“We weren’t isolated growing up. We were part of the culture,” says Hala Kotb. “Religion was important, but not so much that you’d have to cover your head or if you don’t pray five times a day, that’s it – nothing like that. There were a lot more progressive attitudes.” That is a big contrast to the Islamic enclaves in Europe.
This is a major admission — that more Islam leads to more Islamic violence. And the relatively high levels of assimilation here are indeed encouraging, but “for now” may be the most important words in this report, since assimilation (cf. Maher Hawash) will not ultimately be enough to counteract the effect of the jihadist appeal to the Qur’an and Sunnah when seeking recruits.
“Radical Islam finds US ‘sterile ground’: Home-grown terror cells are largely missing in action, a contrast to Europe’s situation,” by Alexandra Marks in The Christian Science Monitor, with thanks to Mackie:
NEW YORK — The Islamist radicalism that inspired young Muslims to attack their own countries – in London, Madrid, and Bali – has not yielded similar incidents in the United States, at least so far.
“Home-grown” terror cells remain a concern of US law officers, who cite several disrupted plots since 9/11. But the suspects’ unsophisticated planning and tiny numbers have led some security analysts to conclude that America, for all its imperfections, is not fertile ground for producing jihadist terrorists.
To understand why, experts point to people like Omar Jaber, an AmeriCorps volunteer; Tarek Radwan, a human rights advocate; and Hala Kotb, a consultant on Middle East affairs. They are the face of young Muslim-Americans today – educated, motivated, and integrated into society – and their voices help explain how the nation’s history of inclusion has helped to defuse sparks of Islamist extremism.
“American society is more into the whole assimilation aspect of it,” says New York-born Mr. Jaber. “In America, it’s a lot easier to practice our religion without complications.”…
Jaber, the AmeriCorps volunteer, who is studying to become a medical doctor, says he has not experienced anti-Muslim bias. In part, he says, that may be because he doesn’t have an accent or look particularly Middle Eastern – his father is Palestinian and his mother Filipino. But he also credits America’s melting-pot mentality, as does Ms. Kotb, the Middle East consultant.
“We weren’t isolated growing up. We were part of the culture,” says Kotb, who grew up outside Washington in a family that inculcated a success ethic. “Religion was important, but not so much that you’d have to cover your head or if you don’t pray five times a day, that’s it – nothing like that. There were a lot more progressive attitudes” within her local Muslim community.
In mosques in America, it’s fairly common for imams to preach assimilation, says Mr. Zogby. That’s not as true in Europe, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where sermons can be laced with extremism.
“The success of … Saudi-inspired religious zealotry in Europe was in large part because the Saudis put up the money to build mosques and pay for imams,” says Ian Cuthbertson, a counterterrorism expert at the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research. “The American Muslim community was rich enough not to require Saudi money to build its mosques.”
In Europe, it’s estimated that millions of second- and third-generation Muslims have not been well assimilated in their adopted countries, so have little or no fealty to either the European country they live in or the one their parents were born in. “They are much more susceptible to the Internet, returning jihadist fighters, and extremist imams,” says Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “There’s no doubt that Europe has an incubator environment and we have a somewhat sterile environment for radicalism.”…
Identifying and tracking home-grown terrorists is a complicated task – one that risks alienating or even infuriating the general Muslim-American citizenry if tactics are seen as unfair….
US foreign policies “in the long term are going to hurt the US,” says Mr. Radwan, the human rights activist, who works in Washington. “They, along with the crackdown on Muslim-Americans [by law enforcement], feed a feeling of resentment and the perception that the US acts on the basis of a double standard.”
Indeed, America’s Muslim community would wage the war on terror differently. According to the 2004 Zogby survey, three-quarters say the best way is for the US to change its foreign policy in the Middle East by recognizing a Palestinian state and being less supportive of Israel….
Give us what we want peacefully, and we won’t resort to violence. But of course abandoning Israel would do nothing to end the jihad in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Chechnya, Nigeria, etc. More concessions would have to follow, until there would be nothing more to concede.
That experience leads him to suggest another reason the US hasn’t seen European-style homegrown terror cells: the intense scrutiny the FBI has focused on Muslim-Americans. “That is good in the short term, but bad in the long term,” he says. “The Bush administration policies feed resentment that … will stay in the Arab- American psyche for a long time.”
In other words, fighting jihad terrorism just leads to more jihad terrorism — they’re in effect saying, Lie down and die, please, Mr. Bush.