Breaking news: terrorists kill people!
After playing ‘useful idiots’ to Islamist propaganda emanating from Gaza, Western politicians and mainstream ‘journalists’ were suddenly sent into a frenzy by a gruesome video showing yet another jihadist ‘executing’ an American hostage – who happened to be a journalist himself. Leaving aside the ‘execution method’ (which is nothing new either, beheading is being practiced on a large scale by the ‘Western-friendly’ Saudi monarchy), what’s the surprise here? Breaking news, folks: from Munich 1972 to Karachi 2002 to Gaza 2014, that’s what terrorists do: they kidnap and murder people, in order to generate terror. That’s why they’re called terrorists (by persons equipped with moral compass; confused and confusing media outlets such as the BBC call them ‘militants’ – as if they marched in protests and chanted slogans, rather than slaughtering innocent people).
In that particular video, the executioner happened to sport a British accent. Well, surely it should not come as a surprise to anyone (not after 7/7, the murder of Lee Rigby, etc. etc. etc.) that the ranks of the terrorists include Western jihadis. Across Europe, hundreds of young Muslims (born and bred in the democratic West) are joining ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and other terrorist outfits. MI5 thinks they constitute 10% of the foreign ‘fighters’ in Syria and Iraq.
It's not the poverty
But for some ‘journalists’, this does not change the pre-conceived script. Or rather, the script dictated by their own blind and rigid ideological line – so blind and rigid that it looms completely opaque between their cognisance and the reality in front of their very eyes. That ideological line, a nauseating mixture of neo-Marxism and crypto-racism (I call it Marxist racism), asserts that misbehaviour is simply generated by socio-economic factors; and – in the mind of these neo-Marxist-racists – if one is not ‘white British’, one is by definition poor and frustrated.
Take, for instance, a certain Anna Holligan, employed – surprise-surprise! – by good ol’ BBC. Just a few days ago, she wrote about concerns in the Netherlands:
More than 100 Dutch citizens are thought to be fighting for various groups in Syria and Iraq, and hundreds more have been identified as potential jihadists.
These are the facts. But then comes the analysis. The ideology-tainted ‘analysis’:
Many young Muslims are struggling to find work and acceptance in the Netherlands, he tells me. The promise of a glorified existence extolled by radical preachers resonates with the vulnerable and disaffected. While there is little appetite for the bloodthirsty approach espoused by Islamic State militants, the idea of going to defend fellow Muslims appears to be compelling for some young people who lack hope at home but see potential abroad.
Got it?? It’s not their fault, or the fault of radical preachers – it’s because these young Muslims struggle to find work; it’s because they are “vulnerable and disaffected” and “lack hope at home”.
I beg your pardon??? We are talking about people who are born in the Netherlands; who have Dutch as their mother tongue. Netherlands is a liberal democracy, an economically developed country. It boasts one of the best, most generous social solidarity networks in the whole effing world! Unemployment in Netherlands is considerably lower than in Morocco, Turkey or Egypt – the countries most Dutch Muslims originate from; the levels of youth unemployment are among the lowest in Europe. Netherlands is home to Europe’s second highest proportion of Muslim population – the vast majority of whom (even those who were not born in the country and speak Dutch as a foreign language) – are productive citizens. So why exactly are these young men struggling to find work? Why are they “vulnerable”, let alone “disaffected” and hopeless??
Someone should tell Ms. Holligan that obstinate facts refuse to align with her ideological preconception. That the majority of terrorists are neither poor nor vulnerable; that Osama bin Laden was a Saudi-born multi-millionaire; that Mohamed Atta, one of the main ringleaders in the 9/11 attacks, was a scion of a wealthy Egyptian family. The four perpetrators of the London 7/7 attacks were neither particularly poor nor particularly ‘vulnerable’; nor were the 21 men implicated in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
Ms. Holligan could have taken the trouble to at least read a report entitled 'Who are the British jihadists in Syria', published just a few months ago by none other but a BBC colleague, Jenny Cuffe. Speaking to that reporter, a jihadi 'fighter' calling himself Abu Muhadjar says:
I grew up in fairly nice area. I come from a decent family, close-knit family, well educated. Everyone in my family is a university graduate. I'd consider it a middle class family.
In a paper presented to the World Federation of Scientists Permanent Monitoring Panel on Terrorism, Scott Atran (director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Anthropology, and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan) summarised:
Studies by Princeton economist Alan Krueger and others find no correlation between a nation’s per capita income and terrorism [...] study after study demonstrates that suicide terrorists and their supporters are not abjectly poor, illiterate, or socially estranged.
But don’t bother Ms. Holligan with such evidence; she is the kind of ‘journalist’ (all too common in the West these days) for whom pre-conceived opinions count far more than facts.
It's not 'the occupation', either
When it comes to Palestinian terrorism, of course, the same ideological preconception finds an additional twist: not only are the perpetrators poor, they are also rendered ‘hopeless’ by ‘the occupation’. Cherie Blair put it in the starkest – and most blatantly stupid – way:
As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress.
They have no choice, you see! They simply have to blow themselves up. Again, don’t bother the ideologues with the cold logic of facts. Like the fact that many Hamas suicide bombers were not poor at all (nor were they ‘besieged’ in 2001), but came rather from well-to-do Palestinian families; or the fact that, rather than being ‘driven to despair’ by insufferable occupation, some actually arrived from abroad to experience a better life in the West Bank; or the simple fact that other people are ‘occupied’, too – and they don’t blow themselves up in restaurants or on city buses.
It's the education, stupid!
But if terrorism is not an expression of good ol’ Marxist ‘class struggle’, then what is it that drives these people to perpetrate such horrific crimes?
It is tempting to lay the blame on Islam. After all, what all these terrorists have in common is their faith. All 19 September 11 perpetrators were Muslims; so were the 4 London terrorists and the men guilty of the Madrid train bombings. Nearly 200 men and women blew themselves up in order to kill Israelis; but none of them was a Palestinian Christian.
It is tempting to blame Islam for corrupting these people’s souls. But it is also superficial and counter-productive. Because, quite simply, while the terrorists are Muslims, the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Islam is a widespread monotheistic religion, as complex and diverse as Christianity or Judaism; and while some strains of Islamic theology may teach violence, many others do not.
The problem is to be found, of course, in education. The problem is that it’s precisely those extreme strains of Islam that – either insidiously or through overt political and military power – take charge of education. They literally ‘groom’ their adepts, brainwashing them first as small children, then as teenagers and young people.
And that is the problem we are not dealing with. Immersed in a culture of short-termism, neither political leaders nor Western journalists really pay attention to this long-term but critical issue.
Yes, a few ‘home-grown’ terrorists might come back from Iraq and wreck havoc on the streets of London, Paris or Amsterdam; and yes, it may happen tomorrow morning. Yes, Hamas may once again start firing rockets at Israeli cities, while butchering Palestinians who oppose its rule. Yes, ISIS and Al-Qaeda may behead and torture more innocent people. These are all immediate problems.
But the root cause is education. In London, Birmingham, Paris and Amsterdam. But even more in Gaza, the West Bank, Northern Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran – because in those places the Islamists have free reign, because they are actually in charge of 'educating' (read: poisoning) young, innocent minds.
My Western reader: you can choose to do nothing about it; you can pretend that it will all go away, or that it isn’t a problem at all. You can complacently shrug it off and say ‘What do you want me to do?’ But what will you do in a few years’ time, when a new, much larger generation of terrorists spills out of Islamist-run Schools of Terror? What will you answer when your own children ask you: ‘Why did you not do something about it? Why did you let this problem snowball – and bequeathed it to me??’