“We are fortunate that radicalization seems to have less appeal in the U.S. than in other parts of the world,” he said, “but we do not believe that America is immune to homegrown terrorism.”– from this article
This statement, variants of which are made so often with such self-assurance, needs to be examined. We are often told that “Muslims in America are different” or “the situation in America is different from that in Western Europe.” (At least this concedes that there is a “problem” with Muslims in Western Europe.) Why? Oh, because Muslims in America are so very “different” because they are so well-off: so many engineers, so many computer programmers, that sort of thing. In other words, something about the American Dream, defined entirely in terms of economic wellbeing, but having nothing to do with the legal and political institutions of the United States that help to explain not only that economic wellbeing, but all the other things, far more important than mere bank accounts, that make America America.
Implicit in this view — “radicalization has less appeal in America ” — is the by-now thoroughly discredited notion, which keeps coming in by the rhetorical back door, that “poverty” causes what is demurely called “radicalization.” But that is not so. “Mike” Hawash was an Intel engineer, with an American wife, and Little-League playing children, and a salary of $360,000 a year. Yet he was prepared, having rediscovered and deepened his faith in Islam, to go off — after 9/11 — to Afghanistan to kill Americans.
The word “radicalization” does not tell us anything, but attempts rather to hide the truth from us. What is “radicalization”? It is the state in which an individual Muslim, or a group of Muslims, decide to be very good Muslims indeed, and to do all that is demanded of Muslims, including the duty of participating in Jihad to remove all obstacles, everywhere, to the final triumph of Islam. Some Muslims choose not to participate directly. Some choose to avert their minds from that duty, to pretend that it does not exist. Some out of filial piety, and the apparent need to have an “identity,” to continue to call themselves “cultural Muslims,” meaning that they are no longer believers at all, but don’t really want to make that leap into the dangerous unknown — the leap made by Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of others around the world, who out of fear do so not quite so openly and noisily follow them.
But those who are “radicalized” — and these are a great many — have not embraced a doctrine that has nothing to do with Islam, but rather has everything to do with it. The texts they read are the same. But they read the full texts. They know the duty of Muslims. They choose, however, as their instrument of Jihad not only such things as campaigns of Da’wa, and the careful Tu-Quoque-and-Taqiyya efforts designed to prevent Infidels from finding out just a little too much about Islam, mainly by keeping those tiny Infidel minds busy with “the three abrahamic faiths” and “we revere Jesus and Moses” and of course the five canonical prayers, and the giving of zakat — for fellow Muslims — and the observance of Ramadan and the inspirational delights of the hajj, but also violence. And that is what “radicalization” means — not some different, weird, unrelated set of beliefs, but merely the set of beliefs that arise naturally out of, indeed are inculcated by, Islamic texts read and understood as Muslims have read and understood those immutable texts for 1300 — or possibly 1200 — years (for it is unclear when the Qur’anic text was fixed in amber).
But the texts are the same, the same ones read by Muslims in France as in the United States. The same texts as are read by Muslims in Iran, or the Sudan, or Libya, or Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan. The refusal of American authorities, or writers on the subject of Islam in America, to recognize that there is no great difference between the Islam in America and Islam elsewhere, is inexcusable. The only difference that for now inhibits Muslim demands and behavior is the fact that Muslims constitute 1% of the total population, that that population is far less likely, for a number of reasons, to appease or acquiesce as so many in Western Europe have done, and that they cannot act quite as openly, quite as aggressively (though many Muslim groups are doing, in fact, their blatant damnedest) as they do in Western Europe.
“Radicalization” simply means an intensification of Islamic faith, and a willingness to participate oneself directly in Jihad, rather than simply support the effort as part of a community obligation, and finally, the willingness to use violence (“terrorism”) as an instrument of Jihad. And that is all.