it—a lack of democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression. 

Yet here are American and European Muslims, immersed in the bounties of the West, and still do they turn to violent jihad. Why think their counterparts, who are born and raised in the Muslim world, where Islam permeates every aspect of life, will respond differently?

In fact, far from eliminating “radicalization,” Western values can actually exacerbate Islamic tendencies—hence why second generation, “Westernized” Muslims are also becoming more “radicalized” than their parents.

Some already known that Western concessions to Islam—in the guise of multiculturalism, “cultural sensitivity,” political correctness, and self-censorship—only bring out the worst of Islam’s “schoolyard bully.” Yet even some of the most prized aspects of Western civilization—personal freedom, rule of law, human dignity—when articulated through an Islamic framework, have the capacity to “radicalize” Muslims.

Consider: the West’s commitment to the law as supreme arbitrator, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to establish and enforce Islamic law, Sharia; the West’s commitment to democracy, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to theocracy, including an anxious impulse to resurrect the caliphate; Western notions of human dignity and pride, when articulated through an Islamic paradigm (which sees only fellow Muslims as equals) induces rage when Muslims—Palestinians, Afghanis, Iraqis, etc.—are seen under Western, infidel dominion; Western notions of autonomy and personal freedom have even helped “Westernize” the notion of jihad into an individual duty, though it has traditionally been held by Sharia as a communal duty.

In short, a set of noble principles articulated through a foreign paradigm can lead to abominations. In this case, the better principles of Western civilization are being devoured, absorbed, and regurgitated into something equally potent, though from the other end of the spectrum.

Put differently, just as a stress on human freedom, human dignity, and universal justice produces good humans, rearticulating these same concepts through an Islamic framework that qualifies them with the word “Muslim”—Muslim freedom, Muslim dignity, and Muslim justice—leads to what is being called “radicalization.” 

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  • Sudipta Barat

    Viruses lay dormant for many years before one fine day, when it is too late, the VIRUSES become VIRULENT and STRIKE, sometimes crippling, sometimes klling the host, same is with these JEHADISTS, they grow silently, multiply and one fine day KILL their host society.

    • Coastliner

      Oh so true – and the deadly virus is multiplying day by day in every western society.

      • BagLady

        It is indeed. We may differ in our diagnosis but agree that the prognosis is extreme xenophobia.

  • Dyer’s Eve

    “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction” – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, philosopher and physicist 1623-1662.

    • BagLady

      Unless they are FBI and do it for their G-d Money.

  • Sekigahara

    The bottom line is, those that follow the cult of Islam have no place in a Western society.

    • BagLady

      and which ‘cult’ do you follow, pray?

  • Mladen_Andrijasevic
    • BagLady

      STOP what? Giving the people of Ukraine the freedom of a vote? Who the heck do you think you are, you Americans? It is not your place to interfere in the inner workings of a foreign country. Take your dirty bombs elsewhere and leave the people to their own devices. The same goes for Europe and its IMF rip-off so-called ‘loans’.

      • kot

        Bombing Chechnya to ruins was an excellent way of showing Russian way of “leaving the people to their own devices”. As for IMF loans I am afraid you have never looked up the definition of “loan” in a vocabulary, my little Russian troll.

        • BagLady

          Go on then financial expert. Repay the ‘loan’ from your Ukrainian profits, if you can.

      • Buck

        As it goes the government before the protest were democratically elected. the US and EUSSR formulated those protests to bring the ukraine into the EU

      • Shel_TR

        @BagLady: I don’t mind your criticism of naivete. But your stridently anti-West POV creates its own weaknesses, since it leads you to positions that are as naive as those you oppose.

        Russia (or more specifically, Putin) is not simply “giving the people of Ukraine the freedom of a vote”. The situation is highly-complex. “…leave the people to their own devices”?? That MAY have worked at one point in time. But when Putin put his tanks and soldiers in to the mix, the issue was already made larger than “the people”.

        If you are going to aggressively criticize naivete, you better expect the same…

    • BagLady

      Putin to Obama: Let’s talk

  • Keith

    And still our glorious leaders and multicultural lefties see Islam as a benign peaceful religion

    • BagLady

      And still your leaders convince you that your ‘homeland security agencies’ are working for peace. You are naive.

  • jtrollla

    What this should tell the reader is that Islam is far more that a religion, but is a civilization which is inherently hostile to Western Civilization, and shares no real provenance with either Judaism or Christianity. Islam, in fact, is doctrinally and ideologically committed to their extermination. Islam and the West are engaged in a kill or be killed contest. No common ground. One will prevail over the other.

    • BagLady

      Would you say that Western Civilization is inherently hostile towards the East and is, in fact, ideologically committed to their extermination?

  • De Doc

    So then the answer to the issue is to stop immigration of Muslims to the West.

    • BagLady

      Reciprocated by stopping immigration East?

      • De Doc

        I’ve no objection to that idea. “The East”, as you incorrectly label it, refers to majority Muslim nations that are taking a turn towards nasty (or already have) to the basic rights of their citizens. Of course these same nations are technologically starved and can’t get enough help from the West in terms of hand-outs and highly trained personnel to direct the complex industries that keep nations afloat today. I think it high time for these regressed countries to stand or fall on their own without taxpayers of the West subsidizing their ignorance and backwardness. I truly feel for the few liberal minded folks in such worlds though, because they are vilified for calling attention to the abuses in their systems and standing for humanitarian values that ruffle the feathers of superstitious, religious bullies. Theocratic states offer no solutions, only problems.

        • BagLady

          The ‘third world’ is shuffling forward like everyone else. Granted, the overt corruption is slowing things down. Your suggestion is that Western Aid is ‘helping’ the people and this is what I would argue with. The people bumble along in a lateral world, far removed from the partnerships that exist between politicians and foreign ‘aid’

        • BagLady

          Don’t pretend to be so naive. These ‘starved nations’ that you speak of are not begging for help, it is being forced on them and has nothing to do with improving the lot of the inhabitants who see nothing of these huge foreign aid ‘packages’ (as I’m sure you’ll agree). However, the ‘East’ is plodding forward and infrastructure is improving slowly.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    A fascinating thesis! It ties into Daniel Pipes’ notion that Islamism is something modern based on Western totalitarian notions. Adapted to Islam, Western notions fortify the worst in that religious ideology. We’ve all seen how “democracy” has brought fundamentalists to power. Mere majority rule is tyranny but this subtly is lost in the leftist academy and thus Muslim swallow the worse theory of “democracy” — i.e. mob rule.

  • Roy_Cam

    Great article. Raymond Ibrahim, your summary is genius.

    If I may contribute to the analysis: The first generation, the parents, are essentially economic refugees, and they come with no plans to abandon their religion. They don’t internalize Western values.

    The second generation is more radical than their parents because the second generation has internalized the values, and, experiencing a huge identity crisis of their parents’ world vs their peer group’s Western orientation, they feel “infected”, as it were.

    This second generation must make a choice that they find difficult to impossible: to drop or radically alter their religious orientation.

    It would be convenient if they became Ahmaddian Muslims, a reform version of Islam persecuted in every Muslim country. The Followers of Ahmad appear to be completely compatible with Western culture and politics. That would give them a way to continue to be Muslims and Westerners.

    They cannot choose either.

    So having made the choice to go AGAINST Western values, they must declare “war-without” as an expression of their own “war-within” against their own internalized Western values.

    And they become Jihadists.

    • BagLady

      Remind me again. What exactly are the Western values you speak of?

      • Roy_Cam

        Aside from our own nihilism, the result of the idealization of mind and its processes, the basic Freedoms of the Constitution.

        • BagLady

          I’m no expert but, correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t the Constitution written by rich white men for rich white men?

          The Bill of Rights and Amendments have gone a long way to redress the balance but, in the past few years, we have seen many of your ‘rights’ eroded by the need to safeguard the people from ‘terrorism. ‘Homeland security’ has been given an huge financial boost and your cops are now tooled to the hilt. Whilst cop killing has reduced to just 33 over the past couple of years, ‘collateral damage’ in the form of innocent lives being lost in police shootings is estimated at 5000 (no official figures are out there). SWAT teams can now batter your door down without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

          Not my idea of a ‘free’ society.

          • Roy_Cam

            Yes. Periodically we have to reassert the Founders’ vision.

            Ms. Bag Lady, without wishing to offend, perhaps you would benefit from a study of the Jungian concept of “animus-possessed”….

  • vladimirval

    The older generation knows that evil begets evil while the young do not have enough experience to judge realistically.

    • rightrightright

      I agree with that. Further, the older generation were few. They kept their heads down and worked for their living. They were even grateful for their new lives within our civilisation.

      The later generation is unlikely to work as the benefits system has expanded sufficiently to provide a workfree life so they have plenty of free hours to spend down the mosque or on the computer, radicalising themselves. There are now millions of Moslems in each Western country, providing solidarity and support. They have better health, courtesy of health care systems and financial hand-outs but there is no gratitude anymore for what the West has provided to them. Choudhury even chortled that the British “job seekers’ allowance” to which these unemployed Moslems are entitled, should more properly be named “Jihad seekers’ allowance”.

      They are able to go on jihad in Syria, say, with the comfortable knowledge that their families are cosily looked after by the welfare state and will not be punished for the crimes of the sons.

      • BagLady

        Choudhury even chortled that the British “job seekers’ allowance” to
        which these unemployed Moslems are entitled, should more properly be
        named “Jihad seekers’ allowance”.

        No matter what they call it, it’s not a living wage and I feel for those hundreds of thousands of young Brits leaving education and facing a barren landscape of shovel ready jobs at minimum wage and nowt more.

  • winstons

    Islam is the religion of tribalism….and is directly opposed to the political values of the Enlightenment.

    • BagLady

      I have a feeling that we were all fairly tribal until the State took over as Mummy. Whilst we would once look to our extended family for community support, we now have government handouts. It is no coincidence that the concept of tribalism and the importance of extended family has disappeared in western cultures that support Social Security. My worry is that as the government pulls the rug from under the feet of the needy, they will be left with a void of care.

  • Nabukuduriuzhur

    Part of it is being given too much and they don’t appreciate it.

    The 1960s radicals had more of everything in a country than any group before or since, from easy jobs to the Rule of Law binding officials, and because they had it so easy, they rebelled, not having any gratitude for what they were given.

    Look at how women’s rights went from making things better for people in general to hurting and killing other people. To get the women’s vote today, you have to be a “bad boy” politician and be for abortion.

    I wrote this for National Wave of Foolishness:

    “Originally, those movements were about the vote. Then women’s rights became equality. Two of the goals then were to get more women into the workplace if they so wanted and to make things better for women as homemakers. The ideas were freedom, self-determination. Nothing wrong with those ideas.

    Then something went wrong. By the 1960s, an ideology had taken over in
    which women’s roles as wives and mothers were denigrated and women
    were encouraged to adopt the worst characteristics of the worst men.
    “Encouraged” is not a strong enough word as it became almost mandatory in many circles. Gone was the idea of equality under what became known as Feminism. (A Feminist is a woman who lives one or more of the Feminist doctrines.) Feminism became selfishness enshrined, with its high priestesses (national leaders), priestesses (state and local leaders), worshippers (the person who seeks to live out Feminist doctrines), hangers-on (politicians who had something to gain from Feminism), enablers (everyone who allowed Feminism to become such a powerful influence, but they did nothing to stop it.)
    and its sacrificial victims (men, children and 50+ million babies in the womb).

    Essentially, Feminism was a yet another redo of the Garden of Eden’s “ye
    shall be as gods” and we humans aren’t exactly godlike, are we? Despite that, it’s been pushed in recent years to be one’s own “goddess,” effectively meaning for a woman to aspire to reach a state of complete selfishness and reprobate mind, where other humans become valueless tools for her to use to achieve her goals and to gratify her lusts.

    By the time I was in high school in the mid 1980s, women who were public figures who chose to raise their kids themselves were unjustly criticized with phrases such as “they were betraying women’s rights,” “they were betraying the women’s movement,” “they were a bad example” and so on. So much for the idea of freedom of choice for women. It was now “you do what WE want”
    or face ridicule and vicious criticism by Feminists.

    It’s an interesting question as to why women in the 1960s rebelled. It appears to come down to four things:

    1. Being given too much and so they didn’t appreciate it, and
    2. Wanting no responsibilities, and

    3. Wanting it all, and
    4. The traditional rivalry between men and women, going back to the Fall
    of Man.

    Women in the 1960s had more of, well, everything, than any group of women
    that has ever existed on the planet. From personal freedoms to a functioning culture to living where they wanted and living how they wanted. As a group, U.S. women had gotten used to working during the Second World War when the nation had called them to work in the factories. They could work or they could marry and raise families as they chose. They got used to calling the shots in their own lives to the point where many could not make the adjustment to living with a man. Then the idea of freedom went much too far: in the 1960s, many women decided they not only wanted to “be free” from what they considered “male domination,” but they wanted to be free of all responsibilities completely, be it legal, moral or otherwise.

    Everyone must have responsibility for their own actions. Feminism sought to change that.

    It should perhaps then be no surprise that the slaughter of children began in earnest in 1973, only a few years after that rebellion by women against personal responsibility began. It’s also no surprise that morals went into the sewer when women rebelled against both God and man— women traditionally have been a civilizing influence in nations and when they chose immorality and godlessness as a group, well, many men eventually followed. So did the culture.”

    • BagLady

      Being given too much and so they didn’t appreciate it, and
      2. Wanting no responsibilities, and…….

      Oh well of course your are right. We silly girls couldn’t possibly cope with being ‘given too much’ by you men. We didn’t appreciate your ‘gift’ and, wanting no responsibilities we……. garbage garbage garbage.

  • BagLady

    I doesn’t really help when you’ve got your ‘homeland security’ drumming up the hate business to put dollars into War Corp Inc. Please don’t accuse me of falling for conspiracy theories. Just give me a transparent court case and name the names.

    I speak of the case of the Boston Bombers: Florida prosecutor’s report whitewashes FBI killing of Ibragim Todashev – World Socialist Web Site

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/24/toda-m24.html

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/05/22/fbi-agent-shoot-and-kills-orlando-man-with-ties-boston-marathon-bombing-suspect-tamerlan-tsarnaev/RsCv0rrcKWPQx5e9KFJEWL/story.html

    Then there is the mysterious case of the two FBI agents falling to their deaths from a helicopter. They are dead and no longer need protection, so why can’t we know it they were the same FBI agents who were present at the shooting of Tsarnaev?

    It all stinks..

  • BagLady

    The interesting question here is why
    are second generation Muslims, who are presumably more Westernized than
    their Muslim parents, also more “radical”?

    You could equally ask this question in the East. Once upon a time, and not too long ago, young Malaysian women would wear a veil as a ‘rite of passage’ before discarding it for being too hot and uncomfortable and donning jeans and t-shirts. Nowadays, more and more young Malaysians are showing their support for Islam by eschewing western clothes. They feel their religion is under attack from the West and rightly so, I should say.

  • popseal

    True Islam is a violent and dangerous superstition. A Muslim easily “abrogates” from the early Mecca teachings to the virulent Medina teachings we’re all so familiar with. The later teachings are more authoritative as they are more murderous.

    • BagLady

      A Muslim easily “abrogates” from the early Mecca teachings to the virulent Medina teachings”

      Is that a fact?

  • BagLady

    The interesting question here is why
    are second generation Muslims, who are presumably more Westernized than
    their Muslim parents, also more “radical”? ”

    Silly question. Why are first generation any immigrants more placid than their children? Because they are new, of course, and still finding their feet. Their kids are born and bred in their adopted country and feel quite free to pursue whichever political avenue they so choose.

    Did first generation Jamaicans arriving in Britain on their $10 tickets bring sacks of marijuana? Did the Triads have a hold on your inner cities?

  • YoshiNakamura

    There is another, probably more important reason for “radicalization” of second generation Moslems. Their secular or semi-secular parents taught them that the Koran is Allah’s literal word, even if they have never read the Koran. So, all young Moslems start out with that fundamental belief, even if they have no idea of what is in the Koran. Then, in their teenage years, they begin searching for their identity like all teenagers do. Part of that search means to delve into the religion that their parents nominally profess. So, what do they do? They actually start reading the Koran! Then, they find out what their god really wants them to do. That is how “radicalization” takes place. That process starts with reading the Koran.

  • Tiberius

    Not to surprised þat many younger western muslims are more likely to be radical since þe West has enough “useful idiots” not only unable to stop þem but actually promoting its growth.